Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary OUR PEOPLE


Patricia Delgado, Superintendent & Wetland Ecologist




Academic and Professional Credentials

BS Marine Biology, M.S. and Ph.D. Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Belief Statement

The power of developing a connection with nature to become forever a steward for the environment.

Personal Interests/Anecdotes

Patricia enjoys hiking, biking, reading a good book, and traveling to discover new places.


Patricia has conducted wetland research for over 25 years and has never tired of learning about these magnificent places. As a scientist, she believes in the important role of science in supporting education, resource conservation and management. At the Sanctuary, she is eager to promote environmental education, stewardship, research, citizen science, and science communication to our visitors, while also providing a protected environment for public enjoyment. Patricia received a B.S. in Marine Biology from Universidad Nacional de Heredia (Costa Rica) and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University. 


Allison Burnett, Office Manager & Naturalist




Academic and Professional Credentials

BA Environmental Studies, AA Spanish Language & Culture

Belief Statement

Everything is connected. We are a part of nature. When we disregard the needs of humans in an environment, we are not really caring for nature, we are dishonoring the interconnection of all things. Nature is for everyone. It is where we find our questions and answers. As Einstein said “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”.

Personal Interests/Anecdotes

Allison is an Ohio native, an Army veteran, and mother of three sons. She especially loves to explore nature with her children. While other teenagers were driving and dating, she was keeping bird journals and exploring the neighborhood woods.


Allison didn’t think about her passion for nature becoming a profession until late in life. She went back to college in her 30’s and studied Biology for fun, rekindling her love of science and the natural world. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) in 2019. Immediately after graduation she worked in the Office of Sustainability at SMCM. As Office Manager, Allison looks forward to providing the Sanctuary and its staff with the support they need to continue their research and education projects. She is ready to jump in and help in any way she can. Although her professional experience with environmental science is short, her relationship, interest and understanding of nature is life-long.

Liana headshot

Liana Vitali, Stewardship & Citizen Science Coordinator




Academic and Professional Credentials

BS Biology, MS Zoology

Belief Statement

Liana believes wholeheartedly in the power of nature to foster profound experiences in each of us that can serve to unlock our potential and authentic selves.

Personal Interests/Anecdotes

Liana loves, actually needs to be outside as much as possible. She values quality time spent in nature whether it's hiking a new trail with her pup, Willow, road-tripping to explore a new town, or sitting outside on a beautiful morning with family, friends, and a hot cup of coffee.


Through inspiring and meaningful outdoor experiences, Liana strives to help each visitor create a strong and lasting connection to the natural world. Liana leads our Citizen Science and Stewardship programs and loves to empower volunteers and aspiring Naturalists to lead scientific and preservation efforts here at the Sanctuary. Additionally, she is an adjunct faculty member at the Miami University of Ohio teaching in the Global Field Masters Program in Baja, Mexico, and Belize. In 2019, Liana was the recipient of the Jan Hollmann Environmental Education Award. She earned her BS in Biology & Ecology at Penn State University and her Master's in Zoology through the Global Field Program of the Miami University of Ohio. 


Sarah Kempfer, Education Coordinator &  Naturalist




Academic and Professional Credentials

BS Natural Resources,  MS Environmental Policy and Education

Belief Statement

Nature quietly sustains us. We need to build a society that respects and protects nature in return. 

Personal Interests/Anecdotes

Sarah enjoys spending time outdoors - hiking, kayaking and sailing. She loves spending time with her family, friends and her dogs!   


Sarah has worked in the environmental field at the federal, state and local levels. Raising her own children, she recognized how little time children were spending outdoors and founded the Indiana Children and Nature Network. Most recently she worked as a naturalist and environmental educator. Sarah is the Education Coordinator, helping children develop a love and appreciation of nature to build a citizenry that values and protects our environment.

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Debra Gage, Volunteer & Program Coordinator




Academic and Professional Credentials

Master Watershed Steward, Maryland Master Naturalist, Maryland Woodland Steward, and ACA certified canoe instructor

Belief Statement

Nature cannot continue to offer its bounty without thoughtful stewardship. Connecting people to nature is key.

Personal Interests/Anecdotes

Debra loves being outdoors hiking, camping, paddling, and riding her horse.


Living and working in the Patuxent River watershed for over 12 years, Debra has developed a love for the Patuxent. As an American Canoe Association (ACA) certified canoe instructor, Debra aspires to connect visitors to Jug Bay and the Patuxent River through wetland canoe trips and public education programs, in hopes of fostering appreciation and protection for these valuable resources. She organizes events, provides support to volunteers, and measures Jug Bay's volunteer force by collecting and analyzing volunteer stats.

Debra received her bachelor's degree in Psychology and Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. In 2009 she changed focus to follow her passion to learn more about the natural world and environmental concerns


David Rose, Maintenance Worker

David is a resident of West River, Maryland. He graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor's degree in Biology. David worked as a Park Ranger at the Breezy Point Beach and Campground in Calvert County for more than three years. David joined the Jug Bay maintenance team in the fall of 2019. 


Donald Smith, Maintenance Worker

Bristol resident Donald Smith is an active member of Soller's Methodist Church which borders the Sanctuary. Donald is a carpenter and a pipe fitter, and for over twenty years he worked for the U.S. Navy at the Washington Navy Yard.


Richard Chaney, Maintenance Worker

Richard and his wife have been neighbors of Jug Bay for over 30 years. He worked as a heavy equipment operator for the state of Maryland highways for 39 years. Richard has also worked as a mechanic, which has given him the knowledge to keep the Jug Bay equipment running smoothly. He helps tremendously to keep our grounds looking good. Richard enjoys fishing and being outdoors.