None of IPC’s work occurs without our dedicated Board of Trustees. None of it. Thank you to all of our board members, and a special welcome to our newest members who are already leading our board in exciting ways!

IPC’s Board serves in much greater capacity than merely meeting the IRS requirements of fiduciary oversight. They provide vision, encourage and affirm the staff’s hard work when the going gets tough, and roll up their sleeves to review our finances and programs. They are genuinely good people who have made a commitment to volunteer their time and skills to help shape IPC so it can change this corner of the world. We truly are a lucky team of people who are working collaboratively to effect change.

We’re excited to introduce 5 new board members who have joined us in 2019. We asked each of them to answer a few questions so you can get to know them. 

If you are driven to lead, have time and expertise to share with IPC, and want to put your fingerprints on this growing organization, consider putting your name in the hat for future consideration as a board member. You can read more about what it means to be a board member and offer up your name for consideration here. Or, email our Jodi, our ED, at [email protected], to inquire further.

We asked our new board members to tell us why they chose to serve on IPC’s board, what they are enjoying most about this experience, and a little bit about their favorite natural place that makes them feel most connected to their spirituality. (You can read more about their professional backgrounds on our Trustees page.

Tonya Nashay Sanders, MA, PhD, AICP – Serves on the Finance Committee

I chose to serve on the IPC board because their mission corresponded with my research interest--faith-based community development. At the time, I was partnering with a church in Baltimore City to help the neighborhood address their trash issue and I had just completed a research project in Philadelphia around how stormwater management practices can lead to beautification, increased housing value (in some cases), cost/benefit analysis, and assessing residents' willingness to pay for these things. The work of IPC as a faith-based environmental groups helping religious institutions become better stewards of the Earth fit into the work that I was doing and my own beliefs on how we all need to better care for this planet. What I like most about serving on the board is knowing that, even in this small way, I am helping to accomplish the mission of a better planet. I serve on the finance committee, which isn't exactly hands-on like the Program Committee, but all parts of the Board work together to support the organization and mission. And I have grown a lot serving on the Finance Committee! While I am stellar at personal finance, non-profit finance is a bit more complicated with many more checks and balances and I have learned the importance of having systems in-place that help monitor our financial stability.  As for when I feel connected to my spirituality in the natural world, in the morning, I love going for a walk or a run (mostly a combination of the two) and have  conversations with my creator about life.

Ray Heil – Chairs our Fundraising Task Force, and serves on the Finance Committee

I chose to become a board member with IPC because I believe that the problem human beings have in living in harmony with the earth is fundamentally a moral and spiritual problem.  I think we can make significant progress in changing attitudes and behavior toward the natural world through working with people who take their spirituality seriously.  After less than a year on the board, my best experience has been meeting and becoming friends with several fellow board members who share my values and a commitment to environmental stewardship.  Although I have traveled widely and seen many awesome natural places, the natural place that has contributed most to my spiritual growth has been my own back yard. Both as a gardener, and sitting on my screened-in porch experiencing my garden in all seasons and at all times of day, it has been spiritually rewarding to watch our population of native plants, insects, and birds grow.



Phillip Chalker – Serves on the Advocacy Committee

Serving on IPC’s board was a no-brainer for me. I have always been interested in environmental matters and in protecting the environment. IPC is a growing and nimble organization and I feel I can use my prior skills to better the environment and help shape this group as it grew.  It's nice to know that as IPC leaves it's mark, a small part of that mark might reflect my contribution. As a board member, I most enjoy this opportunity to volunteer in a field I am passionate about.  I find the work I do for IPC fulfilling. I feel my greatest connection to G-d, while in nature, when camping.  There is nothing like letting the stress melt off while outdoors.  While, my favorite place is in the desert of the American west, locally, you can find me visiting Patapsco Valley State Park, Rockburn County Park, and the Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm Park.

Ayanna Miranda – Serves on the Program Committee and Governance Committee

Serving on the IPC Board is a continuation of my work towards the goal of protecting the environment for the next 7 generations.  Protecting and preserving the earth’s water is critical to the quality of life for all of creation. In the two months that I have served on the IPC board I have really appreciated the discussions with people of different faiths and learning how their beliefs are similar and/or different to my faith. There are two places where I sense a spiritual connection: 1) My garden - Where seeds, only millimeters in size, develop into food - feeding a family for weeks - and flowers pleasing to the eye. The generosity of the Earth allows me to be thankful for my garden and appreciate its produce.  2) The beach – Where the sounds of water relax and calm the mind, the sand rejuvenates the skin, and the sun provides light.  God’s earth provides creation with an abundance of provisions.  However, these places are where my spiritual connection is heightened as the blessings of them allow me to experience beauty and nourishment.

Bill Bierbower – Serves on the Finance Committee and Governance Committee

I learned about IPC by providing pro bono legal support to IPC through the Chesapeake Legal Alliance. Through that pro bono work, I learned of IPC’s unique mission working with faith communities to improve the Chesapeake. I was so impressed with the impact these communities could make that I wanted to help any way I could. I’m still new to the Board, but this opportunity has already provided me a broader perspective the challenges affecting the Bay, and how best to advance IPC’s mission - in addition to the friendship and enjoyment of working with a talented and committed Board and organization. In the Bay area, one of my important spiritual places in nature is Irish Creek, a tributary to the Choptank River on the Eastern Shore, located between St. Michaels and Oxford. It’s a special place – I spent much time there over the years (at my in-laws’ home) appreciating the beauty of the Bay environment.