I am fortunate to have spent the past six years of my life as an activist for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Along the way, I have met many amazing individuals who have inspired me with their passion, courage, and dedication to finding solutions to our planet’s biggest issues. They have motivated me to create a site to highlight their battles, bring awareness to their initiatives, and celebrate their successes. This, I would soon realize, was just the beginning.

After participating in a few seasons of Whale Wars (the Animal Planet series documenting Sea Shepherd’s battle to stop Antarctic whaling), I was contacted by a huge number of people who had been inspired and wanted to make a difference. It was this overwhelming desire to help that sparked Backyard Activist.

Backyard Activist is a social media site for activism that will make it easy for like-minded individuals to connect, create projects, volunteer, and get involved. We want to build a global community of activists that feel empowered and supported, and provide them with a valuable tool to accomplish their goals. For more on how it works, click here.

Backyard Activist is more than a website, a group of individuals, or a project. It’s a movement. We all have the ability to make small changes in our communities — be it through volunteering or sponsoring initiatives that lead to a better world — and there is no better place to start than in your own backyard. What begins as small initiatives to improve our neighbourhoods can create ripple effects that reach far beyond their origin, resulting in healthier communities, more inspired cities, and a brighter future for our planet. We hope you’ll join us!


Shannon Mann

Our Team

Shannon Mann (Founder): Shannon has been a member of the activist community for several years having worked on environmental conservation projects around the globe. For the past six years, Shannon has been an active member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, acting as a volunteer crew member during many campaigns, ranging from anti-whaling intervention in the Antarctic to marine conservation efforts in the Galapagos to documentation of the Canadian seal hunt. Read her full bio here.

112912 hereslookinatyouKelly McCartney (Operations Director):
 Kelly attended college with a Scripps Howard Foundation scholarship and earned a BA in Journalism. She stepped from there into a lengthy and varied career as a writer, editor, project manager, and marketing consultant across a spectrum of fields. For the past 13 years, online media has occupied a large segment of Kelly’s portfolio with entries covering politics, activism, sustainable living, and music. Some of her regular outlets include Velvetpark, Shareable, and NoiseTrade. In addition to regularly volunteering her time to numerous charitable causes, Kelly has also worked with a number of non-profits, producing benefit concerts and compilation albums, and has managed tech teams and coordinated communications for the SYDA Foundation.

Jake Conroy (Creative Director): Jake has been involved in a wide range of activism since 1995. After graduating from art school in 1996, Jake’s passion for positive change led him to volunteer with and organize various campaigns on local, regional, national, and international levels. Recognizing the need for strong grassroots campaigning, Jake helped build the foundation of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) USA, one of the most successful grassroots animal rights campaigns in history. As an organizer and designer, Jake has transformed grassroots campaigns through innovative and creative forms of visual communication, including professional newsletters, brochures, web design, and merchandise.

Luke Van Horn (Web Developer): Luke has worked as a senior software engineer for mid- to large-scale companies in the financial, credit card processing, and health industries. His web development experience includes e-commerce solutions, DHTML, MVC architecture, and cloud development. Luke has also spent several years as a Sea Shepherd crew member in charge of bridge communications, security, and navigation systems. Presently, Xea Services out of Edmonton, Alberta, is building from Luke’s code to add the user experience needed to make this a fully functional site!  Thank you, Luke, and the good folks at Xea Services!!

Scott Knowles (Outreach Coordinator): 
Scott is a child of the Internet age — a true Millennial — whose grasp of social networks, new media, and digital technology is second nature. A front-line grassroots activist who has studied marketing at Capilano University and worked in various customer service capacities, Scott combines his book knowledge with his street smarts to affect change for animal rights, ocean conservation, wilderness preservation, and other environmental issues.

Contributing Members and Consultants

Anders J. Svensson (Copywriting): Anders is a full-time writer and a part-time adventurer living in Calgary, Alberta. He supports his wanderlust and wiener dog by working as a creative copywriter, lending gibberish, propaganda, and a cultivated brand of irreverence to businesses, agencies, and non-profits.

Grant Borbridge (Legal): Grant Borbridge is Vice President Investments and General Counsel of the Emergo Group of Companies, which is a global private equity investment group. In his position, Grant is a member of the Group’s Investment Committee that oversees the analysis and management of the global investment portfolio and is also co-leader of the Group’s Transactions Team.

Jadis Tillery (Social Media & Marketing): Jadis currently work as Social Media Manager for dot.talent, a digital publisher for celebrity talent. In this role she develops strategic plans for celebrities to harness the power of the social web and become value adding thought leaders in online communities.

Advisory Board