Skip Stiles, Executive Director
I became an environmentalist in the wetlands of Back Bay in Virginia and the New River in North Carolina. As a child, hunting and fishing with my father, I saw many sunrises and sunsets over mid-Atlantic marshes. I had many quiet conversations with my dad learning about the habits and habitats of marsh wildlife and the wonders of our wetlands.
In my first career, I spent a couple of decades working in Congress on national-level environmental and science policy, thinking it made a difference. I now know that progress is measured on a different scale as communities rediscover their connections with nature.
Today I can’t take a breath of the rich, salty air around a tidal wetland without being transported back to those wonderful days. That is what drives me to keep these lands protected and open, so my children and grandchildren can have the same experiences.
Shereen Hughes, Assistant Director
I have always loved being on and in the water. As a kid, we lived near the beach in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, California. Many of my early memories are associated with exploring the tidal pools, collecting shells and rocks, and walking through the native, sun-crisped meadows. Now my memories are those of living with the water in the Chesapeake Bay Region. Wetlands Watch provides me with an opportunity to blend my passion for environmental conservation and preservation with my professional expertise gained as an environmental consultant, landscape designer, and planning commissioner.
My philosophy matches the Wetland Watch philosophy that all “citizens properly informed and motivated, will be the source of the energy and vision needed to guide Virginia through the difficult times ahead”. Every day is an adventure at Wetlands Watch as we continue to inform and motivate our localities, region, and people to plan for adaptation to sea level rise and wetlands preservation and restoration.
Mary-Carson Stiff, Policy Director
I joined Wetlands Watch to help my hometown region navigate the complex issue of sea level rise. Wetlands and shoreline losses in the wake of increased flooding could dramatically alter the landscape of coastal Virginia, changing the economic and emotional assets that define our way of life. Growing up in Suffolk, I quickly learned the value of undeveloped land and undisturbed wetlands as I witnessed an expanding City’s impacts on these resources. Local governments make important development decisions along the shoreline and as ours begin to disappear, these decisions become more critical. My expertise in floodplain management, land use policy, land conservation, and local government law help me identify ways to discourage development and incentivize conservation to ultimately promote nature based solutions to sea level rise adaptation.
I am a 2013 graduate of William & Mary Law School, where I was in the first graduating class of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center. My past work experience includes the VA Coastal Policy Center, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Land Trust Alliance, Virginia Sea Grant, and Episcopal High School. I serve on the Boards of the Virginia Floodplain Managers Association, the Living River Restoration Trust, the Norfolk Environmental Commission, and the Chesapeake Natural Event Mitigation Advisory Committee. I live in Norfolk with my husband, new baby, and our golden-doodle Commissioner Gordon.
Ross Weaver, Program Assistant Director
From an early age, I have always been passionate about the environment. Whether kayaking on the New River, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or camping in the forests of the Shenandoah National Park, I have treasured the natural wonders found in Virginia. Although not native to the Hampton Roads region, I have appreciated the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. I am interested in the intersection of land use policy, urban design, and the natural environment. I believe that the use of nature-based solutions, environmentally-sensitive design, and open space preservation are the most effective ways to adapt to the ever-increasing flooding that plagues our coastlines. I hope to help create a more resilient region, one where the built environment can adapt to rising sea levels without endangering the tremendous ecological and economic value of the Chesapeake Bay.
At Virginia Tech, I received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning. Prior to joining Wetlands Watch, I graduated from the University of Virginia School of Architecture with a Master's degree in Urban and Environmental Planning. Previously, I have worked for the Sierra Club, the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.