Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


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Mission Statement
Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

ExcellenceITAC Accreditation
eastern shore maryland farmland conservation


Staff Highlight: Steve Kline, President

What was your life like before your time with ESLC?

I am the son of a steelworker and grew up in Sparrows Point in the southeast corner of Baltimore County. My family has been in Maryland for at least seven generations with deep roots in Washington and Frederick counties. I earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a few years later I received a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University. I spent the last 20 years on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist for fish and wildlife conservation. I am also an elected member of the Centreville Town Council, have twin eight-year-olds named Alex and Emily, and have been married to my soulmate Kim for 15 years. I have been on the Shore my entire life, but have lived here full-time since 2009. 

How did you come to work in the field of conservation?

As a kid, the place I connected with my dad was outside, hunting and fishing. We duck hunted Old Road Bay, goose hunted Rock Hall, deer hunted Green Ridge State Forest, and dove hunted in Calvert County. And while we didn’t talk about conservation back then, the conservation ethic, the need to protect these places and these opportunities was in the ether all around me, it stuck to me like mud to my waders. As I got older and developed an interest in politics, I discovered it was possible to blend my two keenest interests, the outdoors and public policy, into a career on Capitol Hill, and I spent the better part of two decades doing that important work.

What is your favorite place to connect to nature?

Well, you can find nature almost anyplace you look, from the backyard birdfeeder to the wide open landscapes of the West, and I have come to appreciate both ends of the spectrum. But my favorite place to connect with nature is a restored wetland or stream, because it is so refreshing to see nature and natural function return and to be reminded that with good old fashioned work we can put some places back together, that mistakes don’t always have to be permanent.

What is your favorite thing about the Eastern Shore?

Our critters. Whether it is Canada Geese pitching into a cornfield or Buffleheads lighting into the Chester River, my wife can attest that our truck veers onto the shoulder whenever I spot a raft of ducks or geese in the distance. I have always been fascinated by waterfowl, and suspect I always will. During the Covid pandemic, my family and I would get out of the house pretty regularly to look for deer, birds, or whatever critters we could find from the windshield. To this day, my kids scream “deer!” in unison whenever they spy one in the fields as we drive by. I hope they remember those rides as fondly as I do.

What is something you wish more people across the state were aware of in terms of conservation?
That we need to actively manage most of our forests, both private and public. It is easy to talk about forests solely through the lens of protection, but as steep (and ongoing) declines in both forest health and wildlife that depend on young forests indicates, locking up our forests and throwing away the key does not generally lead to the best conservation outcomes. Are there some trees and forest tracts that deserve to be protected as old growth? Certainly, and that work is essential. But many more should be actively managed.

If you were given a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Well, we have two children to put through college, so we would probably invest it!

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