by Kimberly K. Egan (first published in the August 2022 Equiery)
On July 1, we welcomed six new members to serve two-year terms on our Board of Directors: Dr. Amy Burk, JoAnn Dawson, Dr. Michael Erskine, Laura Lane-Unsworth, Rachann Mayer, and John Nunn. We are also losing three Board members: Dr. Rachel Cezar-Martinez is moving to Louisiana for a new position with USDA; MHC stalwart and founder of our very successful Farm Stewardship Committee, Jane Thery, is turning to new opportunities after over a decade of dedicated service to MHC; and Dawn Edgerton-Cameron is taking the time she needs to focus on the new branch of her financial consulting business that she opened in Edgewater.
We will miss Rachel, Jane, and Dawn, but we are also excited about our new Directors. We are working hard on building the best Board we can have, and each of our new Directors brings skills and talents to help MHC grow.
Amy Burk, PhD – Dr. Amy Burk is a Professor and the Coordinator for the Equine Studies Program in the Animal and Avian Sciences Department at the University of Maryland. She teaches horse management, equine science, and equine reproduction, and advises the Maryland Equestrian Club and Eventing Team. Her novel 5.5 acre Equine Rotational Grazing Demonstration site has been used to educate over 900 members of the horse industry, and she has earned the Educator of the Year award from the Equine Science Society. Dr. Burk sits on the Boards of the National Association of Equine Affiliated Academics, the Equine Science Society, the Maryland Horse Industry Board, and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. She has served on MHC’s Board of Directors in the past. Burk completed her graduate work in equine nutrition as a Pratt Fellow at Virginia Tech, having earned an MS in 1998 and a PhD in 2001.
JoAnn Dawson – JoAnn Dawson owns and operates Fairwinds Farm & Stables in Cecil County. Fairwinds offers riding lessons, summer camp, trail rides, horse-drawn carriages, pony rides, hayrides, local honey, birthday parties, weddings, and a bed and breakfast. In 2011, the farm was inducted into the 2015 Cecil County Business Hall of Fame and was named 2011 Cecil County Tourism Business of the Year. Dawson is also a 4-H leader, an appointee to the Maryland Equine Advisory Committee, a LEAD Maryland fellow, a board member for Cecil County Economic Development Commission and Cecil County Tourism, a former columnist for Cecil Soil Magazine, and a professor of Equine Science at Cecil College in North East. In her spare time, Dawson is an animal wrangler, a writer, and an actress. She is the author of Bed, Breakfast & Beyond: Twenty years of Kooky Guests, Gentle Ghosts, and Horses in Between, and she wrote the screenplay for the recently-released film Cream of the Crop.
Mike Erskine, DVM, DABVP (Equine) – A past president of the Maryland Horse Council, Dr. Mike Erskine is the Director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in 1988 and, in 1996, Erskine became the first practicing equine veterinarian in Maryland to be board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). Dr. Erskine later served as president of ABVP and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. He currently chairs the Maryland Veterinary Foundation.
Laura Lane-Unsworth – Laura Lane-Unsworth is the Founder and Executive Director of the Brave HEART Program, which is a therapeutic riding program for military families in Hagerstown. Lane-Unsworth is herself a military spouse – her husband is in the U.S. Army and has served in Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation New Dawn, as well as other tours in Iraq. Lane-Unsworth is a trainer and instructor, has re-started off-the-track Thoroughbreds as hunter/jumpers and fox hunters, and has won multiple awards in hunter under saddle and hunt seat equitation. She has also competed in open jumpers. Lane-Unsworth has been on MHC’s Executive Committee since 2021, and she serves on our Equine Assisted Service Committee and our Membership Committee.
Rachann Mayer – Mayer is a cell biologist, a kennel owner, and a radio personality. She hosts Raising Connections, a weekly radio program aired on WTTR, highlighting the connections between our Critters, Companions, Commerce & Agriculture. She updated a 1950s-era boarding kennel to become the first eco-friendly dog kennel, day camp, and grooming facility in Maryland. Mayer earned her B.S. in Microbiology from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, with a minor in Medical History, and she did post-graduate work in Microbiology and Immunology at Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine.
John Nunn – John Nunn is the founder and owner of the tack wholesaler Nunn Finer Products. He grew up on a 300 acre horse farm in Rochester, New York, and rode hunters and jumpers as a child. He also worked as an assistant trainer and exercise rider for his father’s Thoroughbred training business, and himself trained Thoroughbreds for 15 years. In 1981, he purchased the tack shop Bit of Britain, which was at the time selling primarily to the racetrack trade. Nunn moved the operation to the Fair Hill area and began catering to the needs of event riders. Nunn is an accomplished event rider himself.
Please join us in welcoming our new Directors!