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Dylan Yates President and Founder

After graduating with a diploma in Natural Resource Environmental Technology from NSCC, Dylan attended Cape Breton University graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Environmental Studies.


He has spent the last several years volunteering and working with various environmental organizations throughout Canada, including Cape Breton Environmental Association, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources, Sea Change Canada, Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the Nova Scotia Environmental Network. 

In 2021 Divert Nova Scotia presented Dylan with a Mobius Awards of Environmental Excellence. Dylan was recognized as an environmental champion under the age of 30 who goes above and beyond with environmental efforts in the community.

As a volunteer he has spent the past several years tackling littering, and illegal dumping within the CBRM; as well as abandoned lost and discarded fishing gear otherwise known as ghost gear spearheading many environmental initiatives.

He produced a documentary about marine debris in Atlantic Canada!

You can watch the full documentary here:


Samantha Mackenzie Vice President


Sam returned home to lay down some roots a couple of years ago and since then she’s been quite busy in the community.

She’s very passionate about her career in nursing, with a focus in holistic care.

With a background in forestry and farming she understands the intrinsic connection between the our health and nature.

Sam’s future goal is to one day have a retreat centre on a farm where people can pause, connect and replenish.

Until then you can find her on her days off out exploring beautiful Cape Breton trails!


Megan Steeves has served as our secretary since 2016 and we couldn’t be happier.

Megan is currently in school and working part-time. She is a New Brunswick native but has lived in Cape Breton for 8 years. She fell in love with it’s vast terrain and beauty.

She is passionate about nature and loves hiking.

“It is important to clean up this beautiful island and I'm proud to be part of a such a awesome group, CBEA” - Megan Steeves


Jessica MacSween is a Professional Biologist and has several degrees in Environmental Science. She currently works as an Environmental Scientist where she is responsible for the cleanup of contaminated sites.

She also has worked for Cape Breton Highlands National Park on projects related to water quality and fish health, as well as forest and wetland ecosystem health.

Her passion for the environment started at a young age while living in Marion Bridge playing in streams and the forest; throughout the years she has dedicated her time to working in the environmental sector and teaching youth about the importance of stream ecosystems and clean water.

Jessica has also been the chair of our science committee for the past two years and has been vital for our free workshops with youth.


Danielle Casagrande has been volunteering with CBEA since 2018 and recently decided to join our board of directors!

When she’s not crocheting, Danielle can be found outside exploring the many trails and waterfalls that our island boasts.

Her passion for the environment stems from her love of the outdoors and taking care of the beautiful place we get to call home. She currently works in Community Economic Development and is actively working towards her MBA as well as expanding upon her crochet business


Rachael Murphy has enjoyed volunteering with CBEA since 2018, including time as the Fundraising Committee Chair and of course her time on the Board of Directors.

Rachael's second home is the theatre, and she spends a lot of her time teaching after-school drama to children, and scurrying behind the scenes.

When she isn't at work she can be found enjoying her rekindled love of reading, waiting for the warmer months to get back out cleaning up again. She is looking forward to spending time with a wonderful group of people with a passion for improving the planet.


Shealyn Varnes is an actor, facilitator and vendor coordinator from North Sydney, Unama'ki.

She loves spending time outdoors, whether it's walking her dog Odie, hiking, swimming, camping, or skiing.

She is a zero waste advocate and believes deeply in projects that give back to her community and the environment, so she's looking forward to becoming further involved with the Cape Breton Environmental Association as a board member!

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