Board of Directors Spotlight: Bill D’Alonzo
Where are you from?
I was born and raised outside of Wilmington, DE and I grew up hunting; in my college days I also worked as a hunting guide on the Eastern Shore in Cecil County, MD. I graduated from Widener University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance and an MBA. I ran an investment firm in Wilmington, DE and retired in 2012.
How did you become involved with conservation work?
When I was younger and hunted in both Maryland and Delaware, I never thought I’d ever be in a position to own a farm…but now I own 5 farms: 4 on the Eastern Shore of MD and 1 in DE, with all of them in conservation or agriculture easements. We farm grains but we also have good, sound farming practices and have also set a good portion of the land in wildlife habitat. As a young hunter, I was struck by how rapidly we were seeing a loss of farms and habitat to development. I always believed there had to be wiser ways to manage economic and population growth and land management. In addition to managing good wildlife habitat on the farms, we have worked with a couple of different organizations to enhance the properties; we teamed up with the National Wild Turkey Federation to reestablish wild turkeys and with Tall Timbers to reestablish wild bobwhite quail. Over my lifetime, I have also been involved with Delaware Wild Lands, Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants and Quail Forever, as well as (of course) the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.
How did you become involved with ESLC?
Thanks to fellow board member Joe Hickman, years ago I did a conservation easement with ESLC. That was my first exposure. I continued to donate and support the organization and about 4-5 years ago I was asked to join the board.
What is your favorite part of working with ESLC?
The mission and the people: smart economic growth, support of a continued strong agriculture presence on the Eastern Shore and the efforts to ensure vibrant and dynamic towns to absorb the growth rather than seeing the continued loss of great farmland. The ESLC staff are so dedicated and driven by the mission as well. I see that and feel it. Steve Kline and his team are working so hard and I am grateful and honored to be a small part of that.
What is something you wish more people knew about ESLC?
Well, a couple of things. We need to educate folks more on just how important and critical a resource ESLC is to the Eastern Shore’s culture & history, wise economic growth, a vibrant farm community, and healthy towns with a high quality of life. And what a great team of folks are working together: the staff, the board, the donors and supporters and partners – it’s awesome to watch ESLC do what they do!
What is your favorite about Maryland’s Eastern Shore?
The beauty, the scenery, the scenic farms and habitat all up and down the Shore – not to mention the people! It’s God’s Country and to paraphrase Steve Kline, ”when folks cross over on to the Eastern Shore their blood pressure drops!”