About Plastic Free QAC

Our Mission
PFQAC is committed to educate and advocate for choices each individual, organization and business can make to reduce single-use plastic.
Our Vision
A greater QAC community that partners together, shares responsibility for a healthy environment and works toward sustainable change.
Our History
  • PFQAC is a successful 501(c)3 environmental advocacy organization.
  • We are composed of a growing group of dedicated volunteers.
  • We have been making a difference in Queen Anne’s County since 2018!
The Team
Bente Cooney
Founder, Board Member
Bente grew aware of the need to protect our fragile earth while sailing for 18 years before settling on the Eastern Shore. Bente worked on Capitol Hill and later with non-profit organizations. She co-founded a non-profit organization in Washington, DC to advocate for the rights of nursing home residents.
Sara Shelley
Co-Founder, President, Board Member
Since moving to Grasonville in 2017 Sara has remained invested in making a difference in our Chesapeake Bay Watershed area. Shortly after completing the Legacy Institute for the Environment (LIFE) training, she joined the newly formed Plastic Free QAC team. As part of her current duties as PFQAC President, she is responsible for Daily Operations, Outreach and Program Development. Sara also served on the QAC Local Management Board as a community representative from 2021-23. When not volunteering, you can find her spending time in nature, kayaking, biking, hiking and traveling the world with family and friends.
Laura Connor
Co-Founder, Board Member
A founding member of Plastic Free QAC, Laura now serves on its Board. She worked as Human Resources Director for an environmental law firm in Washington D.C. before retiring to stay home with her children. Laura is a volunteer mediator and board member at Community Mediation Upper Shore, which serves Kent and Queen Anne's Counties.
Jenny Verdrani
Social Media Director, Board Member
Jenny has lived all over the globe and settled in Maryland in 2014. After 20+ years in Human Resources, she took a leap of faith and launched Refill Goodness, an eco-friendly market and refillery. H er passion for sustained living runs deep, and her love of the outdoors made her keenly aware of just how important it is to protect our natural resources. When not at a marketing or event educating on sustainable swaps, Jenny is likely seeing a favorite band, boating, hiking, reading or spending time with her family.
Connie Zillig
Treasurer, Board Member.
Connie moved to the Eastern Shore from Chicago in 2014 after spending a week every summer on the Chester River since the mid-1980’s. She enjoys volunteering with non-profit organizations and most recently was President of The Friends of Queen Anne’s County Library. She is excited to be working with PFQAC and shares its vision of promoting a healthy environment and reducing single-use plastics. She enjoys crabbing, boating and spending time on the Chester with family and friends.
Annie Eaton
Board Member
I'm grateful to be a part of Plastic Free QAC. Seeing the positive impact and changes that have been made in our community in the last few years by Plastic Free QAC is inspiring and I am excited to help keep the momentum going. I've lived in Queen Anne's County for 17 years and have been a local realtor for the last 7 years. My family and I live in Chester and love to get out and enjoy the beauty and open spaces of Kent Island and the surrounding areas. Making our environment a healthier, cleaner space for all has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager. My partnership with Plastic Free QAC began when I approached them to help with the annual beach clean-up I was coordinating for my real estate team. The rest is history.
Ron Burr
Technology Coordinator, Board Member
Ron, a seasoned leader in technology and innovation, finds inspiration in his Pacific Northwest roots, drawing parallels between Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay. He has a deep appreciation for the environment and wildlife/fisheries instilled during his formative years. He actively participates on boards and organizations in education, fisheries and environment/water managemnet. When not driving tech advancements, Ron can be found enjoying building things, cooking and outdoor/water pursuits.
Tom Webb
Volunteer Coordinator
Tom sold his national healthcare consulting firm and moved from Columbia, MD to Stevensville full-time in 2020. He has been active in environmental issues for his entire adult life. Starting with working to pass the bottle bill in Massachusetts in the 70s. He is PFQAC’s clean-up volunteer coordinator. He enjoys boating, fishing, and crabbing on the bay with his family and friends.
Lily Walsh
Social Media Coordinator
Lily grew up in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay, on Kent Island. Having direct access to the Bay and its wildlife shaped her into a nature enthusiast. She graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Environmental Geoscience. Now living in Buffalo, New York and working in marketing, creating content for PFQAC helps her feel more connected to her hometown. Lily uses her creativity to inspire conservation and sustainability through social media.
Peggy Young
Team Member
Peggy grew up on the Chesapeake and has spent much time sailing, crabbing, and skiing on the Bay. She worked for BoatU.S for 20 years in product marketing, and retired after 13 years as Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for SECU Credit Union. Peggy is dedicated to doing whatever is possible to protect our environment, especially from the plastic mess we humans have created.
Julie Schaeffer
Team Member
Julie has been a “behind the scenes” supporter of PFQAC since its start, creating graphics and video content. She produces video and graphic promos for other local nonprofit organizations as well. Formerly a School Counselor in Kent County, Julie is now retired and lives in Grasonville, Md.
Alex Aiosa
Team Member
Alex grew up on the Eastern Shore. Spending many a summer at his Aunt and Uncle's home in St. Michael's. Spending his summers boating, crabbing, and jet skiing is what made Alex fall in love with the Chesapeake Bay. Alex received his bachelor's degree from Salisbury University and his masters from the University of Maryland College Park. While Alex now lives on the Western Shore he still holds a special place in his heart for the Eastern Shore and comes back anytime he has the chance to take in the majesty of all the shore has to offer.
Faith McCarthy
Student Advocate
Faith is originally from Centreville, MD and graduated from Queen Anne's County High School. She is a junior at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD where she studies Environmental Science and Earth and Planetary Science. Faith has worked with PFQAC before as an intern.
Tyler Bowles
Student Advocate
Hi, my name is Tyler Bowles. I am a class of 2025 student at Kent Island High School, and an EMT at United Communities Volunteer Fire Department (UCVFD). I am 16 years old, and aspire to go to med school. I joined PFQAC because I believe, as a younger person, that the “candle” of caring for the earth is being passed down to my generation of people. I am excited to be member of this organization and cleanse our communities.
PFQAC Partners