Fellow Story

Harp Falk takes a people-focused approach to protecting the Chesapeake Bay

Baltimore Magazine profiled Hilary Harp Falk as a longtime champion of environmental equity redefining how the Chesapeake Bay Foundation preserves and restores the nation’s largest estuary. The following is excerpted from the full story, available here

Hilary Harp Falk has been immersed in the Chesapeake Bay all of her life. The daughter of famed former Sun photographer Dave Harp, the 44-year-old North Baltimore native spent her formative years exploring the Bay’s waterways, later landing her first job as an intern for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). In January 2022, Falk was hired as the president of CBF and, as a longtime champion of environmental equity, her people-focused leadership is helping to redefine how the organization preserves, protects, and restores the nation’s largest estuary. 

CBF was started in 1967 with the now well-known motto, “Save the Bay.” What does that mean today?

Harp Falk: I stand on the shoulders of some incredible leaders who started the modern Chesapeake Bay movement. But we’re in a different time, with a significant amount of generational change. So much of the Bay movement has been looking back—historical data and so on. But I am really energized by the opportunity to bring people together to re-envision the future of the Bay movement with forward-facing goals—getting clean water closer to people, confronting challenges like the climate crisis.

In the interview, she also answers: 

  • What are some of your formative memories of the Chesapeake Bay?
  • You’ve been a champion of equity in the conservation movement throughout your career, which includes a long tenure at the National Wildlife Federation. How is that informing your leadership at CBF?

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