Our Leadership

Marlene Smith, President

Marlene Smith, founding member and President of Wild Ones Chesapeake Bay, has been a southern Maryland native since the age of 13. She has been a University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener since 2015and is a member of the Charles County Extension Advisory Council. Marlene is also a Bay-Wise Master Gardener, a Xerces Ambassador, a Maryland Tree Steward, and a member of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society. Marlene is one of the founders of the Facebook group Southern Maryland Native Plant People.

As a UME Master Gardener, Marlene collaborates with fellow master gardeners on presentations and workshops on native seed collecting and winter sowing. She is also a mentor for Nurture Natives, a youth-led organization dedicated to empowering youth through environmental initiatives, with a focus on protecting native species and biodiversity. 

In her professional career, Marlene was a medical laboratory technologist for 21 years before obtaining her BS and MS degrees from University of Maryland Global Campus in IT project management. She worked in healthcare IT for 15 years before retiring in 2018. Marlene’s passion for native plants has opened many opportunities for her to volunteer in her community, leading to lasting friendships with like-minded people. Marlene lives in Waldorf, Maryland, with her husband, Bill, and their fur-baby, Misty.

William Smith, Vice President

William (Bill) Smith, founding member, Vice President and Videographer of Wild Ones Chesapeake Bay, landed in southern Maryland after being honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps. After his service he completed a four-year electrical apprenticeship and earned his BS in Computer Science and MS in Software Engineering. Before he retired, his workload included coding telemetry software and supporting hardware for Delta II and IV rockets, the Hubble Space Telescope and various other aircraft. After retirement, he became a University of Maryland Extension St. Mary’s Master Gardener in 2020. Bill is also a Bay-wise Master Gardener and a Maryland Tree Stewart.

Bill is an amateur videographer and initially started the hobby to video master gardener projects. That blossomed into creating videos for nonprofits including Melwood, Neighborhood Creative Art Center,  Nurture Natives, the Charles County Youth Orchestra and Friends of St. Clements Bay, as well as the United States Marine Corps and a few businesses. And now the list expands to include videos for Wild Ones Chesapeake Bay.

Since becoming a master gardener, Bill has realized the importance of native plants and could not pass up the opportunity to be a founder of the Wild Ones Chesapeake Bay Chapter with his wife Marlene and their fur-baby, Misty.

Sue Williams, Secretary

Sue Williams (aka”Nana”), founding member and Secretary of Chesapeake Bay Wild Ones, is a retired teacher who has taught all levels from preschool to college. She has a Masters Degree in Science Education and is a Master Gardener and Master Naturalist as well. Nana is one of the founding gardeners of the Southern Maryland Native Plant People Facebook group. 

Sue moved back to Maryland in 2008 taking over the family home on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in southern Anne Arundel County and began redesigning the gardens, removing invasives and adding native plants. Now she is working on expanding the gardens little by little. 

Emily Hansroth, Treasurer

Emily Hansroth, founding member and Treasurer of Chesapeake Bay Wild Ones, is a born and raised Maryland native with a passion for the outdoors and wildlife conservation. She has a BS in Environmental Science and a Masters of Natural Resources, Leadership in Sustainability from Virginia Tech. She has nearly 20 years of professional experience ranging from environmental remediation and compliance, stormwater management, and sustainability and is currently the Director of Sustainability for Lockheed Martin based in Bethesda, MD. Emly is also one of the founders of the Facebook group Southern Maryland Native Plant People.

Emily is a Bay-wise Calvert County resident where she is an active Maryland Master Naturalist and volunteer with the American Chestnut Land Trust. She also spends much of her time managing a forestry and wildlife restoration project on her property in West Virginia. She enjoys boating and fishing with her fiancé, Mike, and their dog, Macy.

Lynne Wheeler, Membership Chair

Lynne Wheeler, founding member and Membership Chair of Chesapeake Bay Wild Ones, was born and raised in Indian Head, Charles County, and graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS degree in Medical Technology. She worked as a technical supervisor in hospital clinical laboratories in La Plata, Maryland, and Boca Raton, Florida; a territory manager for Fisher Scientific in south Florida; and in her final working years with Grainger Industrial Supply in southern Maryland.

She has held multiple officer positions with the Southern Maryland Audubon Society – President, Vice-President, Secretary, and is currently their Membership Chair. She is also the Secretary for the Port Tobacco River Conservancy, and a University of Maryland Extension Charles County Master Gardener. Her hobbies are gardening and propagating native plants, birding, reading, nature, cooking, fishing, and good wine. She resides in Chicamuxen with her husband, John Wheeler, an Indian Head business owner.