Hilary Harp Falk
Hilary Harp Falk is President and CEO of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), leading the largest nonprofit conservation organization dedicated solely to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. She has spent her career building strong, authentic partnerships, and is a proven expert in large-scale ecosystem restoration and leading organizational change.
Falk’s national conservation leadership includes several executive roles at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) culminating in Chief Program Officer. She created and directed the Choose Clean Water Coalition, bringing together more than 200 advocacy organizations working together to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. During her time at the Federation, she led programs including wildlife conservation, coastal resiliency, water policy, greenhouse gas reduction, and environmental education.
Throughout her career, Falk has championed women’s leadership and advancing equity in the conservation movement. She was a 2016-2017 fellow with the International Women's Forum and co-chaired the National Wildlife Federation’s Women in Conservation Leadership Advisory Council. She led the implementation of NWF’s foundational 2018 strategic plan and was a champion for a more equitable and inclusive workplace.
Falk began her career in environmental conservation as an intern with CBF in 1997. She earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Franklin and Marshall College and her Masters of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. She holds an honorary degree as Doctor of Science, honoris causa, from Virginia Wesleyan University. Between her undergraduate and graduate studies, Falk returned to CBF and spent three years at the Port Isobel Island Education Center teaching students of all ages—children, teachers, farmers, and decision-makers—about the Bay and its ecologically sensitive island communities.
Falk’s commitment and passion for conservation stems from a childhood spent exploring the edges of the Chesapeake Bay with her father, a professional photographer. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two children.
Falk is CBF's third leader since the organization was chartered in 1967. It was first led by Arthur Sherwood. William C. Baker took the reins in 1981 and retired after 40 years at the end of 2021.