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Workshop – Aerial survey safety

2022-05-26 @ 12:00 13:30 MDT

Flying in small planes or helicopters is an incredibly useful tool for wildlife surveys and conducting fieldwork in remote locations. There are many things to consider in the project planning and fieldwork phases when working with aircraft.

While useful and integral to wildlife related work, flying in small planes and helicopters is also the leading cause of death of wildlife professionals and students. Many of us know someone who was caught in an air crash. These accidents serve as reminders of the risks we take in our profession. The ACTWS has lost several members over the years to air crashes and each one has impacted us deeply.

We want to help you to stay safe and have all the knowledge you need to do so. This workshop will discuss:

  • planning a field study that requires aerial data collection or surveying
  • getting contracts with pilots in place – what to ask and look for
  • training you and others should have before flying
  • helicopter and aircraft performance calculations, considerations, and alternatives
  • working with pilots to meet your research objectives and stay safe
  • safety and what to do in the event of a crash

We are so pleased to welcome speakers with decades of experience in aerial wildlife surveys to share their thoughts, advice, and perspectives with you. Whether you have decades of experience flying and need a refresher or are new to using small aircraft for fieldwork, this workshop will help prepare you for the realities of aerial surveying.

This workshop is sponsored by Airborne Energy Solutions. Learn more about them here. We are grateful for their support and the great work they do to help biologists collect wildlife data from the air!


$20 (non-members); $10 (members); $5 (students)

Thanks to our sponsor, we have 10 FREE tickets for those in financial need. Don’t let finances be a barrier to furthering your professional development. Email us for more info!


Curtis Stambaugh

Regional Wildlife Manager – Northwest, Alberta Environment and Parks

I’ve spent the last 20 years working for Alberta’s Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Branch (under various former names) planning and conducting a variety of wildlife and resource related surveys from a variety of fixed and rotor-winged aircraft. I’ll present an overview of some of the vitally important considerations a biologist should contemplate before even entering an aircraft and during the conduct of a survey.

David Canavan

Chief Pilot, Airborne Energy Solutions

David has been living in Whitecourt for 9 years. Primarily responsible for crew flight training and procedural assessments. Over 4000 hours of flight experience specializing in low level aerial flight and surveys. Completed formal education from the University of Guelph studying Zoology. In the winter of 2022 completed his first season of Aerial Ungulate surveys in Fort St John (Sikanni Chief and Williston Lake areas). 

David will be joined by Nic Bilodeau from Airborne Energy Solutions, a pilot with vast experience conducting wildlife surveys in Alberta.

PO BOX 4990
Edmonton AB
T6E 5G8

Rooted in Wisdom: Deer Aging Techniques

Embark on a journey of precision and insight with the Lethbridge College Wildlife Analytics Lab (WAL) at the ACTWS Conference in Jasper! Join our workshop, ‘Rooted in Wisdom: Deer Aging Techniques‘, to explore the secrets hidden within wildlife teeth. Explore both the field technique of ‘tooth eruption and wear’ and the laboratory marvel of ‘cementum analysis’ – both dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of ungulate ages. Delve into the heart of these techniques, comparing their accuracy and precision, with a revelation of the superior accuracy of cementum analysis. Learn the art of tooth extraction and witness the seamless process of submitting your own wildlife teeth to the WAL for aging through cementum analysis. Elevate your understanding of deer populations and contribute to the advancement of wildlife knowledge and bolster your resume with applied experience. Participants will gain hands-on familiarity with the field technique of jaw aging, and the lab process of tooth extraction, inspection, preparation, and cementum analysis. Join us in Jasper for a transformative experience at the intersection of field expertise and cutting-edge laboratory analysis!

Facilitated by the Wildlife Analytics Lab, Lethbridge College

Cost: $15

Professional refers to someone who works with wildlife and/or their habitats in a professional setting.

In this context, it is not in reference to a legal professional designation.