Meet the team

Preservation and protection—it all comes down to the people. Get to know the dedicated team members behind our mission.

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Connie Whitaker

Executive Director

Connie Whitaker brings to the organization over 10 years of nonprofit administration experience. Prior to joining the Foundation, Connie served as administrator at the Alabama Coastal Foundation and as external relations director at Feeding the Gulf Coast. Connie earned a Bachelor of Administration degree from Georgia State University and is a graduate of Leadership Baldwin County Class of 2015. Connie serves on the board of the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability, Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation and the Eastern Shore Water Management Plan (WMP) Steering Committee. Connie also  volunteers with the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, serving as committee member and past chair of the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. In her spare time, Connie enjoys all types of outdoor activities, from kayaking to fishing, cycling, walks on the beach with her dogs and hikes through the area’s nature preserves.

Sheri Swartz

Development and Communications Coordinator

Sheri Swartz has over 30 years of experience in communications, community organizing, and event planning.  She began her career as a journalist for her hometown newspaper in Canal Fulton, Ohio as she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Malone College.  After college, she worked for a trade show exhibit company before moving to Mobile, Alabama to work as an event coordinator and then production manager at the Mobile Convention & Civic Centers, where she fell in love with south Alabama.  After a move to Fairhope, Sheri worked with the Fairhope Police Department for nearly 18 years where she developed many working relationships on community projects, managed outreach programs, and was the overseer of many city events.  She has experience writing grants and bringing people together for a common goal. Sheri also has official training in Emergency Management and has completed FEMA’s National Emergency Management Basic Academy.   

Darrel Williams

Land Coordinator

Darrel Williams began his career with South Alabama Land Trust as a summer intern while studying environmental science at the University of West Florida. Originally from Winchester, England, where he studied engineering at Southampton City College, Darrel started his career in Portsmouth, England, while completing a four-year engineering apprenticeship with Eaton Aerospace. Through a series of events, he relocated to the United States where he met his wife, Jenny.  Darrel said his lifelong passion for nature and a fascination for the local ecology of the southeastern United States drove him to pursue his love of the natural sciences. The Williams live in Fairhope with their two children, Breckin and Owen.

Katherine Kuhn

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Katherine Kuhn lived in multiple states growing up and later found herself wanting to retreat somewhere close to the coast. She attended Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Organismal Biology. Shortly after graduating, she began a fellowship program with the Alabama Coastal Foundation where she later was hired on as the Coastal Relations Coordinator for two years. Katherine was a graduate of Mobile United’s Connect Mobile Young Professionals class of 2019. In 2020 she completed training in Seattle to become a NOAA Fisheries certified North Pacific Fisheries Observer in Alaska for two termsShe now lives in Orange Beach where she enjoys being outdoors, drawing, and learning about local flora and fauna.