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SAM's Board of Directors and Staff

Board of Directors

SAM's Board of Directors is composed of 7 representatives: 4 Directors are volunteers elected from our SAM Member Communities (one of whom is elected as Chair of the Board) to manage the administrative and financial affairs of the corporation. These directors commit to two years of dedication, including attending SAM's biannual Business Meetings (travel included), and approximately two conference calls per year. There are 3 Ex-officio (non-voting) Directors to support SAM in a resource capacity; SAM's Executive Director, the NL Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Program Coordinator with the Wildlife Division, Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, and the Past Chair of the Board. Together, SAM's Board of Directors work with staff to implement SAM's Mission and Vision and to accomplish their yearly workplan.

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Pat Woodford

Director & Board Chair

Patrick Woodford is a retired Air Traffic Controller, and enjoys using his spare time to get out into the woods and wetlands in central NL.

In 2017, Pat was elected councillor with the Gander Town Council. He volunteered to be on the SAM Executive in hopes to represent the Town of Gander with new ideas and a fresh approach. Pat considered it an honour to be a part of the SAM community, and looked forward to learning more about what we can do to protect our wetlands and rebuild those which we have destroyed.

Pat's personal interests include volunteering, camping, sports of all kinds, hiking and walks in the country.

Pat was elected SAM Secretary at the 2017 SAM Fall Meeting hosted by the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, and he was re-elected to the Board of Directors (as President) at the 2019 SAM Fall Meeting hosted by the Town of Gander. Pat was acclaimed to the Board of Directors once again at the 2021 Fall Meeting in the Town of Deer Lake (elected as President). When the Board of Directors was established in 2022, they underwent some restructuring, with Pat now the Chair of the Board.

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Julie Pomeroy


Julie Pomeroy is the Heritage Program and Services Coordinator for the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. After many years as an active participant in SAM, she was elected to the Board of Directors during the Spring 2020 AGM, hosted virtually due to the COVID-19 Pandemic (initially elected to the position of Vice President).


Frank Deering


Frank Deering was elected to the Bay Roberts Town Council in 2017. In 2021 he retired after 35 years of management in a glass business.

In the Fall of 2021, Frank attended his first SAM Meeting in the Town of Deer Lake. He found the SAM Organization very interesting and has continued to attend SAM Meetings on behalf of the Town of Bay Roberts ever since. Frank has been a strong supporter of SAM over the years, and looks forward to working on the Board of Directors to continue to promote habitat conservation across Newfoundland and Labrador.

In his free time, Frank enjoys all sports, gardening, the outdoors and spending time with his family.

Frank Deering was elected to the Board of Directors at the 2023 SAM AGM hosted by the Town of Port au Choix.

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Darren Sheppard


Darren has been the Executive Director of the community-based, environmental non-profit, Indian Bay Ecosystem Corporation (IBEC) since 2018, where he oversees day to day operations for the Corporation.

He is the Host, Co-Creator, and Co-Producer of 709 Watershed, an environmental, political, tourism, and business-focused monthly podcast, that is available on all major podcast apps. It is currently into its 4th season with close to 40 episodes.

He is a former educator and public servant, who has degrees from Acadia University (Bachelor of Arts – Political Science/History) and Memorial University of Newfoundland (Bachelor of Education – Intermediate/Secondary), and a diploma from Keyin College (Human Resource Management). He volunteers with several local groups, including Ducks Unlimited Canada – Bonavista North Chapter, The Shore Tourism Committee, Kittiwake Snowmobile Association, Indian Bay ATV Association, is co-chair of the 2nd Annual ENGO Conference (2023), and has been an active member of SAM, representing the Town of Indian Bay, for over three years.

Darren accepted the position on the Board at the 2021 SAM Fall meeting hosted by the Town of Deer Lake (initially elected as SAM Secretary).


Jonathan Sharpe

Ex-Officio, NL Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Program Coordinator

Jonathan Sharpe is a member of the SAM Board of Directors in a technical/advisory capacity in terms of his partnering role as NL Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Program Coordinator with the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Division, Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture. Jon has been acting in this capacity since 2007 in support of SAM's mission and objectives.


​​Zach Burrows

Ex-Officio, SAM Executive Director

Joining the SAM in 2021 as a Conservation Biologist, Zach Burrows has served as the Executive Director for the organization since 2022. After receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with specialization in history from the University of Ottawa, Zach started in the environmental industry as a Red-Seal Certified Landscape Horticulturist, and later acquired a Fish and Wildlife technician diploma from the College of the North Atlantic. From the rugged coastline of the Avalon Peninsula, the rocky tablelands of Newfoundland’s west coast to the sandy shores of Nova Scotia, Zach has practiced conservation across Newfoundland and throughout Atlantic Canada for a myriad of species and their habitat. With his wife, son, and daughter, Zach has rooted himself on the Rock and is dedicated to helping the leaders of this province in their conservation efforts.


SAM contractually has four paid staff members - an Executive Director, an Outreach Coordinator, and two Conservation Biologists.

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Karleena Squires

Outreach Coordinator

Growing up in St. John’s, NL, Karleena knew that she wanted to work in environmental conservation, protecting the beautiful island that she called home. She completed her Marine Environmental Technology Diploma through the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Newfoundland and Labrador, and followed that up with her Bachelor of Technology Degree through Memorial University. Since graduating, Karleena has worked with various environmental organizations in a variety of positions, and volunteers in her free time with Girl Guides of Canada. Karleena's background in environmental outreach and education led her to her role as Outreach Coordinator for SAM, working on developing educational content related to wildlife and habitat conservation and stewardship. In her free time she loves to hike the many beautiful trails in our province, explore new places while camping, and other outdoor activities.


Ashley Locke

Conservation Biologist

Growing up in the Town of Meadows on the West Coast of Newfoundland, Ashley has spent a lot of her childhood enjoying outdoor activities like snowshoeing, camping, fishing, and hiking. This experience and her interest in science led her to complete a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Biology at the MUN Grenfell Campus. When she completed her degree, she decided she wanted to go back to school to pursue a career in conservation. In 2020 she started the Master of Environmental Science program at MUN, completing it in 2022. Over the summer of 2021 she worked as a co-op student with the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) where she gained work experience with bird monitoring within the province. In her free time besides enjoying the great outdoors, Ashley enjoys watching documentaries, spending time with her pets and painting wildflowers and landscapes.


Sam Zabudsky

Conservation Biologist

Originally from Ontario, Sam grew up spending time with her family in Northern Ontario hiking, fishing and boating. After moving to Ottawa to complete an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biology and Geology, Sam spent her summers conducting fish community assessments in the Great Lakes, which led to an interest in fieldwork and marine ecosystems. She worked with various environmental organizations before returning to school for her Master of Science in Fisheries Science and Technology, this time at the Marine Institute of Memorial University. Here, she has been lucky to discover Newfoundland's uniqueness and natural spaces and has been exploring as much as possible. In her free time, Sam loves hiking the east coast trail with her dog Nelson, reading, and travelling.

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