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AC CDC Staff

Sean Blaney, Executive Director and Senior Scientist
I grew up in Belleville, Ontario in a family interested in nature, especially birds. My intense early interest in birding led to eight summers of employment during high school and university in the interpretive program at Algonquin Provincial Park, where I developed a strong interest in field botany. After various biological fieldwork jobs in Ontario and a Master’s Degree studying the Comparative seed ecology of native and exotic old field plants at University of Toronto, I came to the Martimes as the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre’s Botanist in 1999. Since then I have had the privilege of travelling throughout New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island studying plants in the field, and working daily to further document the status and distribution of the region’s vascular plants, mosses and lichens.

In 2014, I became Executive Director of the AC CDC. In this position I oversee all staff and activities, do strategic planning and project development, and interact with our Board of Directors, NatureServe and NatureServe Canada and other partners. I also retain primary responsibility for the Maritimes Botany program, and serve on the COSEWIC Vascular Plants Species Specialist Committee, the National General Status of Wildlife Working Group, and the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora Recovery Team in Nova Scotia.
Burke Korol
Burke Korol, Senior Botanist / Lichenologist
I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and spent the weekends of my youth at our cabin in the boreal forest or on the prairie farms of my uncles and aunts. I began hunting and fishing at an early age and developed a serious interest in wildland ecology in my university years. I began birding and botanizing in the 1980's and have been doing so ever since. I've done fisheries, wildlife and plant fieldwork throughout western and northern Canada including Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

I have a BSc (biology) and an MSc (plant ecology), both from the University of Saskatchewan. Professionally, I've worked as an environmental consultant, for various provincial natural resource ministries and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Since 2000, I spent 10 years as an ecologist with Ontario Parks and 12 years as an Ecological Gifts Program coordinator and Species at Risk biologist in Toronto. With my endless curiosity about the natural world, I've recently been pursuing my interests in dragonflies, mosses, liverworts and lichens. I'm a big fan of iNaturalist and eBird.

John Klymko, Zoologist
I grew up in Kitchener, Ontario. From a young age I had a general interest in nature, but it wasn't until high school and the offer of a free t-shirt to participate in the Baillie Birdathon that my passion for field biology really took off. After that I devoted all my summers away from school to something biology related - naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park and a research assistant for botanical, entomological, and herpetological studies.

After completing my Master's degree in insect taxonomy I worked in environmental consulting for a few years. In 2009 I moved to the Maritimes to be the zoologist at the AC CDC. Since joining I have been the director of the Maritimes Butterfly Atlas , a citizen-science project that documents to the distribution of our butterfly species across the Maritimes. I have also conducted numerous inventories of pollinators, dragonflies and butterflies, and have participated in a variety of bird and plant studies.

Iain Crowell, Botanist / Lichenologist
I grew up in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, getting my first taste of nature as a young child running around the old-growth hemlock forests at the MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project. My affinity for the natural world led to me getting my first field biology experience with the Island Nature Trust, monitoring piping plover on the beaches of PEI. Soon after, I had the opportunity to tag along on a number of botanical surveys in PEI, and was quickly fascinated by the amazing diversity of the plants of the Maritimes.

In 2019, I graduated from Mount Allison University with a degree in Environmental Science, and since then have been busy exploring the landscapes of Nova Scotia while working most recently with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq. I love sharing my passion for plants with the public and am an active contributor on iNaturalist, which has been an invaluable tool in helping me better understand and document the plants of our region. I have always admired the AC CDC as leaders in biodiversity knowledge and conservation, and I look forward to joining the team and furthering our knowledge of the plants and lichens of the Maritimes.

James Churchill, Conservation Data Analyst / Field Biologist
Born in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, my earliest memories of childhood involve late-night frog hunts in the Kentville Ravine and attending Barred Owl banding nights with Bernard Forsythe. Following a stint chasing Gulf Coast Toads in Belize (BScH Biology, Acadia University), I fell in love with birds while helping to run a migration monitoring station, and learning to earbird in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia (Smithsonian Conservation Research Center). This led to an in-depth exploration of American Redstart off-territory movement and extra-pair fertilization success in northern Alberta (MSc Environmental Biology and Ecology, University of Alberta). Then, following an around-the-world trip, I gained extensive GIS experience through the Applied Geomatics Research Group, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and various consulting positions.

As a Conservation Data Analyst at the AC CDC (since November 2013) my main role is to maintain the CDC data system in a state that allows reliable and efficient access to highly-accurate geospatial biodiversity data for the numerous data users across the Maritime Provinces. In this role, I fulfill hundreds of annual data requests, carry out GIS projects involving geospatial analysis, mapping, programming and tool development…and squeak in some time to help design and implement bird surveys.

Charity Robicheau, Conservation Data Analyst
I am originally from Deer Lake, Newfoundland and I currently reside in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Growing up on the west coast of Newfoundland granted me endless opportunities to explore the Humber River valley and Gros Morne National Park, which fostered my love for the outdoors. Inspired by my experiences in these wondrous landscapes, I commenced my post-secondary education at Memorial University and completed a bachelor’s degree in Geography. I then pursued an Advanced Diploma in Remote Sensing from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) and discovered a passion for geomatics, specifically for spatial analyses and cartography. I gained a wealth of knowledge and experience while employed by the University of New Brunswick and the Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG), where I was able to further develop my skills in geomatics, specifically through field work. While working with AGRG, I completed a Master of Science in Applied Geomatics from Acadia University.

Since starting with the AC CDC in June of 2019 as a Conservation Data Analyst, I have worked on a variety of projects including species distribution modelling and suitability modelling for species at risk. I also complete data requests, develop scripts to support data management processes, aid with database maintenance and carry out a variety of GIS-related tasks.

Jocelyn Pender, Conservation Data Analyst
My love of the natural world comes from my humanity. Who can say after spending time in a meadow or forest that their spirits are not lifted?! To acknowledge the joy that our planet's biodiversity affords me, I use my data and informatics skills to support biodiversity conservation through my work at the AC CDC.

I kicked off my interdisciplinary career with a B.Sc. in Environmental Science, specialization in Biodiversity and Conservation. Subsequently, with Dr. Julian Starr as my supervisor, I explored the evolutionary past of North American sedges to earn an M.Sc. in Bioinformatics. My employment background includes a stint as a Data Analyst at a tech start-up, where I mastered the art of a quick data request turnaround time. At Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, I helped to build a web platform to house the Flora of North America.

I joined the AC CDC in the summer of 2021 as a Conservation Data Analyst. Since then, I’ve responded to requests for AC CDC data, prepared datasets for load into our database, and begun work on several workflow optimization projects. I love writing high-quality documentation, automating workflows, improving internal data standards, and establishing good communications channels with our clients and data providers. In addition, I enjoy building spatial models like species distribution models.

Adam Durocher, Data Manager (NL)
I grew up in Belle River, Ontario with an intense love of maps from as far back as I can remember. Drawing maps, fantasizing about visiting the islands, points and peninsulas I would note, and a never-ending appetite to learn about far-off places led me to develop a love for Geography and History that would then lead me into my BSc Physical Geography Degree at the University of Windsor. It was at the University of Windsor that I would discover Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and find the course that I wanted my life to take.

After complimenting my university education by attaining an advanced diploma in GIS from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, I accepted the Assistant Data Manager position with the AC CDC at their satellite office in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador in 2008. During the several years I have been with the AC CDC in Newfoundland and Labrador, I have now moved up to Data Manager through handling incoming data requests, data entry, database maintenance and providing GIS and database help to my colleagues within our office at the Wildlife Division. Much of this is only possible because of the database management and biological knowledge I have additionally gained during my time here in Corner Brook with the AC CDC.
Jean Breau
Jean Breau, Financial Manager and Executive Assistant
I grew up in Memramcook, New Brunswick where I presently live with my family.  My parents built their home on part of the 180 acres of farm and woodland that belonged to my grandparents.  This was my playground as a child.

My entrepreneurial father had some influence on my decision to pursue a career in Business.  After my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, I obtained my Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Université de Moncton.  In 1995, I relocated to Southern Ontario where I worked for different companies that allowed me to develop a broad set of knowledge that is now very valuable in my current position.  In 2007, the lure of the Maritime way of life, the peaceful scenery, and a need to reconnect with family brought me back to New Brunswick.

Since September 2014, I have been working at AC CDC as the Financial Manager and Executive Assistant.  I look forward to the challenges ahead and enjoy working with the outstanding staff.  Their passion for nature allows me to reconnect with my childhood roots.