Executive Director's Message
The past couple of months have been busy for travel to some pretty interesting conferences. Tracy and I traveled to San Jose to attend the inaugural Citizen Science Association Conference. The meeting brought together over 650 citizen science practitioners for two days of intense, enlightening and stimulating insights and conversations covering topics ranging from tackling grand challenges, research and evaluation, best practices, education and life-long learning to digital opportunities and challenges. Miistakis presented two posters including one highlighting our Wild Watch citizen science program that partners with Cenovus and Shell Canada to deliver an employee wildlife monitoring program to support industry's wildlife mitigation planning. We also presented our Collision Count initiative that engages local citizens in monitoring wildlife fatalities along Highway 3 in southern Alberta as a means to support pre-and post-highway mitigation monitoring. Rachelle attended the State of the Beaver 2015 Conference in Canyonville, Oregon. You can read about both of their experiences in their project updates.
Over the past month Miistakis has been working with the Calgary Foundation on developing our profile for the Community Knowledge Centre (CKC). The CKC provides a platform for charitable organizations to tell their stories and connects citizens, donors and media to community needs and provides insight into issues that need support. We have also been fortunate to participate in the Calgary Foundation's HR-On-Call program over the past year. This program provides critical human resources support by matching our organization's HR needs to HR professionals that worked directly with us and provided opportunities to work through HR issues with other charitable organizations. For organizations like ours, who have limited capacity for dedicated HR personnel, this type of capacity support is extremely valuable. A special thanks to the Calgary Foundation for their innovative investment in Calgary's charitable organizations!
A few Miistakians recently enjoyed the CPAWS Southern Wild Soiree - congratulations to CPAWS on a great event. At the gala Kevin Van Tighem, conservationist, biologist, former superintendent of Banff National Park and award-winning author (and past director of the Miistakis Institute) gave an inspiring keynote address where he highlighted the role and importance of the beaver in our foothills ecosystems. He eloquently explained how maintaining healthy beaver populations in our upstream watersheds could address many of southern Alberta's water quality, water quantity and flow concerns. The reasons for maintaining and supporting healthy beaver populations are exactly the reason that Miistakis has partnered with Cows and Fish, The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area, the ALCES group and Glynnis Hood (University of Alberta) on an initiative to relocate beavers in select locations across southern Alberta to improve ecosystem health and support resiliency through the increased tolerance and acceptance of beavers. This project was recently awarded one of Alberta Ecotrust's inaugural collaborative impact grants. We are still actively fundraising for this project, so if you would like to support this cause please contact me via email or phone (403.440.8444).