Directors

MAGIC Alliance is a non-profit Maryland-based conservation organization. Since we were founded in 1998 we have focused on:

  • Promoting the development of a system of interconnected parks and other protected conservation land – as habitat for wildlife and plants.
  • Providing wide wildlife corridors between fragmented tracts of protected land – to encourage propagation of wildlife and plants.
  • Protecting watersheds from erosion and pollutants – to insure clean water is available for animal and human consumption.
  • Providing wildlife passages under or over roads where they cross wildlife corridors – to enable animals or trail users to cross roads safely.
  • Serving as a clearinghouse and coordinating office on conservation policy matters, on scientific and technical data relating to conservation, and on meetings and actions concerned with conservation and protection of all species.
  • Working with our members and like-minded government and private agencies – to further our defined goals.

Reconnecting and re-wilding of Maryland will take many years of effort and enormous sums of money. Much of the land is divided into thousands of small, private holdings which must be acquired, as available, and connected into large bio-preserves. This is the only way to insure plants and animals will have sufficient habitat to disperse their genes and continue as viable species. Biological "hot spots" exist around streams and wetlands. It is extremely important to preserve riparian forests and wetlands which serve as eco-ducts to upland forests. Preserving riparian forests also insures that streams will continue to flow and water, which is so important to all species, will remain pure.


  • Frank lipson

    President
    Frank Lipson serves as MAGIC's Legal Advisor and President. He retired from the Federal government in October 2007 after serving as a staff attorney with the Federal Trade Commission for 36 years. He has been on the MAGIC board since 2000. He has represented MAGIC at DNR briefings on annual forest plans, lobbied members of the State legislature regarding forest legislation, and testified before the Maryland State House and Senate committees on proposed legislation. Every chance he gets, Frank takes his family to the public lands in Western Maryland to enjoy their natural beauty and he wants to ensure that his grandchildren are able to do the same.

  • Cheryl kassed

    Vice President, Treasurer
    MAGIC's Vice President and Treasurer, Dr. Cheryl Kassed, has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2004, when she met MAGIC's founder Bob DeGroot at a Sierra Club meeting. Her deep commitment to the earth and love of the natural world began in childhood as she experienced the wonders of various ecosystems with her outdoorsman grandfather. Dr. Kassed taught earth and environmental science to middle school students in Florida for many years, and she clearly remembers discussing the impending problems of global warming and climate change with her students in the 1980s. After returning to graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in neuropharmacology, Dr. Kassed began her second career as a biomedical scientist, studying the molecular basis of mental health disorders. When she is not involved in nature study, environmental activism, hiking, or other outdoor sports, Dr. Kassed works as a health services researcher and science writer for the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

  • Jane osburn

    Secretary, Director of Habitat Studies
    Dr. Jane Osburn is MAGIC's Secretary and Director of Habitat Studies. When she moved to MD in 2000, a woman from the local garden club took her on a walk through Northwest Branch forest and pointed out the native plants, sparking her interest in Maryland's native plants. She has long been interested in environmental preservation and became the Recording Secretary for the Maryland Native Plant Society. During that same period, she held monthly invasive weed pulling events, removing a variety of invasive plants from the forested areas near her home. She met Bob DeGroot, MAGIC's dedicated founder and deceased President, when an activist from a local watershed group asked her to provide venue for him to make a presentation on Maryland's forest issues. Jane holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and works at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in program development research.

  • Stan hopkins

    Director of Forest Conservation
    Stan Hopkins has been a MAGIC Board member for several years and serves as the organization's GIS specialist. Stan has surveyed the logging roads of Maryland's Green Ridge State Forest and prepared maps showing their adverse impact on wildlife habitat. He has made presentations in support of old-growth forests to the Maryland Legislature. Stan has just begun a multi-year effort to identify and preserve wildlife areas and corridors to connect them. Stan also has prepared databases, maps, and statistical studies for The Nature Conservancy and the Landscape Ecology department of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. He is a graduate of the USDA Grad school certificate program in Natural History Field Studies and has a M.S. in Computer Management from the U of MD. He retired in 2004 from a forty-year career as data analyst, database administrator and information systems manager.

  • Erik mcwilliams

    Director of Economic Analysis
    Although Dr. McWilliams only joined the MAGIC board recently, he has been concerned about climate change and other stresses to the earth’s carrying capacity for decades. He is therefore “putting his shoulder to the wheel” to help to address these problems through participation with MAGIC. Unlike most other MAGIC board members, he does not have any background in the biological sciences, having worked as an applied mathematician for most of his professional life. He holds a BA degree from the University of Iowa, an MS degree from the University of Chicago, and a PhD from the University of Maryland. He directed computation center at the University of Chicago and Cornell, and research and development programs at the National Science Foundation before starting his own small company to develop PC-based flight simulators for research and training.

  • Perrie lee prouty

    Director of Colleague Liaison
    A MAGIC Board member for several years, Perrie 'Lee Prouty serves as our advisor on Maryland wildlife biology and rehabilitation. After attending the University of Vermont, Lee came to the Washington, D.C. area where she spent 28 years on Capitol Hill as a Staff Assistant to three Members of Congress. Environmental issues have always been a passion of hers, and in addition to her current work in waterfowl rescue and wildlife transport, she is a member of a Delaware team of wildlife oil spill responders. Lee serves on the Animal Services Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and is environmental liaison Board member of her Civic Association. Lee's involvement in whitewater slalom racing gave her an opportunity to observe human-caused damage to our region's watersheds. She was outraged to observe sloppy mining practices, unbridled development, pollution and trash in rivers and creeks. Lee was drawn to MAGIC after reading several of Bob DeGroot’s articles in various newspapers and local environmental publications. As a Maryland licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Lee has had a firsthand view of habitat loss and its effects on wildlife, steeling her commitment to developing and protecting wildlife corridors to preserve plant and animal diversity.

  • Elise jaffe

    Director of Communications
    Elise Jaffe has been involved with MAGIC since 2008 as a grant writer. Elise has over 25 years of experience as a writer and editor, writing software documentation, training guides, proposals, and brochures for a variety of Washington, DC area government contractors and computer equipment vendors. For the last few years, Elise has done freelance writing, teleconference transcribing, and web development for clients such as AARP, the Department of Health and Human Services, and a homeschooling website.

  • Geoff patton

    Immediate Past President
    Dr. Geoff Patton is the most recent past President of MAGIC and had been a Board member for over three years. Geoff has deep environmental credentials. After earning a Bachelor's degree in marine biology during the height of the environmental movement of the mid-1970's, he taught one of the first high school ecology courses in Florida. After 3 years and yearning to pursue his interest in marine biology, he ran a fishing pier for a year before joining the non-profit Mote Marine Laboratory. Geoff worked on many studies of the Florida coastal environment over a period of 7 years; he then chose to develop a marine mammal research program after helping a co-worker start a sea turtle program. Geoff ran the marine mammal program for another 7 years, performing aerial surveys for manatees, dolphins and sea turtles, rescuing and studying stranded dolphins, whales, and manatees, and advancing technology to apply toward the study of these animals. He returned to college to pursue a graduate degree in Medical Sciences, earning a Master's degree, and then his doctorate from the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. While employed in a range of subsequent science jobs, he has stayed active in several professional and activist organizations working to protect natural resources.

  • Bob degroot

    Founder and Past President (1940-2007)
    Bob grew up in Idaho, then attended the US Naval Academy. He graduated with an Engineering degree in 1963. He spent the next five years as a Marine officer, followed by over 20 years working for IBM in Gaithersburg MD. Upon early retirement, Bob's interest in the environment led him to organize the organization- Maryland Alliance for Greenway Improvement and Conservation (MAGIC) in 1998. He recruited over 30 alliance organizations who believed in MAGIC's goals. Bob was totally committed to saving the Maryland forests and protecting wildlife and its habitats. He worked tirelessly for 9 years giving presentations, attending meetings, writing letters and editing proposals for grants. He spent much of his time attending local and Maryland state government gatherings giving his ideas to legislators. Bob recruited over 2000 recipients to the E-mail MAGIC mailing list, advising of environmental news. He was an inspiration to all of us who knew him and is sorely missed.