Board Members

Soren Bondrup-Nielsen (Acting Chair): 2017


Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, Author and Professor Emeritus, retired from Acadia University July, 2016 Received BSc from Guelph University 1974, MSc (Zoology) from the University of Toronto 1978 and PhD from University of Alberta 1984. He spent five years at the University of Oslo as a research scientist and lecturer 1984 to 1989, followed by brief engagement as a bear biologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Ontario. From 1989 to 2016 he was a professor of Biology at Acadia University, with main teaching duties being in Wildlife Management, Methods in Ecology, and Conservation Biology.He is author/publisher of numerous scientific papers and five non-fiction books including “Merging: Contemplations on ecology and farming from horseback,” Gaspereau Press, 2014.

Mary Manning (Treasurer): 2017

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Mary, a resident of Sable River, N.S., is actively retired after 27 years as an educator. She graduated from Memorial University. Her passion for life-long learning led to her completing a Masters of Special Education from Acadia, a Masters of Critical Literacy from MSVU, and a Masters of Leadership from MSVU. Pursuing an interest in the environment, she started an Environment Club at the Shelburne high school. While Principal in Shelburne, Mary also promoted responsibility for social justice with the students. Through work with Me to We students were encouraged to engage in both local and global projects to "Be the Change.” Mary is currently a board member of The Shelburne Reenactment Association, the Shelburne County Beach Stewardship, the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association, and volunteers as a Friend of Piping Plover helping to monitor local beaches.

Doug Brown (Board Member): 2019

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Doug Brown is the owner and baker at Oakhaven Bakery as well as chief mechanic/salesman at Oakhaven Bike Barn. He is a long-time local and organic food advocate and bicycle enthusiast.

Dirk van Loon (Board Member): 2007

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Dirk graduated from Cornell in 1962 (BSc wildlife management) and has lived in Sandy Bay E. Port L’Hebert since 1970, having emigrated from the U.S. following a stint in the Peace Corps (Colombia) and work as a reporter on daily newspapers in Missouri and Colorado. Once here he published how-to books (Garden Way Publishing) about raising milk cows and pigs, and in 1976 launched DvL Publishing Inc. (Rural Delivery and other periodicals) . He and former wife Anne were behind establishment of the Hank Snow Museum and the Port Joli Basin Conservation Society  (c.1991) and the Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre in 2007

Scott Christian (Board Member): 2019


Scott is passionate about the many ways that laws, policies, social systems and civil society interact to bolster or undermine community well-being. Professionally, he runs a consulting firm helping organizations to generate, understand and use data. In his spare time Scott loves to play music, go camping, hiking and swimming.

Port Joli is one of his favorite places in the world which is why he has committed some of his time and energy as a member of the HLC board.

Jamie Simpson (Board Member): 2018

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Jamie Simpson is a forester, lawyer, teacher and writer with a passion for exploring our natural world (and sometimes eating it).  He is the author of Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide to Forest Stewardship for Woodlot Owners in Eastern Canada, and Journeys through Eastern Old-growth Forests.  Jamie has received several awards for his conservation work, including the Elizabeth May Award for Environmental Service, the Environmental Law Prize from Dalhousie University, and the Honour in the Woods Award from the Nova Scotia Environmental Network.  Jamie runs a small general and environmental law practice and teaches environmental law at Dalhousie University.  When he has time Jamie loves to paddle a canoe, climb rocks and dig in his garden.

Doug van Hemessen (Board Member): 2015

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Doug is the Stewardship Coordinator for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Nova Scotia.  He is originally from London, Ontario and holds a BSc. in Physical Geography from Trent University.  He has worked with a variety of conservation programs, from the local to the national level, for over 25 years.  He briefly worked as the live-in manager of a non-profit retreat centre in the Beaver Valley, Ontario.  He has been a volunteer board member for several local organizations over the course of his career and locations.

Gabrielle Beaulieu (Board Member): 2019


Gabrielle grew up in Newfoundland and spent a lot of time rock-hopping along Quidi Vidi’s shoreline looking for mussels and sea-stars, all-the-while filling her pockets with wild blueberries. She obtained her BSc from Memorial University with a focus on Marine Biology and completed her MSc at Dalhousie University in Animal Behaviour. Gabrielle has over 12 years of experience working in ecological conservation, citizen science, and species-at-risk initiatives with various NGOs and municipal, provincial, and federal departments in Quebec and each of the Atlantic provinces. She is passionate about youth leadership and citizen empowerment for conservation action, and is currently working for Parks Canada managing the Coastal Restoration Project at Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct.