Applying the Ecosystem Services Approach in Alberta: a Panel Discussion

September 10, 2014, Calgary, AB

As part of the Under Western Skies conference at Mount Royal University, the Miistakis Institute is hosting a panel discussion on “Ecosystem Services.” Panelists will comment on how the Ecosystem Services approach is being applied to land and resource management in Alberta, and then collectively explore how we can better employ the Ecosystem Services approach in conserving Alberta’s natural capital and supporting human well-being.

Four Ecosystem Services experts will comment on this question from their unique vantage point:

  • Geneva Claessen, Deloitte;
  • Gillian Kerr, Government of Alberta;
  • Marian Weber, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures; and
  • Mark Anielski, Genuine Wealth Inc.

For more information, contact Guy Greenaway or Kim Good at Miistakis. To register for the Under Western Skies conference, visit: www.skies.mtroyal.ca


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Sign up now: private land conservation certificate through MRU

Private-Land-Conservation-flyer

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Registration now open for citizen science conference

We are pleased to announce that registration for the citizen science conference is now open! Please visit: https://tickets.mtroyal.ca/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent941.html  to register.

To view our excellent slate of speakers and the conference agenda, please visit: http://rockies.ca/citizenscience/

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Details on beaver workshop – May 29 in Priddis

Beavers in Our Landscape

A workshop on understanding and living with beavers

Please join us to share your knowledge and experiences, developed for Alberta natural resource managers, municipalities, landowners and others!

Whether you love them, hate them, want to understand them, think you need them, or want to learn how to live with them, you will find this workshop useful.  Topics include:

  • Beaver basics - Ecology, natural history, watershed connections
  • Beaver challenges - Issues, management, options and alternatives
  • Beaver case studies - How others are dealing and living with beavers
  • Beaver banter - Round table discussion on beaver messages, messaging, management issues, management options, information needs
  • Beaver next steps - Awareness messages, tool development, beaver role in watersheds, reintroductions and future management
  • Outdoor Field Trip – Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area (beaver reintroduction site, with technology use).  Please be prepared for 2.5 hours outside & 15 minute walk.

An integral part of the workshop will be discussion about challenges, concerns and values.

Attend this FREE workshops (9 am – 4:30 pm) on Thursday, May 29 – Priddis Community Centre.

Register by contacting: rachelle@rockies.ca or 403-440-8444.

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Road Watch in the Pass speaks out about Highway Wilding

Photo by Lisa B.

Photo by Lisa B.

We are thrilled to share the most recent Highway Wilding testimonial which we received from our friends Rob & Loretta with Road Watch in the Pass:

Road Watch speaks out about Highway Wilding

We would love to hear your thoughts about Highway Wilding through a simple 1-2 minute video shot with your smart phone or video camera. Please share: 1) why the Highway Wilding film is important to you and 2) your ideas or plans for addressing wildlife-vehicle collisions. You can post your video testimonial to YouTube (please email rachelle@rockies.ca when you do so) or email your video to rachelle@rockies.ca for posting.

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Announcing….draft agenda for our PPSR conference

Exploring Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR) Under a Western Sky, September 9 & 10, 2014 – Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

DRAFT Agenda

Day 1 – September 9, 2014

8:30am Welcome & Session on the PPSR Landscape

This session will provide an overview of the field of practice of PPSR which includes forms of research where the public is engaged in the scientific process such as citizen science, community-based monitoring, volunteer monitoring and participatory action research. PPSR is an emerging field of practice where a diversity of disciplines are engaging the public in science to improve knowledge of the world around us, enhance the public’s understanding of scientific process and  inform policy and management decisions. The session will provide a global overview of the practice of PPSR, including why a bi-directional model for doing science is important, examples of PPSR approaches achieving programmatic outcomes and challenges facing PPSR. In addition, regional case studies of successful programs will be presented.

  • Welcome – conference organizers
  • PPSR Overview – Jennifer Shirk, Cornell University
  • Can spring bloom times in Alberta save the government millions of dollars in fire fighting costs? – Dr. Elisabeth Beaubien, University of Alberta
  • Whose knowledge? Whose values? Citizen science, scientific citizenship and democratic engagement – Dr. Gwendolyn Blue, University of Calgary

10:00am Break & Networking

10:30am Program Design Session

This session will focus on considerations for planning, implementing and evaluating PPSR programs. PPSR programs may have multiple programmatic goals, including generating scientific information, fostering stewardship/conservation, shaping policy and/or educational learning. Depending on the program goals, practitioners need to consider the program’s model for citizen engagement, mechanisms to engage and maintain volunteers, volunteer training protocols, use of technology in data collection and dissemination, and methods to measure outcomes and programmatic impacts. A number of regional case studies will be presented that outline program frameworks for achieving specific goals, such as meeting a stated scientific goal, influencing policy decisions and/or promoting transformative learning.

  • Developing better analytical metrics for data collected by citizen scientists – Dr. Greg Breed, University of Alberta
  • Validating citizen science data: how accurately can citizens document wildlife activity along highways? – Dr. Mike Quinn, Mount Royal University
  • The Wolverine Project – Bill Abercrobie, Brian Bildson (Alberta Trappers’ Association) and Doug Manzer (Alberta Conservation Association)

12:00pm  Lunch – on your own

1:00pm Evaluation

As PPSR programming continues to dramatically grow each year, there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of these initiatives. Not only do we need to understand methods to measure the outcomes and effectiveness of individual PPSR programs, there is a growing need to assess the PPSR programmatic landscape using similar techniques so we can compare successes across PPSR programs. In this session Tina Philips (Cornell University) will provide an overview of evaluation methods from an individual program perspective and introduce efforts to develop a survey instrument to evaluate the education goals of multiple PPSR projects.

  • Articulating Conservation Outcomes for Citizen Science: Emerging practices for the 21st Century – Tina Phillips, Cornell University
  • Measuring Educational Outcomes of Citizen Science, Dr. Heidi Ballard, University of California Davis

2:00pm Break & Networking

2:30pm Policy & Citizen Science 

One of the potential outcomes of a PPSR approach is its ability to influence policy and decisions. A PPSR approach can generate critical data to support a policy or decision. It can also cultivate a group of knowledgeable citizens who advocate for a policy or decision. This session features a number of case studies where PPSR can be or has been linked to policy and decision-making.

  • Road Watch & Highway Mitigation– Tracy Lee, Miistakis Institute, Mount Royal University
  • Digital Fishers: Science-oriented Crowdsourcing and Participatory Public Policy – Dr. Rod Dobell, University of Victoria
  • [Talk title to be confirmed], Julie Vastine, Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring (ALLARM), Dickinson College

4:00pm  Day 1 Wrap-up

5-6:30 Poster Session & Reception

Day 2 – September 10, 2014

8:30am Parks and Protected Areas and PPSR

In Western Canada, parks and protected areas at federal, provincial and municipal scales are developing PPSR programs to help monitor ecosystem health and meet visitor experience programmatic goals. Presentations of PPSR programs from a diversity of parks and protected areas will be presented to share experiences and lessons learned. 

  • Visitor Experience & PPSR – Tina Barzo & Bill Hunt – Parks Canada Agency
  • Designing a Citizen Science Program for Monitoring Long Term Ecological Change in BC Parks – Pamela Wright, University of Northern British Columbia
  • The Role of PPSR in Implementation of Biodiversity Strategies – Chris Manderson, City of Calgary Parks

10:00am Break & Networking

10:30am Data Management and Technology in PPSR

The recent proliferation of PPSR programs can be partially attributed to new and emerging technology making communication, data collection and dissemination of information more fluid and accessibleData management involves databases and backups but also issues around data quality, policies, sharing, integration, and stewardship. An overview of data management will be provided along with case studies where technology has played a prominent role in the PPSR program.

  • The Zooniverse, the challenges of building an online platform for citizen science – Dr. Stuart Lynn, Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL
  • Data Stewardship in PPSR: Managing Data to Make Impact – Dr. Andrea Wiggins, Cornell University
  • Citizen Science and Technology: a Corporate Application – Ariane Bourassa, Cenovus Energy

12pm Closing Address

  • Dr. Mike Quinn, Institute for Environmental Sustainability, Mount Royal University

***Under Western Skies conference continues through Sept.12***

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Beaver workshop dates – May 15 and May 29

Beaver workshop imageDuring the first year of  our Leave It To Beavers project, the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area received over 30 inquiries from landowners and land managers regarding how to manage/live with beavers. This signaled to us a real need for sharing information on how to co-exist with beavers and using beavers as a watershed management tool. We plan to share this type of information through a workshop geared toward landowners/managers, municipal staff/politicians and watershed stewards. This workshop will provide information on:

  • the role and impact of beavers in our watersheds
  • techniques and technology (e.g., beaver deceivers) to manage and co-exist with beavers
  • beaver management choices and how those choices influence the broader landscape
  • research and case studies from other parts of North America on beaver management and reintroduction
  • [optional] field trip to Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area (beaver reintroduction site, with technology use)

An integral part of the workshop will be discussion about challenges, concerns and values.

This one-day workshop will be held on two dates from 9am-4:30pm (approximately):

May 15 – Red Deer Lake Hall  – At this workshop, we will specifically looking for your feedback and input to incorporate into subsequent workshops, since this is the first ‘beta’ version of the workshop.

May 29 – Priddis Community Centre

If you are interested in attending our inaugural workshop in the spring of 2014, please send an email to rachelle@rockies.ca and indicate which offering you wish to attend. This workshop is part of the Leave It To Beavers partnership project between Miistakis Institute, Cows and Fish, and the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area. We would like to thank Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and Shell’s FuellingChange for their support of this project. We also appreciate the workshop sponsorship generously provided by MD of Foothills #31.

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Miistakis is an Emerald Award finalist!

We are pleased to share that Miistakis has been named a finalist for an Emerald Award in the category of community group & nonprofit association. To learn more about the 34 finalists, please click here.

 

 

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ESRD investing in wildlife corridors in the Crowsnest Pass.

An article in the Crowsnest Pass Herald highlights recent land purchases by ESRD along Highway 3, at Rock Creek, to protect wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Besides representing important wildlife habitat the land purchase is also relevant to efforts by Miistakis and partners to improve wildlife and human safety along Highway 3 by working with Alberta Transportation to build an underpass and fencing to ensure safe passage for wildlife.

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Save the date: Public Participation in Scientific Research Conference

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