Alan's academic background is in Biology and Adult Education. His research interests have included the behavioural ecology of Harbour Porpoises and the distribution and abundance of Ontario's trees. He presently supervises the Ontario Tree Atlas Project and Elm Recovery Project based at The Arboretum and is actively involved in sustainable tourism from both the practitioner and researcher sides. Alan has led whale and seabird tours of the north shore of the St. Lawrence, natural history tours in Costa Rica, the Lesser Antilles and the Galapagos, as well as birding tours in southern Ontario during the spring migration and Trinidad & Tobago. Alan has been an advisor with the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society's in the development of an eco-tourism strategy.
Alan sat on a number of committees related to both education and the environment including: Landscape Advisory Committee of the University of Guelph, Board of Directors of the Canadian Botanic Conservation Network, Board of Directors of the Gosling Foundation, and the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome. He was also a founding member of the Guelph Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Alan has received the "Richards Education Award" from the Federation of Ontario Naturalists in recognition of an exceptional contribution in natural history education.