Mi'kmaw Conservation Group

MCG Staff

Don JulienDr. Donald M. Julien

Executive Director
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Dr. Donald M. Julien is the Executive Director of The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, a position he has held since 1994. Under his leadership, The CMM has grown its programs and services for its member bands through sound management and a meaningful vision for the future.

Dr. Julien’s dedication to the preservation of Mi’kmaw history is evident in everything he does–in his presentations, writings and his passion for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre Project. Recognition of his efforts and leadership has come in many ways, including the Order of Canada, 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth, his numerous Honorary Doctorates from Acadia and Mount Saint Vincent Universities as well as the Order of Nova Scotia in 2004.

For more information on Dr. Julien, visit: CMM’s website

Angie Gillis

Senior Director
The Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Angeline Gillis, B.A., LL.B., was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia and was raised in East Bay, N.S.  She is a member of the Eskasoni First Nation and is the granddaughter of the late Andrew J. Stevens, a former Keptin of the Sante’ Mawi’omi. Angeline currently resides in Beaverbank, NS, with her wife, Sonja and daughter, Ella Sophia.

Angeline earned her undergraduate degree from Dalhousie University in 2005 and her LL.B from the Schulich School of Law (formerly Dalhousie Law School) in 2009. After completing her articling with Boyne Clarke Barristers and Solicitors, she was called to the Bar in June 2010. She then went on to become a Senior Wills & Estates Planner with Scotia Private Client Group.

Angeline has continued as a practicing lawyer and has worked with The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) since October 2011. In 2012, she became the Manager of the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group (MCG) and upon successfully growing the program became the Director of MCG and Mi’kmawey Forestry in 2013 – overseeing numerous Environment and Natural Resources files, projects and services offered to seven (7) Mi’kmaw communities in Mainland Nova Scotia.

Sana Kavanagh

Senior Fisheries Research Advisor
The Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Sana is from Cape Breton and has recently moved to the Truro area.  Sana has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology (2005).  She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Environmental Studies and her thesis is on Mi’kmaq traditional ecological knowledge of eels.

Sana’s past employment was as a research assistant for the Integrative Science Program at Cape Breton University involved in bringing together Aboriginal science and Western science.  She helped with research projects and educational activities related to health, environment, and science education.  Sana enjoys working with youth, and in the past co-organized a summer camp for Mi’kmaq youth with science and cultural activities involving Elders, community members and scientists.  Sana also has scientific research experience on local fish species, fresh-water mollusks and species at risk.

As The MCG Research and Education Officer, Sana initiates research activities in collaboration with First Nations, Government agencies, academia and the private sector.  She also develops and updates plans for capacity building within the First Nations targeting youth initiatives by connecting Elders and other resource people to enhance participation in collaborative management.  Sana is also developing proposals for youth initiatives at the community level and public school levels, and assists the Manager with the development and implementation of multi-year MCG initiatives. She is also doing extensive work with Species at Risk such as:  Atlantic Salmon, American Eel, and Striped Bass.

Kate Nelson

Mi’kmawey Green Communities, Project Manager 
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Kate is from Pictou County and after travelling and working for several years across Canada, she made her way home where she lives with her family, which includes a saucy puggle named Penny.

Kate has over 10 years’ experience in the non-profit sector and is happy to be part of the CMM family.

Kate started with CMM as the MCG Communications Officer and is now excited to be leading the Mi’kmawey Green Communities Program.

Mi’kmawey Green Communities Program is an exciting new initiative funded by INAC that serves to address solid waste management challenges in Mi’kmaw Communities. This program began in November of 2016. In the first phase, the team conducted needs assessments and awareness workshops.  The second phase (2017-2018) will see the team put into motion some of the great ideas that they heard from leadership and community members.

If you want more information about this program please get in touch with Kate at KNelson@mikmawconservation.ca or 1-902-895-6385.


Adam-ProfessionalAdam Sherry

GIS Technician
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Adam Sherry is the newest employee to join the team at the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group. He has been hired as a GIS Technician and will be working to build and maintain a GIS database for the Bay of Fundy Watershed area.   Adam will also be working with the MCG Research and Education Officers in producing a report on research that identifies watershed factors that affect aquatic resources habitat quality.

Adam obtained his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Geology, from Saint Mary’s University in 2004. He then went on to complete an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems at the Centre of Geographic Sciences, Lawrencetown, in 2005. Since that time, Adam has worked in the field in various capacities, from geological field assistant with the Department of Natural Resources to GIS Specialist in the private sector. Adam also worked  in the area of mineral exploration as a GIS Specialist with Acadian Mining Corporation.

Adam lives in Truro, Nova Scotia with his wife, Dawn, their two children, Brandon and Calvin and the two family dogs.

Adam provides mapping and GIS expertise for all the projects at MCG as well as leading the Barriers to Atlantic Salmon Migration Project.

Kathy McKennaKathryn McKenna

Office Data Entry Clerk
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Kathryn was born and raised in the Truro area and still resides there with her husband and two children. She has a technical degree in Animal Science and a diploma in Office Administration. She has been hired as the MCG Office Data Entry Clerk.

As the Office Data Entry Clerk, Kathryn will be assisting the MCG Commercial Fisheries Liaison Coordinator with developing a successful commercial fishing gear tagging business. She will mainly act as a commercial fishing tag order administrator. She will also work with and compile a variety of commercial fishing data and perform other tasks such as marketing, invoicing and updating databases.

img_6362-copyAlanna Syliboy

DENR Community Liaison Officer
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq
Alanna is from the Sipekne’katik First Nation. She is the proud mother of two children, Mia , and Dominck. She is the daughter of Bernie Syliboy and the late Audrey Syliboy.  Alanna is an avid baseball player (center-field) and is a dedicated team player. She has attended the last four Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games with the Sipekne’katik team. In her free time Alanna loves to spend time with her family and friends. She also loves to be creative and does bead work. In the summer, you may find Alanna at one of the many pow wows around Mi’kma’ki.

Alanna is responsible for coordinating MCG community outreach and has organized  several successful events and activities including the very popular Fish Friends at the LSK school in Sipekne’katik. Alanna was also part of the Climate Change team and has been a versatile and valuable part of the MCG team, helping out when and where needed.  She will also be coordinating the communications for a Solid Waste Management Project. Alanna looks forward to many more events and activities as MCG continues its outreach, youth mentorship and education initiatives.

alyxAlyx MacDonald

Research and Education Officer 
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Alyx MacDonald is from Fort Ellis, Nova Scotia. He attended Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Campus, where he received a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Applied Science with a specialization in Environmental Science. (2014). He has been working with the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group since October of 2014 as an assistant. In April of 2016 Alyx became a Research and Education Officer.

Alyx has worked on a variety of  projects since joining MCG. These projects have included: Digger log installation and stream restoration, tree planting, Atlantic salmon surveys, Species at Risk conservation, water quality monitoring, trail development, and many other environmental projects. He is currently working on several stream and river restoration projects as well as implementing community conservation plans.

dsc_0013Taylor Mason

Research and Education Officer 
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Growing up in Prince Edward Island, Taylor developed an interest in coastal and freshwater resources early in her lifetime. She holds an undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Aquatic Resources and Public Policy and Social Research and has recently earned a Masters of Marine Management from Dalhousie University. Throughout her education, she has gained knowledge of scientific research methodologies applicable to oceans and freshwater environments as well as an understanding of community challenges and opportunities related to aquatic resource management. Given the interdisciplinary nature of her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she has gained a holistic approach to environmental conservation and aquatic ecosystem management.
Taylor has professional experience in offshore resource management and fieldwork experience in wetland, stream and lake water quality analysis.
She has worked in a variety of regions, with one of her most recent positions being with the Qikqtani Inuit Association in Iqualuit, Nunavut as part of her Master’s degree. As a lands and Resources Intern, she worked to assess Inuit participation in policy development for offshore oil and gas in Nunavut, providing her with an understanding of political decision-making processes and Inuit influence in natural resource management in the North. Through this experience, she gained a passion for the mobilization of local community and Aboriginal knowledge in the management of aquatic, coastal or offshore environments.

Taylor is extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to work with the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group, and she hopes to support MCG furthering its purpose of promoting sustainability and restoring the concept of Netukulimk within local watersheds. In particular she will be focusing on the Clean Water -Healthy Food initiative that looks at the changes in watersheds due to increased agricultural activity and runoff. This project focuses on the Jijuktu’kwejk (Cornwallis) River in the Annapolis Valley and the Little River in New Brunswick.

jacob-marshall-2016_03_30Jacob Marshall

Fisheries Biologist / Technologist
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Jacob is from Dartmouth NS, and earned his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology from NSCC in 2014. He then went on to complete his Advanced Diploma in Oceans Technology from NSCC in 2015.

Jacob has had a wide range of experiences both through his work and education. He has worked for the Canadian Forces as a Combat Engineer Army Reservist since 2010. In 2015 he worked as an intern at Defense Research and Development Canada Atlantic in their marine asset Protection group.

Jacob is working with MCG to help monitor the Atlantic Sturgeon in the Petitcodiac River and Estuary/Shepody Bay. The goal of this project is to use a DIDSON (Dual Identification Sonar) to collect data that will contribute information on Atlantic sturgeon presence and Habitat use in the Petitcodiac River and Estuary/Shepody Bay.  Jacob brings his sonar expertise to this project.

dsc_0025Jillian Arany

Fisheries Biologist
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Originally from Barrhaven, Ontario, Jillian earned her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Environmental Science and Certificate in Environmental Impact Assessment from Dalhousie University in 2013, and is currently in the process of completing her Masters of Biology at Acadia University. Her Master’s thesis is focused on determining if fish movement is impacted by the placement of an aquatic culvert.

Jillian has a love of the outdoors and grew up travelling and camping every summer. These experiences at a young age are what fostered
Her love for marine life (especially marine mammals) and the environment. During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Jillian worked in St. John’s, Newfoundland with Environment Canada as a Marine Issues Biologist field assistant. She worked with marine sea birds including Atlantic Puffins, Murres, Gannets, Storm Petrels, Herring Gulls, and Greater Black-Backed Gulls. The work was focused in Dartmouth, NS with Environment Canada as a Species at Risk Biologist field assistant. Her work focused on Species at Risk Birds in NS, including Terns and Piping Plovers and their recovery plans. During the summers of 2014 and 2015, Jillian devotes lots of time towards her marathon training, her health and fitness business, volunteering at the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, traveling, and any outdoor related activity. She and her boyfriend currently have two pets, a cat named Oscar and a dog named GP.

Jillian will be working on the Clean Water – Healthy Food project that focuses on the Jijuktu’kwejk (Cornwallis) River in the Annapolis Valley and the Little River in New Brunswick as well as other MCG initiatives.

Amanda Fancy

DENR Communications Officer
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Amanda was born and raised in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Here, she developed an interest in sports such as running, basketball, track and field and horseback riding. Amanda currently owns two horses of her own,  Phebe and Gracie. She competes in equestrian shows during the summer and enjoys going on trail rides while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.

Amanda currently holds a degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in Public Relations. Her education has allowed her the opportunity to travel across Canada while completing work terms for her degree.  She has had the chance to work in various places such as Fort McMurray, Antigonish, Chester and now Truro. All of these experiences have helped her gain knowledge of adapting communication styles to suit various audiences, interpersonal and organizational communications at all levels but most importantly understanding the importance of proper, well executed communication with publics. Some of the organizations Amanda has worked include, the Canadian Red Cross, Chester Municipal Chamber of Commerce, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority.

As the DENR Communications Officer, Amanda is responsible for communicating with Mi’kmaq community members, leadership and partners. She also prepares promotional materials, social media posts and updates the website.

Amanda is extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to work with the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group, and is looking forward to working with the different departments and helping to improve the environment and its ecosystem one project at a time.

Alannah Hunt

MCG Project Manager
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Alannah was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario where she spent her summers exploring the backcountry of Algonquin Park and Northern Ontario. When deciding on a career path, Alannah wanted to choose something that would allow her to be an advocate for the environment. She spent six years in Corner Brook, Newfoundland where she attended Memorial University and completed a B.A in Environmental Studies with a focus on Environmental Education. Upon completion of her degree, Alannah went on to work in the field of Outdoor and Environmental Education as an Outdoor Education and Research Coordinator. Alannah then decided to pursue more hands on experience in the field of Environmental Science and Project Management; in 2013 Alannah graduated from Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario with a post graduate diploma in Ecosystem Management Technology. Alannah moved to Nova Scotia in May of 2013 and now lives in Shubenacadie with her young family and two dogs.

Alannah started with the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group in 2014 as a Research and Education Officer where she planned and facilitated various environmental restoration projects and community outreach activities within the six (6) MCG member communities in Mainland Nova Scotia. Now, as the MCG Project Manager, she is responsible for overseeing the success of the Aboriginal Aquatics Resource and Oceans Management Program and its associated projects that are facilitated by MCG staff.

Alannah’s career goals are strongly rooted in her belief that knowledge is power; when you provide people with information about their natural environment and their role within in it, you provide them with the tools to drive positive change.

Michael Benson

Climate Action Program Coordinator
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Michael is from Quispamsis New Brunswick, and a proud graduate from St. Francis Xavier University where he received his double major bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Resource Management & Public Policy Social Research (2014).

Before joining the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group Michael has worked on water management projects in Central America, reforestation projects in New Brunswick and more recently at the head of a sustainability start-up firm in Halifax.

As the Climate Action Program Coordinator, Michael is enthusiastic about working with community stakeholders to help mitigate some of the many issues presented by our changing climate.

Joe Beland

Fisheries Biologist
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

From a young age growing up in Durham, New Hampshire, Joe Beland loved the great outdoors. Living on marshlands, Joe spent his youth in search of turtles, horseshoe crabs and clams.

He continued to follow his passion while earning his Marine Affairs degree from the University of Miami, FL. His undergrad took him from offshore New England, researching gillnet catch sizes, to the Galapagos, learning about community based conservation and the complex issues facing the region.

Joe then came to Canada, to attend Dalhousie University and earn his Masters of Marine Management degree. There he would meet his future wife, and they eventually settled down in Dartmouth. This is where in his spare time, Joe and his wife help run a dog rescue that works closely with Sipekne’katik First Nation.

Prior to working with CMM; Joe worked nearly 10 years as a Marine Mammal Biologist with LGL Ltd. He focused mainly on the offshore environment, supporting environmental assessments and monitoring work. HIs work with LGL took him to the US and Canadian Artic regions where he worked t0 help gather local indigenous knowledge. One of the highlights of his time at LGL was spending a month camping along the Chuitna River (Alaska) to investigate the effects of a potential pebble mine on the local salmon population.

He very much looks forward to working at CMM to advance conservation of fisheries work in his home province.

Jeff Reader

AFSAR Project Coordinator
Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Jeff was born and raised near Peterborough, ON.  Growing up, when not kicking a soccer ball around, he could be found exploring the fields and streams that surrounded his home and his grandparents’ farm in Otonabee Township.  Still, it was the many enjoyable summers that he spent fishing with his father on Chemong Lake that spawned his keen interest in fish biology.  Like most avid anglers, conservation was a value instilled him by his parents and teachers, and to this day aquatic ecosystem protection is still a foremost passion for him.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree (Biology) from Trent University and a Master of Science degree (Biology) from Acadia University.  His M.Sc. research, in cooperation with First Nations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec, focused on the ecology and management of Atlantic salmon and included the development of stock identification methods to foster analyses and inferences about their ocean migrations in the North Atlantic.

Jeff has ten years of professional experience in interdisciplinary water resources science, engineering, management, and law and policy.  He has worked in a variety of regions across Canada and the United States for both government and non-profit organizations including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, University of Idaho, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.  A central theme throughout his career has been his involvement in the assessment and monitoring of stressors and threats to aquatic biodiversity such as habitat alteration, invasive species, climate change, and environmental degradation.

As the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group (MCG) Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) Project Coordinator, Jeff is responsible for overseeing and coordinating all activities under MCG’s “Inner Bay Of Fundy Atlantic Salmon Monitoring and Species-at-Risk Stewardship with Mainland Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Communities” project.  The recovery of species at risk in Canada depends upon significant collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and organizations for the development and implementation of the Species at Risk Act. To this end, Jeff is excited for the opportunity to work with The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq and the MCG to proactively promote and assist Mi’kmaw communities in strengthening capacity to meaningfully participate in stewardship practices that preserve, restore, and enhance species at risk and the habitats critical for their resilience.

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