About Us

Who we are

Mission Statement & Goals

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Otter Point Creek Alliance is a nonprofit organization, created in 1996, dedicated to the support of the research, education and conservation goals of the Otter Point Creek Component of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland.

Otter Point Creek Alliance promotes environmental education of school students and the general public, offers volunteer opportunities, supports research, sponsors college internships, and promotes stewardship and conservation in the Reserve and surrounding area.

Otter Point Creek Alliance endeavors to utilize its resources to promote environmental awareness, sustainability, and greater understanding and appreciation of the local estuary environment at Otter Point Creek. 

Our Priority Issues

The priority issues of OPCA reflect the priorities of CBNERR-MD. 

As a “Friends-of” group to the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-Maryland and in support of Anita C. Leight Estuary Center (Harford County Parks and Recreation), Otter Point Creek Alliance accomplishes its work through volunteerism, community outreach, school and public programming, research and monitoring, stewardship, and training.

Environmental Scholarships

The Otter Point Creek Alliance is offering one $500 scholarship for students in environmental sciences/education. Pick up an application in the guidance office of your school or download an application here. Deadline: May 1

The Legacy of the Leight Family

In the late 1800s James Buchanan Leight, along with his wife and family moved to this area. In a small house on the shore of Otter Point Creek the Leights raised their four children. 

J.B. Leight prospered as a blacksmith, carpenter, waterman, hunter, trapper, farmer, wheelwright, and boat builder. J.B. and his sons fished and hunted the marshes and waters of Otter Point Creek to put food on the table and to sell to others. Life depended on the changing seasons  – ducks in Fall, muskrats in Winter, shad in Spring, and crabs in Summer. There were year-round opportunities for the Leight family to sustain themselves. They contributed positively to the land while also financially benefiting from the natural wealth. 

J.B.’s youngest son, Ashton Leight, inherited the land, and in time passed it to his son, Clifton Leight. 

Coming from their homes in Baltimore, Clifton, his wife Anita C. Leight, her brother Arnold Rosenberger, and his wife Esther, all visited Otter Point Creek to enjoy the beautiful green space which had such an impact on their family’s heritage. They spent many memorable days hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, and even ice-skating! 

With this great respect and love for the land, the Leight family was determined to save the property from development by donating it to Harford County for a park. Their legacy truly lives on through the Estuary Center and surrounding land and waters that continues to offer so much to the general public. 

“A healthy, productive, resilient Otter Point Creek Estuary that is valued and enjoyed by all.”

The Otter Point Creek Alliance Vision

Our Partners

Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System in Maryland

Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve empowers and inspires stewards of Maryland’s natural places by studying, teaching, and connecting people to estuaries.

Izaak Walton League of America – Harford County Chapter

The League takes a common-sense approach toward protecting our country's natural heritage and improving outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.

Harford County

Harford County Government has a primary mission to serve the needs and protect the interests of its residents.

National Estuarine Reserve & Research Association

NERR and their friends groups rely on NERRA to strengthen the network and help Reserves address the challenges facing estuaries and their communities.

Environmental Protection Agency

Chesapeake Bay Trust

Our Funding Partners

National Fish & Wildlife Foundation

Chesapeake Bay Program

Chesapeake Bay Funders Network

OPCA Board Members

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Kathy Baker-Brosh

As President of the Board, Kathy is delighted to be working with OPCA on Chesapeake Bay topics like habitat preservation and water quality. A strong proponent of Community Science and former Research Naturalist at the Center, she enjoys Zooplankton Monitoring, kayaking, traveling, and hiking.

Michele Dobson

A member since 2008, Michele brings to the Board over 30 years of professional experience in watershed management, restoration, water quality monitoring, and stream ecology. She enjoys time with her family and dogs boating and fishing on the Bay and exploring the many trails along its tributaries.

Art Hannon

Art has over ten years’ experience in the marine conservation and water management fields, bringing his expertise to the Board as the Science Committee Chair. He was part of a team to open the first aquarium in Toronto, Ontario, and serves as the Board of Directors’ Vice President.

Sharyn Spray

A volunteer since 2002, Sharyn is active with research and monitoring, canoe and kayak programs, as a front desk aide, and organizing special events. She was president of the OPCA Board of Directors for over 11 years. She is a longtime resident of Harford County and a lifelong nature lover.

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Annette Rolfes

A kayaker, gardener, and birder, Annette has volunteered as a front desk aide for more than 10 years. She serves as Board Secretary and enjoys “being surrounded by like-minded, environmentally conscious, caring people.  The Otter Point Creek Alliance has become like family to me.” 

Melissa Caudill

Mel is a Maryland Master Naturalist of the Coastal Plains with an avid interest in birds and herpetology. She lends her technical skills to OPCA on the Website Committee and volunteers at Outreach events and projects. “I’m excited to continue contributing as much as I can to the goals of OPCA.” 

Danny Bennett

Serving over 7 years as an OPCA volunteer, Danny enjoys working on a variety of projects including building and maintaining education exhibits, canoe and kayak maintenance, and outreach events like the Halloween Hike. He uses his extensive experience in financial management as the Board’s treasurer.

Breonna Martin

Bre is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Harford Community College, a native of Harford County, and a graduate of the University of Delaware. She spends her free time traveling, exploring nature, and gardening. If you ever run into her on a hiking trail, she will likely be accompanied by her dog, Asher.

Shawn Slater

As the artist behind the Estuary Center’s Facebook album “Through Shawn’s Scope”, Shawn shares his outstanding nature photography. He is the student member of the Board of Directors. He loves the Estuary Center and loves contributing his ideas.

 

John Hobner

A retired natural resources biologist and environmental health specialist, John lends his expertise to OPCA on land preservation, outdoor projects, safety issues, and knowledge about nature.  He enjoys kayaking, canoeing, nature photography, scuba diving, woodworking, and backpacking. 

Bette Hobner

With over 45 years’ experience as a certified teacher and Reading Specialist at public schools and university, Bette serves as the Education Liaison for the OPCA Board. She enjoys teaching, traveling, hiking, kayaking, gardening, cooking, reading, and spending time with husband John, also on the OPCA Board. 

Katie Benson

Katie is a wetland-enthusiast and Assistant Bio Prof at Harford Community College. She is a conservation biologist with degrees in environmental sci, policy, and engineering, biology, and biotechnology. Her research interests include wetland restoration, wildlife management, and conservation genetics. 

Colby Warner

Colby has been an environmental educator for over 6 years between the National Aquarium and Irvine Nature Center, working with all ages, toddler to adults, to inspire a better understanding and appreciation for the natural world around us.  He currently volunteers with research and outreach events for OPCA. 

Leigh Maddox

Ms. Maddox, a career law enforcement official with the Maryland State Police, retired at the rank of Captain in 2007. Since then she has continued in law as a legal educator, founded and launched the JustAdvice Program, and bridged relationships between the police and community. Ms. Maddox is a long time resident of Perryman with a strong affinity for the Chesapeake Bay and the larger watershed. 

Interested in becoming involved?

Do you have some time to help Harford County's natural resources?

We support the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, one of Harford County’s leading natural research and education facilities. As you may know, the Estuary Center and surrounding Leight Park are open to the public and offer many opportunities to explore and learn about the Chesapeake Bay, with very affordable, family friendly fun and educational events all year long.

The OPCA Board is looking for a few good members. Would you have just a bit of time to help one of the County’s best natural resources? Or can you recommend someone who may be interested?

The board of OPCA exists to connect aspirations to actions. Board members meet bimonthly at the Estuary Center for two hours on the evening of the third Wednesday of the month. Board members may organize, staff, and sponsor public events like the Halloween Hike, raise and manage funds in many categories to support the Center programs such as the summer research internships, and serve as advocates for our mission in critical ways.

OPCA, as a non-profit organization, can also act like a fairy godmother for the Center, supplementing county resources for programs and needs, and doing so independently and expediently, and the board makes that happen.

Apply for a OPCA Board Position