ACAP Staff 

Kathleen Aikens, Executive Director 

Kathleen has a deep abiding love for jumping spiders, along with most other creepy-crawlies. Kathleen began working as ACAP Cape Breton’s Executive Director in May 2021. She holds a PhD in interdisciplinary environment & sustainability studies, a MSc in Natural Resource Sciences, and a BSc Biology (from Cape Breton University). Raised in Cape Breton, Kathleen has lived in six of the ten Canadian provinces, as well as Australia and Bhutan. 


Kathleen loves exploring the forest, particularly with children (often her own). She enjoys work that allows her to collaborate with others and solve complex, pernicious, or challenging problems. 


Neila Buchanan, Finance Administrator

Neila Buchanan joined ACAP Cape Breton in October of 2006 as ACAP Cape Breton’s Finance Administrator.

Neila is responsible for all accounts receivable, accounts payable, and of course payroll.

Her work experience includes 28 years in the banking industry along with her educational background which comprises of a Fundamental Accounting Principles Degree from Cape Breton University, an Investment Funds in Canada Course, and Principles of Credit Courses from the Institute of Canadian Bankers.


These attributes have made Neila an organized and dependable employee. Neila has a true passion for the environment and has been adopting environmentally friendly practices for as long as she can remember.

Jen Cooper, Habitat Restoration Manager

Jen has a bachelor’s degree in biology and graduate certification in ecosystem restoration. She is certified in CABIN, permaculture design, watercourse alteration installation, OBBN, OSAP, and a variety of related training that weaves in through her approach to habitat restoration. She is fascinated with re-establishing our place in nature and helping humans step down from the colonial notion that we are entitled to the land. She invites us to enter back into our natural place within our local ecosystems through the various projects she works on with ACAP. 

Jen is happiest when she’s boots deep in a stream, up to her elbows in soil, or when a classroom or community group comes alive because she’s taken them deep into the layers of an ecosystem, like a forest, river, or even their own garden. Delighting in anarchy, she transcends borders by using imagination to stimulate ecological understanding, and deep science to inspire wonder and art.

As a scientist and artist, Jen’s mission is to zoom in on existing natural beauty in a way that pulls the viewer through a microscope to achieve a sense of wonder, exposing a cross section of the world they hadn’t known existed. She believes that with understanding comes stewardship. 

Meaghan Fortune, Project Coordinator 

Meaghan has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cape Breton University.

She has a passion for all things nature. Some of her interests include marine life, being out in the forest, and she is developing a love for plants and gardening.

She has a caring and friendly personality and feels most at peace when she is out in nature, whether it’s spending a day in the forest listening to the birds and studying the plants and trees or sitting in the water getting to know the aquatic animals.

Meaghan also has a deep love for all animals, having three dogs of her own. She believes that we need to take care of our environment not only for the humans, but for all animals too. She works hard every day to be environmentally friendly by taking care of our ecosystems and educating others on the importance of caring for our beautiful earth.

In her spare time Meaghan enjoys creating beach glass art, photography, and exploring our beautiful island.

Ally Chant, Trashformers Coordinator

Ally holds a Bachelor of Science with a double major in psychology and music from Dalhousie University. An avid hiker, camper, and skier, Ally prefers to be outdoors especially with her best pal Sophie, the yellow lab. Her favourite places in Cape Breton are around the Bras d’Or Lake in Ben Eoin and Big Pond.


Ally splits her time equally between hanging out in the woods, and investigating the floor of the Bras d'Or Lake. She is a hobby gardener, and lover of all animals: she was rescued by two cats and a dog,  When she must be indoors, you'll never catch her without a cup of tea in hand. She enjoys playing piano and clarinet, collecting books, reading, and knitting blankets for all her pals.

Working hard everyday to be a steward for the environment Ally is incredibly passionate about educating those around her. She works very hard to be as environmentally friendly as she can be, including regular beach cleanups and engaging with the public doing coffee houses and table discussions. 

Emma Wrathall, Trashformers Team Lead

Emma is from Glace Bay and is currently a student at Cape Breton University. She is entering into her final year of her Bachelor of Arts degree and then continuing her education to become an elementary teacher.  

With a welcoming and friendly personality, Emma loves meeting new people and trying new things. Emma is an early bird who loves sunny morning walks, living a healthy lifestyle and collecting house plants. She loves to challenge herself and is always saying yes to new adventures and opportunities.  

With 5 fur children of her own, she has a big heart and is a lover of all animals which is a big reason she is excited to work with the Trashformers this summer. She wants to spread more awareness of the real and deadly consequences that littering has on our beautiful wildlife. She will be leading the Trashformers crew for the 2021 summer season! You can catch her and the crew keeping he CBRM green and clean.

Morgan Campbell, Habitat Restoration Technician


Meet Morgan, our new Habitat Restoration Technician. Morgan is a Natural Resources graduate, a former Trashformer, and an avid tree hugger. He wishes to become a Conservation Officer to help protect the natural world that he holds dear. When not on the trails, you can find him around a campfire with good friends. Morgan is our chainsaw operator on the habitat restoration team this summer, carving digger logs and covered bank structures for brook trout habitat restoration projects