Assateague Coastal Trust
ACT To Protect Our Coastal Bays
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Meet Our Staff



  • Kathy Phillips
  • Steve Farr
  • Matt Heim
  • Verena Chase

Kathy Phillips, Executive Director

Kathy Phillips Kathy Phillips is Assateague Coastal Trust's Executive Director and the Assateague Coastkeeper.

Kathy Phillips has lived in Worcester County since 1971. She has represented Worcester County District 3 and served as Chair on the Democratic Central Committee of Worcester County. She has also served as a board member of the Eastern Surfing Association, the United States Surfing Federation, and Surfing America. She is a 2003 inductee to the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame for her advocacy work on behalf of the sport of surfing. Kathy brought the issue of land and water conservation in the coastal bays watershed to the forefront of the 2006 Worcester County election during her campaign for District 3 County Commissioner.

As the Assateague COASTKEEPER, she is a member of WATERKEEPERS CHESAPEAKE, a group of 17 Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bays Riverkeeper programs licensed by the WATERKEEPER ALLIANCE and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Waterkeepers Chesapeake. She represents the Waterkeeper Alliance Chesapeake & Coastal Bays Region Waterkeeper programs on the Waterkeeper Council.

She served on the Maryland Stormwater Consortium, a coalition of 40 organizations working together for stronger stormwater regulations and implementation of the 2007 Maryland Stormwater Management Act and is certified by Maryland Department of Environment in water testing and erosion/sediment control. She is currently a member of the Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition working to improve state policies and regulations related to agricultural pollution of our waterways.

She was appointed in 2008 by DNR Secretary John Griffin to the Maryland Aquaculture Development Workgroup, and also sat on the 2008 Maryland Critical Areas Coalition, working with Critical Areas Commission Chair Margaret McHale to strengthen the Maryland Critical Area Law. She has provided comment and guidance to the Accomack County Planning Commission on the matters of critical area buffers and stormwater control.

She is dedicated to building stronger working relationships with all stakeholders in the coastal watershed. "Through better public education and a strong commitment among all those who live and work along our coastal bays, " Phillips says, "we can protect our waterways and the environment upon which all living beings depend.”

Contact Kathy by e-mail or phone at the ACT offices.



Steve Farr, Development Director

Steve Farr Steve Farr is a newcomer to the Delmarva Peninsula and joined ACT in October 2007. He manages ACT's development program, including foundation grants, membership giving and major gifts. Steve also manages the Grow Berlin Green project, a partnership with Lower Shore Land Trust and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program focused on citizen-driven sustainability activities in our home community.

Steve came to ACT after spending more than 20 years in the strategic philanthropy practice of a Washington, D.C. based global public affairs agency where he managed the design, development and implementation of charitable giving initiatives for corporate and private foundation clients.

Steve graduated from Yale University with a BA in American Studies.

Contact Steve by e-mail or phone at the ACT offices.




Matt Heim, Outreach & Communications Coordinator

Matt Heim

Matt Heim grew up on the Lower Shore and felt a strong connection to both the natural landscape and its rich history from a very young age. His desire to better understand the place he grew up led him to Salisbury University where he earned a Master’s Degree in 2008 studying the Environmental History of the Delmarva Peninsula. His thesis research focused on Chincoteague Bay’s oyster industry and the 19th and early 20th century maritime communities on Assateague Island. He also spent considerable time studying both Native American and agricultural history of the Lower Eastern Shore with an emphasis on understanding how both played a role in shaping the natural landscape.

After spending two summer seasons as an interpreter for Assateague Island National Seashore, Matt went on to pursue a career in the environmental non-profit field. He has diverse experience developing and managing environmental education, water monitoring, and alternative agriculture projects.

Matt joined ACT in 2013 and quickly became an integral part of our team. In addition to managing ACT’s administrative activities, Matt spearheads our Offshore Drilling Campaign and service-learning partnership with Stephen Decatur Middle School.

Contact Matt by e-mail or phone at 410-629-1538.




Verena Chase, Coast Kids Director

Verena Chase Verena Chase is our Coast Kids Program Director and has worked for ACT since 2004. She coordinates monthly events, creates publications which feature local fauna, flora, and geography for children, and manages the Coast Kids membership. Verena holds an MS in Environmental Protection from FH Bingen, Germany.

Contact Verena by e-mail or phone at the ACT offices.







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