Gael G. MacLeod


Gael is a community leader with a unique expertise in bridging business, government and the not-for-profit sectors, and is highly skilled in the areas of governance, grant-making, strategic planning, philanthropy and government relations. She frequently works with a broad range of people with diverse, complex and often competing interests. She holds an MBA and has recently gained experience as an elected official, which puts to use her abilities to effectively advocate on behalf of communities, manage complex issues and lead civic initiatives.

Jacqueline Nelson

Vice Chair

Jacqueline Nelson is a rancher operating west of High River, Alberta, whose operations—Highwood Valley Ranch and Highwood Valley Ranch Beef—are imbedded in stewardship practices which recognize the importance of maintaining environmental integrity to ensure long term sustainability. Jacqueline enjoyed a successful teaching career before attending the University of Bath in the UK in 2007, where she received her MSc in Business and Responsibility. Since then she has worked in the field of public and stakeholder engagement, and understands the complexity of multi-stakeholder dynamics that are part of a working landscape. Jacqueline is the current secretary of the Foothills Land Trust.

Chris Manderson

Chris Manderson is a biologist with over 20 years of experience in urban ecosystem planning and management. He is currently leading the Urban Conservation group in Calgary Parks, which is responsible for urban ecosystem management, including planning and policy, natural area management, integrated pest management and habitat restoration.

During his time at the City of Calgary, Chris has worked in a number of roles related to environmental planning and management including the development of a number of municipal wetland policy, biodiversity strategy and a framework for the conservation of environmentally significant lands through municipal development.

Chris has a degree in Botany from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining the City of Calgary, he worked for many years as an environmental consultant with a particular interest in wetlands, plant community ecology and lichenology.

Rob Simieritsch

Regional Resource Manager, South Saskatchewan Region, Alberta Environment and Parks

Rob Simieritsch is the Regional Resource Manager with Operations Division for Alberta Environment and Parks. Under Resource Management, Rob oversees the Fisheries, Wildlife, Water, Air and other programs in southern Alberta. Rob has been with the Department for 13 years and served in several different functions in that time including water approvals, planning/engagement, and flood recovery. Rob is a Professional Biologist with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologist and has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Calgary. Outside of work, Rob loves to spend time in the Rockies or on the Prairie hiking, canoeing, camping and fishing with his family.

Ryan Smith

Senior Environmental Planner, Shell Canada Limited

Ryan began his career in environmental consulting in 2006 working on a wide variety of environmental planning and regulatory approval projects spanning numerous sectors including resource extraction, municipal infrastructure, and transportation infrastructure. In 2012, Ryan joined Shell Canada Limited’s Environmental & Regulatory Group helping to manage and coordinate environmental programs for key project components including: wildlife monitoring, wetland monitoring, and groundwater monitoring. Ryan works with multi-disciplinary teams to steer projects through the environmental regulatory hurdles as well as improve project environmental performance. Ryan represents Shell on the Foothills Stream Crossing Program (FSCP) which promotes the best management practices and proactive measures to construct and maintain watercourse crossings, and collaborates with the Parkland Airshed Management Zone (PAMZ) Communications Committee helping PAMZ promote air quality education and initiatives to the wider community. Ryan is a professional Agrologist and soil scientist with a M.Sc. degree in Geography from the University of Calgary. Ryan also has B.Sc. degrees in both Earth Science and Archaeology from the University of Calgary. Ryan is passionate about science and science literacy and education.

Brian Traynor

Associate Professor, Mount Royal University

Brian Traynor is an Associate Professor in the Information Design program in the Faculty of Business and Communication Studies at Mount Royal University. Courses taught include: Information Architecture, Usability, and Project and Content Management. Brian has research interests in user satisfaction measures and the attribution of blame by users. He is also a Canadian delegate on behalf of the Standards Council of Canada contributing to the ISO/IEEE/IEC Systems and Software Engineering Working Group 2 (Software Documentation) Brian has been an IEEE member since 2006 and has been actively involved in the IEEE Professional Communication Society since 2012. He is the PCS Treasurer and has supported the annual ProComm conference in a variety of roles over several years.

Dr. Sonya L. Jakubec

Associate Professor, Mount Royal University

Dr. Sonya L. Jakubec is a Registered Nurse, and an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Mount Royal University. Her research is concerned with the interconnection of supportive environments and wellbeing across the lifespan. Sonya has collaborated with Alberta Parks in a multi-year research program concentrating on wellbeing benefits of parks inclusion for people with disabilities and in palliative/grief care and presents and publishes widely on these and other topics. She teaches and has authored books in the areas of research literacy, community health and mental health promotion. At Mount Royal University Sonya serves on committees and boards concerned with growing the research and community engagement culture at the institution and leads the research and practice collaborating Centre for Child Wellbeing. When not immersed in academic work, Sonya can be found puttering in one of many community gardens, enjoying nearby hiking or cross country ski trails, or getting in touch with her BC roots over the Continental Divide. She brings an institutional liaison and engagement lens to her work with the Miistakis board.

Craig Harding

Director of Conservation Science and Planning, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)

Craig is the Director of Conservation Science and Planning for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in the Alberta Region. He works across the province to integrate multiscale planning, into the broader areas that NCC works and at a property scale. Although the major focus of his role is planning in implementation, he also works to integrate collaborative science and research initiatives into NCC's activities to improve our understanding of what species use our properties, how we can adapt our management to benefit those species, and building new relationships to further this work.

Prior to joining NCC, Craig completed his BSc from the University of Western Ontario and went on to complete his MSc at the University of Cape Town with the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology.