Nonprofit Spotlight

Nonprofit Spotlight

Southern Maryland Conservation Alliance

Coordinating land conservation and restoration in the Southern Maryland Region


smca_fb.pngThe Southern Maryland Conservation Alliance (SMCA) formed in 2021 to coordinate land conservation and restoration efforts within the greater Southern Maryland region. The region stretches from the Chesapeake Bay in the east to the Potomac River in the west, encompassing Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s Counties.


The SMCA is comprised of nonprofit land trusts, non-governmental conservation groups, and environmental organizations. The Alliance also partners with affiliate members, including historical societies, and federal, state, and local governmental agencies.

A spokesperson for the Mattawoman Watershed Society, an environmental group based in Charles County, spoke with high regard for the power of collaboration by stating "(we are) pleased to be an affiliate member of the Southern Maryland Conservation Alliance. Strategizing on conservation issues for the five county area will be productive for us, the groups, and for the region."

The SMCA promotes a deep appreciation for the region’s cultural and environmental resources, envisioning Southern Maryland as a place where native fish, wildlife, and plants thrive. The Alliance considers the region to be an ecologically valuable and resilient landscape where healthy lands and waters help enrich the communities of those who live, work, and play within its expansive borders. The Alliance aims to preserve the region’s working farms, rich forest lands, rivers and streams, and significant historical, natural, scenic, and recreational resources. The SMCA hopes to preserve ecosystems and livelihoods through collaborative initiatives with its many partners to share resources, build strategy, and plan future conservation efforts.

Greg Bowen is the executive director of the American Chestnut Land Trust, a Calvert County-based environmental nonprofit and one of the SMCA’s core members. Bowen notes the impressive growth of the new Alliance. “The SMCA, although a nascent coalition, has quickly become a powerhouse of large-scale landscape conservation in Southern Maryland. Since our launch, the alliance has built new partnerships with 14 organizations, bringing the total membership to an impressive 37 affiliate and core groups,” he said.

During SMCA’s most recent affiliate meeting, members outlined their goals for the coming year. They discussed how their affiliates, core members, and coordinating team could pool resources to advance the nonprofit’s mission. Bowen mentions that “SMCA has identified and mapped priority preservation areas throughout the region, similarly working with property owners to discuss options for land preservation. With the foundations of a strong alliance in place, SMCA works towards the big-picture goal of preserving 30% of Southern Maryland’s natural lands by 2030, in accordance with President Biden’s ambitious climate change agenda. Additionally, SMCA has the tools to expand knowledge sharing among partner members and facilitate the creation of more citizen advocacy groups to participate in watershed health assessments, such as water quality monitoring."

Joel Dunn, president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy, advocates for public and private partnerships, and endorses the efforts of the Alliance. He speaks to the robust activity within the Alliance remarking that there is much urgency in the local efforts to protect Southern Maryland. "This Alliance is so important, and so needed, because nothing happens in conservation without partnerships,” Dunn said.

For more information about the Southern Maryland Conservation Alliance and its many partners, please visit its webpage and follow SMCA on Facebook.


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Nonprofit Institute
College of Southern Maryland
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La Plata, MD 20646-0910

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