Dr. Sarah “Sally” Taylor-Rogers was born August 4, 1947 to Gilbert Taylor and Dorothy Taylor (Fisher) and lived in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania attending the Interboro School System. She graduated in 1965 and went on to attend Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania. She passed away due to complications from Uveal Melanoma on June 23, 2021.
On March 2004, Sarah Taylor-Rogers became the Assistant Director, Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc. After 10 years she was appointed Acting Director of the Center until her retirement in March 2017. In April 2019, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland asked for an encore. She also received an Honorary Degree in Science from her College; having “broken the glass ceiling” for many women to follow.
Prior to that she was a Research Assistant and Fellow with the Center, a non-profit affiliated with the University of Maryland. Her published policy research focused on ways to strengthen donated easements for conservation purposes and also included research as to whether downzoning preserved agricultural and forest lands while retaining landowner equity. Both projects met the Center’s Mission of promoting the economic viability of agricultural and forestry while keeping the environment in mind, particularly the Chesapeake Bay.
Prior to her tenure with the Center, Sarah was appointed the first woman Secretary for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Her focus was on the wise management of Maryland’s natural resources through the use of sound science and improving the Chesapeake Bay through education and increased awareness of citizens not usually served well by the government. She initiated information in State Parks to be printed in Spanish and to have signage in Braille to encourage the underserved.
For several years, Sarah served as the Department of Natural Resource’s Assistant Secretary for Resource Management in charge of fisheries, wildlife, environmental review, the Critical Area Program, forestry and boating. And in 1984, served as the first Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. With 27 Commissioners, she and a staff of four developed the Critical Area Program as the first land use-growth management program in the State coupled with the protection of the Bay and its land and water resources. This Program was one of the key Bay Initiatives of former Governor Harry Hughes and the Legislature.
Sarah came to the Department of Natural Resources in 1979 as Director of the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program after five years of service with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where she was responsible with a diverse team of professionals for overseeing the Washington, DC Water Supply Study. In that process she developed a method to assess institutional strength (fiscal and political at State and local levels) to determine the ability to assume the local cost share for Corps’ projects. This method was adopted by the Corps as Regulatory Guidelines for all projects.
Sarah received her Ph.D. in 1976 with honors from the Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, with courses from the New York State College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, specializing in water resources and natural resources management. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration with honors in 1971 focusing on Organizational Development. In 1969, she received her Bachelor of Arts from Thiel College with honors, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish.
Sarah was the first woman to Chair the Coastal States Organization and in doing so represented four Governors to that Organization as well as the first woman to Chair the Potomac River Fisheries Commission. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Thiel College.
She is a proud recipient of the Alumni Association Professional Accomplishment Award and Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honorary from Thiel, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Francis Flanigan Environmental Leadership Award, the Association of Conservation and Resource Development District Award, and United Nation’s Environmental Award for her work with the Critical Area Program.
She is married to builder-developer John Whitson Rogers and has a talented family including daughter, Writer/Actor/Interviewer Renee L. Rogers; son-in-law, Actor/Director Steve Witting; and Granddaughter Olivia Rose Witting who graduated from and is working as Assistant Director of Admissions for Stanford University.
Her private interment will be in Friends Southwestern Burial Grounds, 236 Powell Lane, in Upper Darby, Pa.
A Celebration of Life will be held on a future date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Sarah’s memory can be made to Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, 124 Wye Narrows Drive, Queenstown, Maryland 21658.