A Delaware native, Dee grew up and lived most of her life near Rockland, adjacent to what is now Brandywine Creek State Park. Spending hours as a child exploring the park’s fields and forests – on foot and on horseback - instilled a deep-rooted passion for conservation. As an equestrian, watching farm after farm be developed seemingly without planning for transportation and other impacts, motivated her to get involved in conservation, land use, and historic preservation.
Dee is a graduate of Wilmington Friends School and Swarthmore College. Following the Quaker adage, “let your life speak,” Dee and her husband, Barry, permanently protected the open space of their property through conservation easements now held by the state and placed their historic home under New Castle County historic zoning.
For almost twenty years, Dee served as Executive Director of both Preservation Delaware and then S.A.V.E., a land use, conservation planning and smart transportation advocacy organization based in Chester County, Pennsylvania. A Certified Fundraising Professional (CFRE), Dee was an independent consultant in fundraising and nonprofit management with a focus on conservation, including stints as the Interim Development Director for the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust and as the Grants Manager for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. In 2012 she was honored with the Chairman’s Award from Preservation Pennsylvania.
Dee has been an active volunteer in the community with current and past service on many nonprofit boards and advisory councils including:
Greater Wilmington Visitors & Convention Bureau
Friends of Zoar Church
Brandywine Hundred Historical Society (Founder, 2022)
Plastic Free Delaware (Zero Waste First State)(Co-Founder, 2010)
New Castle Conservation District
Civic Council of Brandywine Hundred (CCOBH)
Junior League of Wilmington
Sierra Club Delaware Chapter Executive Committee
Wilmington Friends School Board of Trustees
Friends of Wilmington Parks
Friends of Brandywine Creek State Park
Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve
Old Brandywine Village
Greater Brandywine Village Restoration (co-founder)
Governor-Elect Jack Markell’s infrastructure transition team
Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s Livable Delaware Task Force
In Brandywine Hundred, Dee was instrumental in spearheading New Castle County’s revitalization of the Woodley Park playground near Talleyville adjacent to Naamans Little League, and more recently led the launch of the Brandywine Hundred Historical Society.
Dee’s work as an environmental advocate made her aware of the need for increased transparency and ethics in government, leading to a stint as Program Director for Common Cause Delaware, 2012-2015. Common Cause seeks policy changes to address money in politics including Citizens United, and reforms aimed at increasing fair voting policies, same day registration, no excuse absentee balloting, and increased transparency in Delaware’s government. In 2018, Dee took on a leadership role to secure Delaware’s passage of the National Popular Vote compact which would make every vote count in presidential elections.
Since being elected to New Castle County Council in 2018, Dee has led passage of significant policy changes with a focus on historic preservation, conservation, energy issues and other environmental measures. This includes passage of a comprehensive update of the County's preservation code (2020), legislation requiring all new residential units be "Electric Vehicle (EV) Ready" (2021), code changes requiring all new large commercial buildings be constructed with "solar ready roofs" (2021), a requirement to make all new streetlights LED (2021), a new law boosting protections along all of the County's designated Byways (2022), establishment of a New Castle County Open Space Advisory Board together with increased funding commitment in the County budget for conservation, and established the New Castle County Public Arts Commission (2023).
In 2010 Dee co-founded and continues to chair Plastic Free Delaware (also Zero Waste First State), which aims to reduce single-use plastic pollution in Delaware communities and surrounding environment through educational programs, awareness building, and policy initiatives. Through Plastic Free Delaware, Dee and other advocates have been instrumental in the passage of key legislation including the ban on single-use plastic bags, a ban against balloon releases, and restrictions on the use of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS or aka Styrofoam).
LINK to more highlights of what she has achieved since being elected to NCC Council in late 2018: