Candidate 1: John Paczkowski
John walked into his first ACTWS meeting in 1995 with a slide carousel under his arm, almost totally unaware of what he was getting into. He was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community and everyone’s willingness to engage with one another and a young biologist with much to learn. He made friends and found mentors, promising to come back and do it again. He did. Early in his career John spent several years doing fisheries and aquatic research in Northern Ontario, but does not talk about that life much anymore. Through a series of incalculable events and Forrest Gumpian luck, he ended up studying wolves and grizzly bears in the Banff National Park area for a number of years. Later he went back to school at UNBC to complete his masters degree focussing on remote sensing of grizzly bear habitat in Central British Columbia. After that John spent about 8 years working on conservation programs with brown bears and Amur tigers in the Russian far east with the Wildlife Conservation Society. For the last 12 years he has been a park ecologist with the Alberta Environment and Parks living in Canmore and working in the Kananaskis Country Region.
John often uses humour to mask his incompetencies or garner favour amongst those who might not otherwise know him. He really likes looking at unaware wild creatures through binoculars and scopes, especially around twilight. John dislikes foggy lenses and writing about himself in the third person.
Although John has contributed minimally to the ACTWS in various minor supporting roles, it’s about time he get off his ass and make a more substantial contribution to this organization and membership which he admires and respects so greatly. John thinks joining the ACTWS executive board as president elect might be a good place to start.
DIRECTOR (2 Positions)
Candidate 1: Robb Stavne
Robb B. Stavne M.Sc. P.Biol., R.P. Bio. Principle Wildlife Specialist Sora Ecological Consulting. Robb Stavne completed his M.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 2005 examining effects of cattle grazing on wetland bird communities in the Aspen Parkland. Since then, Robb has accumulated almost 20 years of experience as a wildlife ecologist, serving with Ducks Unlimited, Sustainable Resources Development (now AEP), Alberta Conservation Association, and Mercer International, and has most recently become a founding member and co-chair of the Boreal Nature Network. Robb works and volunteers with his community in Peace River to engage them in citizen science initiatives, and to promote awareness of wildlife and associated issues. Robb currently lives in Peace River from where he operates his consulting venture; Sora Ecological Consulting.
Candidate 2: Alyssa Bohart
Alyssa Bohart is the current Secretary-Treasurer for the ACTWS and as her term has finished, she would like to continue in the role of Director. She completed her MSc at the University of Alberta, studying polar bear movement ecology and she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Honors Animal Biology at the University of Alberta. Her honors thesis examined prey selection of wolves and coyotes in Ya Ha Tinda. Outside of her education, Alyssa has dedicated her time to several organizations including Beaverhill Bird Observatory, Nature Alberta’s Nature Kids and Polar Bears International, where she has conducted field work and wildlife outreach. As an aspiring wildlife biologist she hopes to continue researching conservation issues as well as share her passion for wildlife conservation and public engagement.
Candidate 3: Andrew Braid
Andrew completed his undergraduate studies in environmental and conservation sciences at the University of Alberta, and then pursued an MSc in conservation biology. The focus of his graduate work was mitigating the effects of human activities on grizzly bears in southwestern Alberta, which included prioritizing sites for access management, as well as assessing the viability of planting fruiting shrubs in cut blocks to enhance habitat quality.
After completing his MSc, Andrew chased his dream of seeing some African wildlife in person, and spent a few months travelling through South Africa, Tanzania, and Rwanda. His encounters with wild elephants and mountain gorillas are some of his most cherished wildlife experiences.
Andrew returned to Canada and obtained a position as a wildlife monitoring biologist with Alberta Environment and Parks. The majority of his work to date has been focused on monitoring ungulate populations on northern Alberta, using autonomous monitoring technologies to quantify human activity in Alberta’s eastern slopes, and developing approaches to monitoring sharp-tailed grouse populations in central Alberta. He maintains a keen interest in using innovative techniques to monitor wildlife populations, as well as improving the ways that we coexist with wildlife as our influence on natural systems continues to increase.
Candidate 4: Courtney Hughes
Courtney Hughes is the Senior Biodiversity and Landscape Specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks, located in Grande Cache, and has enjoyed this position since 2014. Courtney has worked with AEP for nearly 15 years, starting out as an Education Outreach Coordinator and moving into a Natural Resource Policy Analyst position. Together with her role now, she has developed her skills in policy development, facilitation, strategic planning, and project and program design and evaluation. Additionally, Courtney has extensive experience in community-based and participatory approaches, qualitative research, educational outreach and citizen science, and strives to use interdisciplinary approaches to collaborate with individuals, groups, organizations, and stakeholders to identify and address conservation and management challenges. Some of the work that Courtney has conducted has included: co-leading the DNA-based population inventory for boreal grizzly bears in Alberta; co-leading the design and implementation of GrizzTracker, a citizen science program for grizzly bears; leading participatory approaches to understand and sustainably develop recreational opportunities across the Peace Region; testing non-lethal bumblebee monitoring techniques in the subalpine and alpine areas around Grande Cache; and co-leading citizen science programming for boreal bats in Peace River. Courtney has also been a visiting lecturer for over ten years with Oxford University’s WildCRU program, and was a sessional science education instructor at the University of Alberta. Courtney holds a PhD in conservation from the University of Alberta, having studied the social context of grizzly bear recovery in Alberta, and holds a master’s in environmental education, where she studied the role of educational programs on cheetah conservation in Namibia, Africa. Courtney has extensive board experience, including founding and acting in the role of chair for the new non-profit society Boreal Nature Network; founding director and current chair of Peace Region’s Restorative Justice Association; director on the Alberta Native Bee Council; founding member of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group; and founder and past chair of Mighty Peace Barbell Club and Peace River’s Miserable Miles Race. Courtney has also been privileged to voluntarily work on various projects internationally, including her current project integrating livelihood development and wildlife conservation objectives in Lamadi, Tanzania, and previously co-leading a livelihood and bushmeat harvest study in Korup National Park, Cameroon. She has also co-authored the national primary science curriculum for Belize, and worked with colleagues to develop educational conservation-related resources (e.g., Alberta Bats coloring book; birds of Guyana coloring book). In her free time, Courtney can be found outside with her horses or hiking through the wilds of the Grande Cache area and Willmore Wilderness Park.
Candidate 5: César Augusto Estevo
César Augusto Estevo (he/him) is a Ph.D. student in ecology at the University of Alberta studying climate change resilience of bird communities in the boreal ecosystem. César is originally from Brazil and moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 2017. As part of his work in Alberta, he has traveled through the entire province, from mountains and prairies to wetlands and the dense forests of the North. César’s passion for wildlife started during his biology undergrad, which led him to look for birds in the Atlantic Forest, to vast lands of Denali National Park in Alaska and to travel to the Amazon forest to guide international wildlife enthusiasts. César’s goal in the ACTWS is to build diversity and equity in the student membership whilst working towards a welcoming and safe environment for wildlife lovers. César also served as chair of the International Committee of the TWS’s Student Development Working Group. He also serves as co- chair of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists – Société des ornithologistes du Canada.
Candidate 6: Isobel Phoebus
From growing up in the mountains of western Canada to obtaining an Environmental Science Master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Freiburg in Germany, Isobel has developed a strong passion for wildlife and its protection. Her career in wildlife conservation began as a naturalist for a federal migratory bird sanctuary in Quebec, bringing knowledge about local flora and fauna to the public and leading young biologist summer camps. She continued on with various field positions, including monitoring Alberta’s biodiversity with ABMI. Since 2016, Isobel has been working as a Wildlife Biologist with fRI Research in Hinton, Alberta studying grizzly bear habitat use, non-invasive population inventory methods, and the impacts of translocation on bears. In addition to volunteer work, Isobel is science instructor for Girls on Ice Canada, a tuition-free program that takes female-identifying high school students on a scientific expedition in the alpine. Through this experience, Isobel seeks to build courage, confidence and a sense of environmental stewardship in young women as they discover their passions within science and outdoor recreation. Outside of work and volunteering, Isobel is usually adventuring in the mountains where she climbs rocky peaks and frozen waterfalls, skis backcountry slopes, and slacklines over canyons. Isobel joined the ACTWS in 2017 and hopes to bring together her experience in applying ecological research to manage and conserve wildlife with her desire to support the community of wildlife professionals in Alberta.
Candidate 7: Jordan York
Jordan holds an MES focused on Northern Environments and Cultures and a BEd focused on intermediate/senior level instruction, both from Lakehead University. Jordan developed interests in wildlife research and management pulled him from teaching in Ontario public schools to Alberta in 2017, where he worked as a wildlife technician for Alberta Environment and Parks. He is currently employed as an Environment Coordinator with the Metis Nation of Alberta. As a Metis citizen and harvester, Jordan has always been interested in wildlife management and conservation, especially regarding harvested species. He advocates for wildlife management decisions to be based on sound scientific practices, especially those which consider both Western and Indigenous science perspectives. Outside of work, Jordan can often be found outdoors hunting, fishing, camping or hiking with his golden retriever, Ellie. He’s a member of Lesser Slave Lake Search and Rescue and he also serves on their training team.
Candidate 8: Lindsey Dewart
Lindsey Dewart developed a love of animals at an early age in the prairies of Alberta. She went on to develop a diverse background in wildlife biology including research, management, and tourism in non-profit, private, government, and non-government agencies. Lindsey holds a BSc in environmental and conservation sciences from the University of Alberta and is currently preparing to defend her MSc thesis in conservation ecology, examining the predator-prey dynamics of wolves and bison in north-eastern Alberta. Her main research interests are behavioural ecology and conservation biology with a passion for working to minimize human-carnivore conflicts to secure a sustainable future for both across Alberta’s complex landscapes. Over the past decade, Lindsey’s career has largely focused on grizzly bear and wolf research, although she has also worked on caribou programs, provincial ungulate surveys, forest health initiatives, recreation management as well as large landscape conservation and biodiversity projects. Many of these programs involved working closely with various stakeholder groups including industry, government, Indigenous communities, and recreation organizations. Lindsey has also spent a large portion of her time volunteering on various wildlife projects such as raptor, duck, and bat banding, rescue of injured and orphaned wildlife, and various population and diversity surveys including greater short-horned lizards, bats, birds, and butterflies. In her spare time, she can be found on a wildlife photography trip or leading tour groups as a naturalist in remote landscapes such as the Great Bear Rainforest and Churchill, Manitoba.
Candidate 9: Laura Windsor
Laura is currently an Environmental Scientist with Ecoventure Inc., where she is a part of the Assessment & Remediation and Conservation & Reclamation teams, providing consulting services to Canada’s oil and gas industry as well as government agencies, land developers, and commercial/industrial land users. Her work experience is focused in forest ecology and outdoor/environmental education. She started in summer field positions throughout Alberta, including the Uof A’s Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbances (EMEND) Project out of Peace River and for the Government of Alberta on a Wildfire Science Crew.
She enjoys sharing her passion for the natural world and has worked for the Lesser Slave Forest Education Society, Boreal Center for Bird Conservation, Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory, FireSmart Canada, the John Janzen Nature Center, Muttart Conservatory, and multiple childrens summer camp/retreat facilites. Laura completed her BSc. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta Augustana Campus in Camrose, AB., where her course work focused on landscape ecology, writing, and outdoor education. She completed two independent study projects completed during the senior years of her degree. The first was on the population dynamics of a colony of great blue herons that had been noted by Alberta Parks to be declining. The second, determined the motivations and benefits of citizen scientists participating in a purple martin conservation project.
Laura joined the Augustana Student Chaper of The Wildlife Society in 2009 and went on to serve as the chapters Vice President and President between 2010 and 2013. At the ACTWS annual conference in 2013, she was a ACTWS Student Volunteer Co-ordinator and in 2014, the ACTWS Student Conclave Co-ordinator. In her free time, Laura can often be found on a pair of cross country skis, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, camping, playing with pets, rewatching Brooklyn 99, or doing arts and crafts.
Candidate 10: Donovan Currie
My name is Donovan Currie and I am throwing my name into the hat as it were, to be on the board for the ACTWS. I am a recent graduate from Macewan University and am the most passionate person I know when it comes to wildlife and ecology. My aim in life is to be one of the greatest Biologists in the world and to specialize in large predators would be a dream come true, particularly large cats. On my time off from my current job as a chef, I go for walks in the lush River Valley here in Edmonton with my loving wife, or I build and paint model kits and post them on my blog, and lastly I will work on independent research on plant life when I’m not volunteering for the Edmonton Urban Coyote Project. That’s who I am in a nutshell, a nerdy scientist that can cook professionally and loves Albertan wildlife.
Candidate 1: Erin Miller
Erin Miller is an MSc. Student at the University of Alberta. Her current research involves using telemetry to examine polar bear movement and human-bear conflict in western Hudson Bay. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Honors Ecology at the University of Calgary which included the completion of her honors thesis examining habitat selection of artificial roosts by urban Alberta bats. This project required the use of citizen science and highlighted for Erin the active role the public could play in wildlife research when given the opportunity. As an advocate for public engagement in wildlife conservation, she has devoted time to speak at primary schools as well as working with organizations such as Scouts Canada and Operation Wallacea to promote youth interest in ecological research. She hopes to continue researching solutions for human-wildlife conflict in her future career by emphasizing public awareness and engagement.
Candidate 2: Sarah Rheubottom
I graduated from the University of Alberta with my MSc in ecology in 2018. My thesis focused on invertebrate herbivory in the tundra. I am greatly interested in invertebrates as they often get overlooked, even though they play a large role in the ecosystem. Since graduating I have worked with the Calgary Zoo as part of their conservation team. I spent two summers out in Grasslands National Park helping with the monitoring of the Black-tailed Prairie Dog colonies out there. In my spare time I volunteer on grounds at the Calgary Zoo, where I engage with visitors and share ways they can help wildlife in big and small ways.
Candidate 3: Samantha Stamler
Samantha is a Wildlife Disease Technician with Alberta Environment and Parks in Edmonton. She began her career with Fish and Wildlife as a lab technician with the Chronic Wasting Disease program and has been fortunate to contribute to a variety of field and lab work opportunities over her career with the Government of Alberta, including; caribou DNA surveys throughout northern Alberta, pond surveys in the Kananaskis and Canmore area, electrofishing surveys in the Peace region, back country golden plover banding surveys in the Wilmore Wilderness area, contaminant projects in wildlife with Environment Canada and Echinococcus work in muskrats with the University of Calgary. Her work is noted as a contributing author on two publications. Having worked with Parks Canada as a summer student with Jasper National Park’s Invasive Plant crew, Samantha learned about both invasive and native planet species in the park, and used various treatment methods to eradicate them.In addition, she had the opportunity to participate in bird call playback surveys, mountain pine beetle tree assessments, trail maintenance and prescribed burn assessments. Samantha has a deep rooted love for the outdoors that stems from childhood summers spent with family, camping and canoeing around southern Ontario. She has nurtured that passion into a career and interest in conservation ever since. She currently holds an advanced diploma from Fleming College, specializing in Biotechnology Forensics. In her off time, she enjoys back country camping, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, yoga, music, travel and photography.
Candidate 1: Phil Walker
My name is Phil Walker and I am a PhD. candidate at the University of Alberta. My current research is evaluating trade-offs between predation and nutrition for woodland caribou during the calving and summer period in northern Ontario. I spent 2 summers working with tame caribou to estimate the nutritional resources available to wild caribou. My research interests include spatial and population ecology. I completed my BSc. degree in biology at the King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta.
Candidate 2: Sarah Hatt
As an aspiring wildlife biologist, Sarah is currently an undergraduate student at Lethbridge College, where she has been very involved with their student chapter of TWS. With an extensive background in administration, client relations, and working with non-profit organizations, she is experienced with fundraising, event planning, and public relations. Outside of academics, Sarah spends much of her time volunteering with numerous organizations including Helen Schuler Nature Centre, and Ducks Unlimited Canada, where she conducts field work and delivers public programming. She strives to share her passion for the outdoors and wildlife with others. Sarah also has vast experience serving on committees and board of director roles; she is currently the student representative on the CSTWS membership committee and was elected to be the vice president of the Lethbridge College Chapter of TWS for the upcoming school year. If not at school, volunteering, or doing the mom-thing with her two kids, you’d likely find her trail running, hiking, or trying her hand at wildlife photography.
Candidate 3: Remington Bracher
Remington Bracher is a second year Conservation Biology student at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and is transferring to the University of Alberta in fall 2021 to finish out his BSc in Conservation biology. After that he hopes to pursue a graduate program focusing on species management and reintroduction. As an avid hunter, angler, and registered trapper you will continually find him out exploring the backcountry of Alberta. In his spare time, he’s an active volunteer for Alberta Conservation Association and Alberta Hunter Education Instructors’ Association. Remington also serves as the Certifications and Public Relations executive for NAIT’s Biological Sciences Club and is a committee member of The Parkland Pintails Chapter of Delta Waterfowl.
Candidate 3: Ashlyn Herron
Ashlyn is currently a B.A.Sc. Ecosystem Management student, majoring in Fish and Wildlife from Lethbridge College. She previously completed her Renewable Resource Management diploma from Lethbridge College in the spring of 2020. Ashlyn has been an active member of the Lethbridge College Chapter of The Wildlife Society since 2018, currently serving her second term as Vice President. She also become involved with the Canadian Section of The Wildlife Society in 2020, serving as the current student representative on the CWB® Certification Committee. Ashlyn’s favourite part of being involved with student chapters of TWS is fostering connection and growth for students entering the field of wildlife biology. Working as a Conservation Intern for Nature Conservancy of Canada in Southeastern Alberta in the summer of 2019 lead her to discover her passion for grassland species at risk conservation. This passion inspired her to develop her Senior Project (independent study) to further understand how grassland restoration impacts bird species diversity in the south east portion of the province. She hopes to turn her love for the grasslands into a professional career upon completion of her schooling. Ashlyn is also an active member of the Prairie Conservation Forum where she sits on several committees. Outside of her academics, Ashlyn is an avid hunter, passionate bird watcher and full-time plant mom.