Mike Pretl Legacy Page
Michael A. Pretl, was an attorney and environmentalist who served with distinction on the Board of Directors for the Wicomico Environmental Trust. His death from a heart attack at age 76 left a deep void in the business and environmental communities and in the hearts of many business associates, colleagues and friends.
A Georgetown law school graduate and a distinguished attorney, Mike was a partner at Smith, Somerville and Case law firm for many years, before starting his own firm to fight for women rendered infertile by the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device. He became General Counsel to the American Urological Association where he remained for 17 years.
As a community activist and an early president of the Northeast Community Organization and Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., Mike was involved in the fight to peacefully integrate Northeast Baltimore. Life Magazine designated Greater Northwood as one of the best integrated communities in the country. Mike was a longtime board member of the Community Law Center, offering pro bono representation to communities in need of legal representation to combat vacant housing, liquor license violations and urban blight. He was most proud of his affiliation with Marylanders against Handgun Abuse, advocating for common sense laws to protect people from unlawful weapons.
Upon his arrival on the Eastern shore in 2003, Mike began helping local groups to achieve their nonprofit status. At the time of his death in 2108, Mike received nonprofit designations for more than 100 organizations. One of his most important projects was the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a group of local and statewide organizations working to make certain that all Marylanders had access to quality healthcare. He served as the secretary / treasurer and counsel to the board at the time of his death.
Mike was a past president of multiple environmental organizations including the Wicomico Environmental Trust, Lower Shore Land Trust, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance and Friends of the Nanticoke. He was particularly concerned about the effects of sprawl on local farmland and offered pro bono services to residents taking action against development in agricultural communities. Following retirement, he taught environmental law at Salisbury University and at the MAC Center and served on the board of Delmarva Public Radio.Mike Pretl served as an inspiration to all environmentalists and his legacy lives on today. It is people like Mike who remind us every day of our collective responsibility to protect the earth and advocate for practices that preserve our surroundings.
This page recognizing exceptional service to the environment in Wicomico County is dedicated to Mike Pretl for his extraordinary lifetime of service.
Ann G. Candler
In May, 2019 Wicomico Environmental Trust received a large endowment from the estate of Ann G. Candler, a long-time professor of writing and composition at Baltimore City Community College until her retirement in 2012 at the age of 84.
Mrs. Candler was a lifelong resident of Baltimore, a 1945 graduate of Eastern High School and recipient of a bachelor’s degree in French in 1949 from Goucher College, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1955, she received a master’s degree in education from the Johns Hopkins University. Mrs. Candler had also attended Peabody Preparatory, where she studied piano and performed in operettas.
Ann taught at Hampstead Hill Junior High School during the 1960s. She was a longtime member and past president of the Woman’s Club of Roland Park. She was married for 48 years to John B. Candler, a Central Savings Bank executive, who died in 2006. Mrs. Candler was a member of St. David’s Episcopal Church and is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Gillis Candler of Chevy Chase, and a grandson.
Mrs. Candler had multiple hobbies that including playing the piano, reading and doing crossword puzzles. She often spoke of her love of working on her great-grandfather’s farm in Whitehaven, near Salisbury, resulting in her generous bequest.
Wicomico Environmental Trust is grateful to Mrs. Candler for her generous gift. As WET aspires to preserve, protect and celebrate the natural resources of Wicomico County, including the agricultural community, we are reminded that it is generous individuals like Ann who enable our organization to continue to advocate successfully for environmental stewardship.
Bob Hocutt became active in the environmental issues when he and his wife Winona were living in Baltimore County. A mega-church intended to build a huge building with a paved parking lot. They knew the enormous extent of the impervious surfaces would overwhelm the small nearby stream with runoff and pollutants. As president of the Greater Patapsco Community Association he led the organization to successfully oppose the new complex. That saved the stream and Bay from large amounts of new polluted runoff.
When he and Winona moved to the Eastern Shore in 2005 to a house on Schumaker Pond he met John Groutt at an informational meeting of the County Planning and Zoning Committee. It was designing the Water Protection Plan and all realized they shared a concern for the environment. Both Bob and Winona joined the board of the small growing environmental organization focused on county-level environmental issues.
Bob was elected WET president in 2016 and again in 2018 and led the group in advocating for smart growth amid the sprawl development being approved by the Planning and Zoning Committee. He and Winona served as volunteer creek watchers for ten years, taking water samples from their dock as well as from a site in Mt. Vernon in Somerset County, and then transporting water samples collected from all creekwatcher sites to the university laboratory where student volunteers analyzed them under the supervision of Dr. Stribling and later Dr. Bradley. He participated in numerous other WET projects including tree plantings and highway cleanups.
Bob received a well-earned WET Member of the Year Award in 2018, and continues to be involved in WET committees and programs.
Judith Stribling was awarded the WET Environmental Stewardship Award in 2017, recognizing her outstanding lifetime efforts to protect the planet. Most of her professional science career she taught as a professor of biological sciences at Salisbury University, while simultaneously undertaking numerous community environmental efforts. She was instrumental in founding the Friends of the Nanticoke River, served as its president for eighteen years, and has remained an active board member, helping guide its advocacy for protecting the Nanticoke watershed. The Friends had their beginning in a small group opposing a nuclear power plant proposed for the west side of the County, and they officially organized in 1991 to fight a condominium planned for Tyaskin; both were defeated. They were instrumental in the acquisition by Wicomico County of the property that became Roaring Point Park. Other significant battles involved a wealthy businessman who built illegal cabins on an island in the Nanticoke River, and due to the Friends’ legal challenges he was eventually required to remove them. A developer attempting to build a huge commercial and housing development in a rural area near Hebron was stopped, partly a result of the Friends of the Nanticoke River persistent opposition, led by Judith.
Dr. Stribling led the Wicomico Creekwatchers almost singlehandedly for a decade, writing proposals for funding equipment, recruiting and supervising community volunteers to collect the water and university students to analyze the samples in a university laboratory, as well as writing annual reports describing the changing health of the Wicomico River.
Judith was instrumental in establishing the Wicomico County Natural Resources Conservation Advisory Committee, a county commission which began by designing protections for the most significant Green Infrastructure areas of the County. She now chairs that committee, which is currently focused on addressing invasive species.
She helped to form, and served as the first president of, the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, where she became committed to collaborative work with agricultural, forestry, environmental, and governmental partners in protecting the region’s environment. In 2003, she received the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Frances Flannigan Environmental Leadership Award.
Dr. Stribling received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion, cum laude, from Goucher College, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Science. She and her husband, Dave love sailing and belong to the Eastern Shore Sailing Association.
WET AWARD RECIPIENTS
John Groutt Award for Environmental Stewardship
- 2020 Jerry Kelly
- 2019 Salisbury Mayor Jake Day
- 2018 Reverend Dr. Frieda Malcolm
- 2017 Dan Savoy
- 2016 Jay Martin
Mike Pretl Award for Environmental Advocacy
- 2020 Hemalatha Bhaskaran
- 2019 Kate Patton
- 2018 Matt Drew
- 2017 Barry Johansson
- 2016 Martin Hutchinson
Academic Excellence in Science Award
- 2020 Simon Lewis
Green Business Award
- 2020 Jeremy Norton, Owner, Roadie Joe’s Bar & Grill
- 2019 Rise Up
Volunteer of the Year
- 2020 Sam Gibson
- 2019 Judith Burns
Farm of the Year
- 2021 – First year of the Award
Wicomico River Creekwatchers Years of Service Recognition
Charter Members (18 Years)
- Clint Bradley (retired as of 2020)
- Mike and Cassy Lewis
- Lynne and Mac Peverley
- Nancy and Dr. Richard Reddish
- Mat Tilghman
- Stuart Wikander
- Bill and Judy Wyatt
10 plus years
- Peter Bozick (14 years)
- Kathy Cordrey (15 or more years)
- Bill Day (10-plus years)
- Bob and Winona Houcutt (10 Years)