Mountain Symposium - VIDEO AVAILABLE
- Horowitz Theatre 8900 114 Street Edmonton, AB, T6G 2S4 Canada (map)
Mountain leaders share their most pressing challenges at symposium
As part of International Mountain Day 2016 celebrations, on December 15th the Canadian Mountain Network brought together a group of ‘mountain leaders’ for a public discussion of the challenges facing mountain communities. These include, among many others, preserving and using traditional knowledge, economic diversification, climate change, aging populations, transportation, and broadband access. First nations elders, community and municipal leaders, business representatives, and conservationists were among those who shared their diverse perspectives at the University of Alberta’s Horowitz Theatre. (Full speaker list and bios below).
Symposium attendees, including students, researchers and members of the public, were also provided an opportunity to discuss these challenges and potential solutions in breakout sessions with the panelists. Their findings were summarized by student volunteers and will be incorporated into the Canadian Mountain Network’s research agenda. Suggestions included funding for researchers to conduct consultations with communities, the incorporation of traditional knowledge into research, open data, and the need for a matching system to bring together communities and researchers with shared interests.
Thank you to all of the speakers and attendees for their participation, as well as to all of our Mountain Festival faculty and corporate sponsors!
We look forward to continued engagement with researchers, students and the public on an innovative research agenda for the Canadian Mountain Network. To share your ideas with us, please visit the Engagement section of our website: http://canadianmountainnetwork.ca/engagement/
From the shores of Point Pelee to the Rocky Mountains to the Arctic tundra, Meg Wilcox has lived in and enjoyed most of Canada in her work as a journalist. She started her reporting career as part of the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa, but later traded the Hill for the mountains as part of the team that created Banff Centre Radio. There, she also hosted Rocky Mountain Morning, the station's daily current affairs show covering news and stories from the Bow Valley. A host and producer with CBC and CKUA, Meg is currently based in Calgary, where she splits her time teaching journalism at Mount Royal University and making all sorts of radio.
Canadian Mountain Network Speakers
Jonathan Schaeffer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He obtained a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto in 1979, and a M.Math (1980) and Ph.D. (1986) from the University of Waterloo. In 1984 he joined the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta as a lecturer, becoming an Assistant Professor in 1985.
Jonathan's research area is artificial intelligence (AI) -- getting computers to exhibit "intelligent" behaviour. He is best known for applying his AI research to games. In 1994, his checkers program, Chinook, became the first program in any game to win a human world championship, a feat recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2007, he announced that he had solved checkers -- the computer plays perfectly and cannot lose. He has also worked on developing super-human poker-playing programs. Starting in 1999, he began working with commercial computer game companies. Technology developed by his team has shipped in four commercial products.
Jonathan is also interested in high performance computing (HPC, or super-computing). He co-founded Westgrid (2001), an HPC consortia of Western Canadian universities. He was one of the seven co-founders of Compute Canada (2005), the national HPC consortia. He has been involved in attracting over $200 million from government and industry to fund HPC.
As preparation for the position of Dean, Jonathan was Chair of the Department of Computing Science (2005-2008) and the Vice Provost and Associate Vice President for Information Technology (2008-2012).
Jonathan is an NSERC Steacie Fellow (1998), Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (2000), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2007). He is a former Canada Research Chair (2001-2008) and a former iCORE Chair in High-Performance Artificial Intelligence Systems (2001-2013). He is a University of Alberta Distinguished University Professor.
Jonathan enjoys running, book collecting, antiques, and travelling. When he has time, he works on writing a novel of historical fiction based on 19th century exploration of the Canadian Arctic.
You can find more information about Jonathan at his web page (www.cs.ualberta.ca/~jonathan).
Dr. David Hik’s research interests are focused on the ecology and dynamics of mountain and cold-region environments, the impacts of climate change, and the determinants of social-ecological resilience. For the past 30 years his work has focused on alpine ecosystems in the Yukon Territory, Canada, and but also other parts of the world too. He studied at Queen’s University (BSc), University of Toronto (MSc) and University of British Columbia (PhD), and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia. Previously, Dr. Hik held the Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecology, was Executive Director of the Canadian International Polar Year Secretariat, and served as President of the International Arctic Science Committee. Dr. Hik is a recipient of the Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership and Science (awarded by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society), and recently received the Polar Medal from the Government of Canada. Over the past year Dr. Hik has worked closely with Dr. Zac Robinson from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation to develop a new, massive open online course, “Mountains 101”, that will officially launch in January 2017 (uab.ca/mountains).
As Research and Innovation Development Officer for the NSERC Prairies Regional Office, Frank is responsible for disseminating information about NSERC programs and developing strategies to encourage new research, training and innovation partnerships across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Frank is also the Engage Grant program officer for the Prairies Region.
Before joining NSERC in 2007, Frank was a communications specialist with the University of Manitoba, where he worked as Public Affairs Officer for the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, and subsequently Research Promotion Manager, where he was responsible for all of the university’s research-related communications and marketing activities.
Leon Andrew is a Shúhtagot'ı̨nę (Mountain Dene) elder and member of the Tulı́t’a Dene Band in the Sahtú Region of the Northwest Territories (NWT). He is a Special Advisor to the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board), and member of the Aboriginal Steering Committee for the NWT Water Strategy. He has also served as an advisor to the federal and territorial governments on Transboundary Water negotiations with Alberta. He has assisted with Access and Benefits negotiations for his community, and served on the Canol Heritage Trail Committee for the Tulı́t’a District during 2004-2006.
Leon was a trapper in the Tulı́t’a area and has firsthand experience of both the positive and negative effects of exploration activities on the environment and traditional economy of the NWT. He has provided his research expertise in numerous traditional knowledge studies, and has assisted with ethno-archaeological research as part of the NWT Ice Patch study in the Mackenzie Mountains. He is also an experienced interpreter in Dene and English languages.
Alison Ronson is the Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's Northern Alberta chapter. She holds a B.Sc.H. in Environmental Sciences, a J.D. and an M.A. in International Affairs with a focus on Environmental Governance. In her role with CPAWS, she advocates for the creation of parks and protected areas in the province, works with government and industry representatives to find conservation solutions on the shared landscape, and acts as a voice for Alberta's iconic wildlife, such as caribou and grizzly bears. Alison sits on the board of directors of the Alberta Environmental Network and the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, and she was recently appointed to the Government of Alberta's Oil Sands Advisory Group, tasked with making recommendations to the government on how to implement the Climate Leadership Plan.
Deborah Simmons is Executive Director of the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board, based in Tulı́t'a, NWT. As a child she travelled annually with her family to the Mackenzie Mountains, where her father Norman Simmons was conducting Dall’s sheep research in collaboration with Shúhtagot'ı̨nę (Mountain Dene) from Tulı́t'a. She completed her doctorate in the field of Native Studies at York University. She has been involved in traditional knowledge research in the Sahtú Region since 1999, including a study of Shúhtagot'ı̨nę Nę́nę́ (the homeland of the Mountain Dene). She was hired as Executive Director of the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı in the spring of 2012, and is Assistant Professor in Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto.
Having been raised in Yellowknife, although school and work have taken her to various locations in the south, Sara has always considered herself a Northerner and she keeps getting drawn back. Starting out in construction and consulting working with communities as clients, Sara took her first job as a Municipal Engineer and then SAO in Iqaluit almost 20 years ago. Sara has dealt with the varied issues facing communities as a Manager of Engineering, Director of Public Works and By-law with a number of communities throughout Ontario and Alberta before returning to the NWT as SAO for Inuvik.
Sara is now CEO of the Northwest Territories Association of Communities and is enjoying focusing on the issues that are important to NWT communities and working to assist them as much as possible.
Bill is a member of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, Wesley First Nation, as well as a Dual Citizen of Canada / United States of America, and of Stoney Nakoda / Yuma Quechan descent. Bill is involved in many consultation issues concerning the Stoney Nakoda Nation with industry, provincial and federal governments, in the Southern Alberta area.
Since 2012, Bill has been the Consultation Manager for Stoney Nakoda First Nation. This work involves the assessment of industrial resources projects within Stoney Nakoda Traditional Lands, as part of the Stoney Consultation process. The Stoney Consultation Team is located on the Stoney Indian Reserve in Morley, Alberta.
Bill is also the Chair of the All Tribes Presbytery of the All Native Circle Conference, of the United Church of Canada. The All Tribes Presbytery is comprised of the Morley, Maskwacis, Saddle Lake and Good Fish Communities in Alberta.
Christina Benty, MA, is a retired politician, a jazz singer, and the owner of Strategic Leadership Solutions, a consulting firm designed to assist teams in building a culture of excellence in leadership and governance. As former Mayor for the Town of Golden with 12 years’ experience in local government, she is passionate about sound governance, leadership development, organizational culture, community engagement and asset management. She recently shared her leadership journey on the TEDX stage in Vancouver. After her wealth of time spent living within the world of local government, she recognizes the need for relevant governance coaching and consulting. She launched a business, Strategic Leadership Solutions, to assist teams in building a culture of excellence in leadership and governance. With a combination of applicable experience and formal education, she is a highly skilled problem solver who prides herself on being exceptionally creative, and dynamic in her approach to helping governing bodies and organizations transition from strategic vision to practical action.
In addition to her lived experience in the political arena, she completed her Masters of Arts in Leadership at Royal Roads University with an organizational leadership project on community engagement and asset management for the Town of Golden that has garnered national attention. Christina considers herself an asset management evangelist. She is a regular conference presenter who is desperately trying to inspire local governments to take their stewardship responsibilities seriously and to inject some passion and enthusiasm into this complex topic.
Cal Clark, P.Biol.
Manager Sustainability, Benga Mining Ltd (Riversdale Resources)
Crowsnest Pass, Alberta
Cal Clark lives in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, where he and his family moved in 2015 when he took on the role of Sustainability Manager with Benga Mining Ltd (Riversdale Resources). Benga is currently seeking regulatory approval to develop its Grassy Mountain Coal Mine Project north of the community of Blairmore, Alberta. In his role as sustainability manager for the company, Cal wears many “hats” and is responsible for managing the provincial and federal regulatory processes necessary to obtain approval for the Project, regulatory compliance, Aboriginal consultation, community engagement, government affairs, and environmental management.
Cal was born in Alberta but has lived and travelled across Canada. Cal graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Ecology in 1989. He worked as a research associate at Guelph where he spent an entire summer completing the initial inventory to identify the extent of the old growth eastern white cedar forests along the Niagara escarpment. Cal also worked as a Park Naturalist with Parks Canada at Bruce Peninsula – Fathom Five and Point Pelee National Parks. In 1990, he began his consulting career working as an ecologist for Geomatics International in southern Ontario where he worked on a variety of resource inventory, monitoring and management projects across Ontario and in the arctic. In 1991, Cal spent a year in Washington and northern Oregon conducting surveys and habitat assessments on proposed timber sales for the newly listed endangered northern spotted owl. The work on spotted owls was an experience that brought home the challenges of managing environmental, political, social and economic issues and the need to understand the trade-offs to inform decisions. There are many perspectives on any issue and the challenge for decision makers is to find the right balance.
Prior to taking on his responsibilities at Benga, Cal worked in the oil sands industry including Cenovus Energy and Oilsands Quest. At Cenovus Energy Cal helped set up Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) between 13 of the major oil sands producers and developed strategies to improve Cenovus’ and the oil sands industry’s environmental performance. Cal spent 15 years working as an environmental consultant working in the oil and gas, mining and forestry sectors participating or managing more than 20 major development applications and environmental impact assessments. Seven of those years he operating his own company, Clark EcoDynamics specializing in vegetation ecology, wildlife habitat assessment, environmental monitoring and cumulative effects.
Cal love living in a small mountain community where he and his family take advantage of all that the area has to offer. Cal enjoys hiking, skiing, swimming, canoeing, coaching minor soccer, and volunteering in the community.
Geoscientist, entrepreneur and energy fanatic, Craig Dunn is always working hard to be ahead of the curve. Mr. Dunn started WellDunn Consulting, a geological consulting firm for the oil and gas industry, and worked on many of the early stage exploration programs from the Bakken in SE Saskatchewan to tight gas plays in NE BC. He is the founder of multiple technology startups, and amassed and led the YYCHelps volunteer army during the 2013 Calgary flood. As Chief Geologist with Borealis Geopower, he is considered one of the leading experts and pioneers in high-temperature geothermal energy exploration and development initiatives in Canada. A father of two, he is always thinking of the world that we are leaving for the next generation.
He lives by the idea that “Make beautiful ideas reality and the world will follow”.
This event is hosted by the Canadian Mountain Network.