Meet our team of passionate, dedicated environmentalists!
Maggy Burns, Executive Director (she/her)
Maggy loves EAC’s complexity, how it lives its values and that it remains sassy even at 50. Her involvement with EAC goes back almost 20 years and includes 10 years as the Managing Director (2007-2017). Maggy has a BA (Philosophy) and BSc (Biology) from Dalhousie University. Her non-profit career spans sub-sectors including entrepreneurship, international development, experiential education and inclusion as well as consulting work in facilitation, strategic planning and conflict resolution. She enjoys poison dart frogs, urban cycling, wooden canoes and being called a scientist by her nieces.
Marla MacLeod, Director of Programs (she/her)
Marla loves helping people untangle complex problems. She coordinated EAC’s community food programs for a decade before becoming Managing Director in 2017. She has a B.A. and a Master of Environmental Studies. When not at the office, she can be found mucking around in her garden, canoeing, and exploring the city by bike.
David Hodd, Director of Operations and Development (he/him)
Enabling others to better value and look after our environment is what drives David's work. In recent years he has done this by building innovative programs, growing effective partnerships and nurturing inspirational teams - here in Nova Scotia, but mostly in the UK where he originates. With this experience, he creates space for EAC staff to do their fantastic work. David unwinds in the woods perhaps by taking his local scout group there, or just by botanizing.
Joanna Bull, Community Engagement Manager (she/her)
Joanna is deeply inspired by the beauty of the natural world and is dedicated to environmental and social justice. She loves a good conversation about the apocalypse, community care, and what it means to bring about truly transformative change. She is also a bit of a language nerd, and her academic background is in Linguistics and Language Studies. Joanna is EAC's Community Engagement Coordinator and has been with the Centre since 2013. When she's not facilitating meetings on Fern Lane, you might find her teaching breathwork and meditation with the Art of Living Foundation, riding her bike, or weaving tiny rugs.
Claire Parsons, Strategic Communications Manager (she/her)
Claire is an experienced communicator, digital marketer and manager. Prior to joining the EAC team, Claire worked with Engage Nova Scotia as the manager of community relations. With an undergraduate degree in sociology from Queen’s University and an advanced diploma in public relations from NSCC, Claire has overseen the communications function on various public engagements and marketing campaigns to gather community input and drive change. Claire is an avid thrifter, surfer, hiker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast.
For media inquiries, email or call (902-877-5125). This phone number is for media requests only.
Rowan Swain, Communications Officer (he/him)
Rowan has been at EAC since 2012, and in that time has had the opportunity to connect with our community in a variety of roles, most recently as Communications Officer. A strong believer in the power of community, Rowan is excited by social and environmental justice, collective care, alternatives to capitalism, and meandering conversations about systemic change and community building. When he’s not at EAC he can usually be found writing, cooking, escaping to the woods, in a comfy chair with his nose in a book, or puttering around on whatever musical instruments happen to be in his general vicinity.
Maddi Tang, Communications Officer (they/them)
Originally from a small town in Ontario, Maddi is an artist and storyteller with a passion for connecting people to their communities and environments. Maddi recently completed their Bachelor's degree at Dalhousie University, with a double major in International Development and Sustainability. Prior to their work at the EAC, Maddi has worked in customer service and marketing, conducted research on climate and development communications, and worked a handful of gigs as a professional photographer. When not staring at a screen, they can often be found camping, gardening, or scouring thrift stores for hidden gems.
Paula Aceto, Community Giving Manager (she/her)
Paula Aceto moved to Nova Scotia from Ontario 5 years ago and has never looked back. While she began her career in the not-for-profit sector over 20 years ago in Program evaluations and HR it soon became clear that her true passion is fundraising. She has worked for both national and international charities, running grassroot and large-scale campaigns. When she is not working Paula enjoys hiking, reading and spending time with her family.
Hope Perez, Community Giving Officer (she/her)
Hope grew up in beautiful Vermont and now calls Halifax her home. She is a graduate of the University of King's College and Dalhousie's Environmental, Sustainability, & Society program, and has a strong passion for the natural world and environmental education. Hope is currently pursuing a degree in Education at Mount Saint Vincent University. When not studying, you can find Hope hiking and camping around Nova Scotia.
Carly Hominuk, Member Relations Officer (she/her)
Carly first joined the Ecology Action Centre in 2018 as a Membership Canvasser, and has had the opportunity to engage with our members in a variety of roles ever since. After taking some time in 2019 to travel Australia and visit her hometown of Toronto, Carly returned to EAC as a Member Relations Officer, managing business partnerships and community fundraising initiatives. Prior to her work at EAC, Carly graduated with First Class Honours from an Undergraduate Degree in Philosophy at Dalhousie University.
Nancy Julien, Human Resources Manager (she/her)
Nancy grew up near the ocean in the community of Herring Cove and spent summers at Porter’s Lake near the village of Chezzecook and her Acadian ancestry. She is an experienced human resource professional focused on building trusting relationships, lifelong learning and helping others succeed. As an advocate for mental health awareness for more than a decade, she understands the connection between nature, food, physical activity and healthy minds and bodies. Nancy loves working at EAC because it allows her to put her energy and experience into an organization that shares her values, and has deep ties to community.
Helen Brandon, Finance Clerk (she/her)
Helen is an experienced accountant who brings her many years of expertise in bookkeeping, project accounting and general accounting to the EAC. Helen recently relocated from British Columbia and has now settled in Halifax. She joined the EAC team in 2020. Environmental issues and awareness have always been part of Helen's life and she is happy to be a part of a team that does such important work in her local community and the province at large. In her spare time Helen enjoys hiking, photography, gardening and is a multimedia artist.
Kortney Dunsby, Sustainable Cities Coordinator (she/her)
Kortney likes to think outside the box. Fascinated by how people interact with their environments, built and natural, she wants to see how we can creatively imagine the future of our communities. Prior to joining the EAC team, Kortney completed her Master of Planning at Dalhousie University and Honours Bachelor of Arts in Environmental and Resource Studies from Trent University. When not at the office, Kortney is usually exploring the Nova Scotia coast with her film camera in tow.
Will Balser, Coastal Adaptation Coordinator (he/they)
Will grew up on a farm along the Petitcodiac River and has been exploring the cliffs and woods of the Fundy coastline their whole life. They have spent the past 5 years working in Municipal Land Use Planning and are passionate about the history and interaction between the built environment and ocean. They hold a B.A in Environmental Studies - outside office hours they’re usually walking along a shoreline camera in hand or training Muay Thai.
Kelsey Lane, Senior Climate Policy Coordinator (she/her)
Kelsey Lane is passionate about climate policy and is eager to evolve systems to be as swift, effective and equitable as the action needed to address the climate crisis. Prior to joining EAC, Kelsey was the executive director of the Halifax Cycling Coalition and has worked for NGOs around the world on business development, education and public outreach. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sustainability from Dalhousie University and currently serves on the board of directors for Springtide Collective and the Electric Vehicle Society of Canada. When not at the office, you can find Kelsey avoiding domestic chores by chasing her urban chickens around the yard, exploring a trail, or scheming her next adventure.
Gurprasad Gurumurthy, Energy Coordinator, Renewables and Electricity (he/him)
Gurprasad is passionate about climate change, environmental sustainability research, policy analysis and campaign development. Throughout the progression of his career, he has developed expertise in understanding the environmental and socio-economic impacts of actions and policies and determining the benefits of strategies and initiatives. Guru has a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, focusing on developing emissions inventories for Coal-based Thermal Power Plants and the internalization of social costs of Carbon. He also holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical and Automation Engineering. As Energy Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, Guru aims to build a strong coalition of climate-conscious individuals to achieve a Net-zero Nova Scotia.
Kimberley Fry, Energy Efficiency Coordinator (she/her)
Kim has been working on environmental issues since she was a teenager in eastern Ontario. Her grandparents passed on a deep love for nature that was nurtured by a local ecologist who roped her into studying bats and frogs in High School and led her to York University for the Bachelors and Masters programs. Kim spent over a decade as an activist and environmental educator/naturalist working for a number of ENGOs before returning to school for a Masters in Teaching and a career with the Toronto District School Board. With a family move to K’jipuktuk, Kim decided to return to the world of environmental activism full time. You can find Kim hiking and cycling with her partner and 5 year old son or promoting her 18 year old daughter’s band.
Thomas Arnason McNeil, Climate Policy Coordinator, Sustainable Transportation (he/him)
Thomas Arnason McNeil is policy researcher and musician from Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is passionate about electric vehicle policy, new mobility strategies, and playing old-time country and bluegrass music. Prior to joining the EAC, Thomas worked for Dunsky Energy and Climate Advisors as an intern. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Dalhousie University and Master of Arts in Sustainable Energy Policy from Carleton University.
Claire Morley, Energy Efficiency Officer (she/her)
Claire grew up in Nova Scotia and is passionate about intersectional climate action. She holds a bachelor's degree in Environment and Business from the University of Waterloo and is interested in all things sustainable economic development. Prior to joining EAC, Claire held several roles focused on research and engagement as a co-op student and intern. When she is not at work, Claire can be found playing hockey, hiking, or working on her most recent sewing project.
Ben Lemphers, Community Food Coordinator (he/him)
Ben is dedicated to community development that brings people together and creates conditions for people to thrive. He is currently working on Halifax’s JustFOOD Action Plan, the region’s first food security strategy. Ben has a background in community planning, and has a Master of Planning degree and a BA in Political Science. Outside work, Ben enjoys playing drums, street photography, and exploring Nova Scotia’s beautiful mountain bike trails.
More Vail, Community Food Coordinator (they/them)
More comes from a background in farming and research. They have a degree in molecular biology and, post-graduation, spent several years studying plant phylogeny and micropropagation techniques in a laboratory setting. Having worked with and for several urban farms, they hold food work close to their heart. In their role at the Ecology Action Centre, More aims to make both the means and ends of food production more accessible to the community.
Shannon Arnold, Senior Marine Program Coordinator (she/her)
Shannon's focus is on ensuring responsible fisheries management for long-term ecological and economic sustainability at the local, national, and international levels. She is the lead at the EAC on engagement in fisheries eco-certification and aquaculture policy and regulation. She has been working for nearly a decade in small scale fisheries, conservation research, and fisheries and marine policy development.
Jordy Thomson, Senior Marine Coordinator, Ecosystems (he/him)
Jordy is trained as a research scientist and studied the ecology of large marine animals around the world for fifteen years prior to shifting to policy and advocacy work. He joined the EAC Marine Team in 2018 to help ensure that Canada does its part to protect ocean ecosystems and biodiversity while supporting the sustainable use of the marine environment. He works on marine protected areas policy and implementation, coastal stewardship and citizen science related to eelgrass conservation, and supports Marine Team members on a variety of other projects.
Christina Callegari, Sustainable Seafood Coordinator (she/her)
Christina is dedicated to advancing seafood sustainability through policy changes, industry improvements and consumer education. She works as the Eastern Canada representative for SeaChoice, a partnership formed by the Ecology Action Centre, David Suzuki Foundation and Living Oceans Canada. Christina is a graduate of the Master of Marine Management program from Dalhousie University and holds an undergraduate degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Guelph. She was awarded the Marine Affairs Gold Award for her academic achievements and the skills she gained that are critical for marine management.
Simon Ryder-Burbidge, Marine Campaign Coordinator (he/him)
Simon’s work the with the EAC Marine team combines campaign development, community engagement and aquaculture policy. Simon helps to coordinate the Healthy Bays Network, a community-led organization working towards healthy marine ecosystems and sustainable coastal livelihoods in Nova Scotia. Prior to the EAC, Simon worked as a diver in B.C., and as a tree-planter, primarily in Northern Ontario. He has a graduate degree in Marine Management from Dalhousie University where his research focused on the social value of marine ecosystems, coastal planning and public participation.
Rebecca Brushett, Marine Planning and Engagement Coordinator (she/her)
Since rejoining EAC in Jan of 2020, Rebecca has focused on improving the sustainability of our fisheries in Atlantic Canada while also working with communities in the Gros Morne region to ensure sensitive marine ecosystems are protected and our marine resources are used responsibly. In 2006, Rebecca received a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University, a B.Ed. in 2011 and a Master of Arts in Environmental Policy in 2018 from MUN. In her 15-year career, Rebecca has researched zooplankton and the changes in our oceans developed hands-on educational programs and, offered recommendations to improve environmental and fisheries-related policies and programs at the Provincial and Federal level.
Sebastián Pardo, Sustainable Fisheries Coordinator (he/him)
Seb is a marine biologist from Chile with over a decade of experience studying fishes. His research has been focused on understanding the limits of exploitation among data-poor sharks and rays, and also improving our knowledge of marine survival in wild Atlantic salmon. At the EAC, he advocates for sustainable forage fisheries while also considering the social justice issues that are crucial for healthy fisheries in the long term. In his spare time, Seb can often be found birdwatching or canoeing in a remote corner of the province.
Holly Isnor, Marine Campaign Coordinator (she/her)
Holly grew up in Nova Scotia and has a passion for marine protection. She recently completed a Master of Coastal and Marine Management degree from the University of Akureyri in Iceland, where she completed her thesis on recreational shark fisheries in Nova Scotia. She also holds a BSc in Biology from Mount Saint Vincent University. Prior to this, she has worked as an Environmental Science Instructor for the Whale Camp in Grand Manan, New Brunswick.
Anika Riopel, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator (she/her)
Anika Riopel grew up in a household of bicycle enthusiasts. Since she was young, riding a bike has been a path to freedom, fun and adventure. Anika loves empowering others to ride confidently. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts and Environmental Sustainability from Dalhousie University and a culinary certificate from Sault College.
Anika also works as an administrator and occasional performer with Zuppa Theatre. She also freelances as a SCUBA instructor at Torpedo Rays Scuba Adventures with a specialization in disabled diving.
Ashleigh Boers, Making Tracks Coordinator (she/her)
Ashleigh has been using bikes as her primary mode of transport since renting one in Berlin in 2009 to see the sights. 11 years, 3 bikes and a BA in Resource and Environmental Studies later, she has travelled across continents to finally pull up at the Ecology Action Centre joining the team as Making Tracks Coordinator. Her absolute favourite thing is experiencing the change in people's confidence and skills in cycling with practice and safety education. Igniting a love for cycling and people who bike in everyone she meets; her goal is to have cycling included as a life skill taught in all schools and see more cycling in road user education.
Stephanie Johnstone-Laurette, Youth Active Transportation Coordinator (she/her)
Stephanie has been working with the Active Transportation community since 2007, through ENGOs, universities, and grassroots community groups. She has been with the EAC's Transportation team since 2010 and is intent on helping create communities that support safe, healthy, walkable & wheel-able spaces for all. Stephanie has an MSc in Environmental Management (University of London) and a BA in Philosophy (CBU). She and her family live and work on the beautiful island of Cape Breton; her not-so-secret passions are leatherback sea turtles, attempting to garden, and being outside with her super kids, Oona & Osha.
Ben Hammer, Transportation Officer (he/him)
Ever since he stumbled onto metro plans for his hometown of Ottawa late one night in high school, Ben has been fascinated at how infrastructure and geography shape people's lives. He believes that if done properly, transit and trails can provide independence, and the ability to step out of our geographic comfort zones to share experiences with people and places we might not otherwise interact with. Good transit makes our communities stronger and the world a little bit smaller. When he's not at EAC, you can find Ben knitting, working with Jewish-Indigenous solidarity projects, or developing plant-based versions of dishes traditionally full of animal products.
Simone Mutabazi, Community Cycling Activation Coordinator (she/her)
Simone holds a B.Sc. in Biology and a Master's degree in International Development Studies from Saint Mary’s University. Her research interests range from climate change to issues of informal work in the Global South. She has a strong passion for projects aimed at addressing structural inequalities, gained through travel, research and educational experiences. New to Active Transportation issues, she is excited to expand cycling opportunities and resources to underserved communities via the Pop-Up Bike Hub - a mobile DIY bike trailer.
Isabel Chavez, Active Transportation Officer (she/her)
Born and raised in Guatemala City, Isabel moved to Halifax to pursue her studies. Isabel completed her Bachelor’s degree at Saint Mary’s University, with a double major in Environmental Science and Geology. Prior to working at the EAC, Isabel has worked in academic research and customer service. As part of the transportation team, Isabel aims to promote efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly means of transportation in communities. When Isabel is not working, you will find her reading, searching for cool facts and making her family laugh.
Raymond Plourde, Senior Wilderness Coordinator (he/him)
Raymond is a long-time member of the EAC team. He has been a leading advocate for protecting natural areas throughout the province and for improving land-use practices for the benefit of biodiversity conservation. Raymond is also a nature photographer, writer, angler and dedicated nature conservationist who has served on many boards and advisory groups, including the national board of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), the Nova Scotia Salmon Association (NSSA) board and provincial Ministerial Advisory Committees on Aquaculture and Off-Highway Vehicles. When not in the office Raymond can usually be found standing waist-deep in one of Nova Scotia's salmon rivers, flinging bits of fur and feather to indifferent fish. Click here to download Raymond's media photo.
Karen McKendry, Wilderness Outreach Coordinator (she/her)
Karen spent her childhood exploring the woods and waters of Ontario and Quebec. Her passion for the environment, paired with a lot of hard work, has earned her a BSc. in Ecology, and Masters of Environmental Studies. Since moving to Nova Scotia in 2005, Karen has worked as a conservation planner and biologist and volunteered with the Young Naturalists Club. Karen has training in Wilderness and Remote First Aid, OCC Field Leader (Hiking, and Winter), and Reconnecting with Nature workshop facilitation. When not devoting herself to the EAC’s good work, she can be found in her garden, paddling, cooking up a storm, or laughing with her two wild little boys.
Mimi O'Handley, Wetlands and Water Officer (she/her)
From spending childhood weekends at her grandparents’ farm, to working in Banff National Park during the summers between school, to WWOOFing (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in Canada and abroad, and to exploring urban parks during her free time, Mimi continually finds ways to meaningfully connect with nature and engage in life-long learning. Mimi holds a Master’s Degree in Criminology; her research applies concepts from the emerging field of ‘Green’ Criminology (which studies human-caused ecological crimes and harms) and advocates for the protection of, and justice for, freshwater in Canada.
Mimi also works with the EAC’s Coastal Team on wetland issues and on rain garden initiatives and other ways to manage stormwater along Nova Scotia’s coast.