NNWB Board of Directors 2018

Laura Turbe, President

Head shot, Laura Turbe

 Laura is very fortunate to have the Middle Section of the Northwest Branch as her backyard since 2003. As a trail runner and hiker, she has a vested interest in maintaining the upkeep and beauty of the NW Branch. She leads cleanups and is replacing fallen trees in her yard to create a “backyard buffer” of native trees and shrubs. She is excited to be leading NNWB and to work with the Outreach Chair to engage and encourage others to participate in activities benefiting the NW Branch.  

Vice President


Currently vacant, but hopefully will soon be filled! Laura should have a back-up.

Maurie Kathan, Secretary


Maurie lives in Hyattsville and is an active hiker and paddler. She hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 2009. She was in the first class of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, where she served as the Maryland Green School Organizer for the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. She grew up in the Little Falls Watershed and sat on the board of the Little Falls Watershed Alliance for 7 years. She moved to the Northwest Branch watershed in 2013 and is excited to be part of protecting her local watershed. She graduated from Grinnell College in 2008 with a degree in Chemistry and Environmental Studies. 

Larry Hush, Treasurer


Larry has lived in the Middle Section of the Northwest Branch watershed since 1984. A retired economist, he has been NNWB Treasurer since 2009. Since April 2009 his volunteer work and hobby have been as a county Weed Warrior cutting nonnative invasive vines mostly along the NWB between Randolph Road and New Hampshire Avenue. Qualified as a supervisor, he occasionally leads volunteer groups in cutting invasives in the watershed.  Larry is retired from the board, but still treasurer.

Kristin Backert


Kristin lives along the section of the Northwest Branch just south of the Beltway; she is relatively new to the area, having moved there from New York in 2014. In 2017, she joined the Neighbors of the Northwest Branch to help promote the everyday actions citizens can take to preserve the watershed, such as cleaning up portions of the river and cataloging the wildlife they encounter.   

Laura Barnitz


Laura is a resident of the Northwest Branch watershed in the Colesville area and enjoys regularly walking both that trail and the Rachel Carson Greenway. As Operations Manager of One Montgomery Green, Laura is committed to keeping our green spaces healthy and finding ways to help the residents and businesses of Montgomery County move to a sustainable, green economy and maintain a good quality of life in this area. In her spare time, Laura writes fiction, and she's a beekeeper.  

Michael Evans


Michael is a relatively new inhabitant of the Northwest Branch watershed, having moved to the area from Missouri a few years ago. He is a graduate student working on his Ph.D. in nineteenth-century American literature. His particular focus is on the way American literature of that time portrayed the natural world, including how it grappled with growing ecological awareness and what that awareness meant for humankind’s understanding of its own place in the world. He hopes to help the Neighbors of the Northwest Branch expand its clean-up efforts and increase its educational outreach to those living in the watershed. 

Retired from the board, but will working: Glenn Welch, Stream Monitor

head shot, Glenn Welch

Glenn moved into the Northwest Branch watershed, Upper Section, in 2000 and has been an NNWB member since 2005. He served on the NNWB Board for about 10 years. In 2010, he initiated a water quality monitoring team that samples water in the NW Branch quarterly near the trail crossing at Kemp Mill Rd. using the Audubon Naturalist Society’s invertebrate monitoring program criteria.  Last year he worked on getting our new website up and running.

Retired from the board, new Outreach Chair: James Graham


James lives in the Middle Section of the Northwest Branch watershed. He has led cleanups on the Northwest Branch since 2007, at both Burnt Mills and in W. Hyattsville, bringing the power of Boy Scouts to bear on the problem of trash and introducing them to the importance of keeping our waterways clean. He was elected to the NNWB Board in 2009 and has served several years as president. James brings experience and outreach ideas from his work at Amnesty International and would like to see NNWB greatly expand its outreach efforts.

Retired from the board, new Advocacy Chair: Anne Ambler


Anne has lived in the Middle Section of the Northwest Branch watershed since 1970. Retired from the Federal Government in 2001, she first served several years on the Executive Committee of the Montgomery County Group of the Sierra Club before devoting her energies to the Northwest Branch. She served as President of NNWB in 2008-10 and again in 2012-2013. She enjoys hiking and advocating for clean water and clean energy. She looks forward to a new wave of residents interested in stewardship of this precious stream valley.   Anne currently maintains the website and database.

Retired from the board, now board advisor: Suzanne Donohue


Suzanne has lived near the Northwest Branch for 25 years.  She is very happy to have raised her children near this beautiful natural setting.  Suzanne was elected to the board in December 2010 and reached out to her neighborhood to draw them into helping to preserve the beauty of the stream valley and improve its health. When she is not stuck behind a computer working in the IT field, you may find her hiking along the trail with her faithful Chocolate Lab.

Liaison with Friends of Sligo Creek: Ed Murtagh

Ed Murtagh head shot

Ed is  a Professional Engineer. After 34 years of federal service, Ed  retired from USDA where he had significantly reduced  environmental impacts and operations and maintenance costs by implementing sustainable practices at the USDA Headquarters Complex. He has extensive experience  in sustainable construction and Operations and Maintenance building practices, including energy management, indoor air quality, biobased  products, environmentally beneficial landscaping, and waste minimization & recycling.  Ed is a member of Friends of Sligo Creek and a  founding member of Neighbors of the Northwest Branch through which he  encourages homeowners to manage their onsite stormwater.