Home / Blogs / Celebrating the Career of a Chesapeake Conservation Pioneer
November 28, 2022
On November 21st, Ann Swanson, long-time Chair of the tri-state Chesapeake Bay Commission, retired from her position. She has made a massive impact on the Chesapeake Bay during her career, working closely with the Alliance as we became the leading convener of voices throughout the watershed. Ann’s guidance has helped the Commission guide state legislation in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to restore the Chesapeake watershed.
Ann Swanson at Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s 2016 Taste of the Chesapeake event.
Ann moved to the Bay region just months before the first Bay Agreement was signed in 1983. She quickly met Fran Flannigan, the founding Director of the Alliance, Judy Johnson, Ilya Farah, and Ajax Eastman, cofounder of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, who taught Ann how important it was to engage citizens in the work being done in the Bay. Ann remembers, “They were kind, they were pure, and they could spit bullets.”
A globally respected leader, Ann shaped policies, laws, and implementation strategies that drove the extensive restoration the Bay needs, and shared her knowledge with other corners of the world. Her accolades include being named an Admiral of the Chesapeake by former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chesapeake Conservancy, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from her alma mater, the University of Vermont.
“When I think of Ann Swanson, I think of tenacity, grit, and a force for the betterment of the Chesapeake Bay. Ann’s distinguished career has benefitted the Chesapeake in so many ways, and her leadership and vision will be missed. She leaves an incredible legacy of forward advancement for cleaner water which we can all continue to build from. Congrats, Ann, and thank you!” -Kate Fritz, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Kate Fritz (left), Alliance CEO, and Ann Swanson (right) at Ann’s retirement party.
To close out Ann’s inspirational career, legislation in Pennsylvania was recently passed to better regulate fertilizer application on turf, and increase funding from the Clean Streams Fund for agricultural best management practices. The Commission and all of us at the Alliance say goodbye and thank you to Ann for all the wonderful work she did, and the incredible impact she had on the Chesapeake Bay.
Communications and Social Media Coordinator