Who We Are & What We Do

About Us

In 1988, the Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society emerged with a vision to foster collaboration and excellence in wildlife science and management within the province. The founding committee, comprised of passionate individuals dedicated to advancing the understanding and conservation of Alberta’s wildlife, played a pivotal role in shaping the foundation of the chapter.

The founding committee members included: Morley Barrett, Mike Dorrance, Bill Glasgow, and Bill Samuel.

These visionaries shared a commitment to the principles of wildlife conservation and recognized the need for a dedicated platform that would bring together professionals, researchers, and enthusiasts in the field. Their collective efforts laid the groundwork for an organization that would serve as a hub for knowledge exchange and research collaboration for the protection of Alberta’s diverse wildlife.

Their initiative paved the way for the establishment of a dynamic chapter that continues to thrive today. The Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society remains steadfast in its mission to promote the stewardship of wildlife and their habitats through science-based approaches, building upon the legacy set forth by the dedicated individuals who founded it in 1988. 

Learn more about the ACTWS history here

Our Mission

To inspire and empower wildlife professionals* to engage in science-based management and conservation of wild animals and their habitats.

Our Members

Wildlife biology professionals, scientists, academics, students, communicators and citizen advocates throughout Alberta and western Canada.

Our Organization

We are a non-profit Chapter of the US-based The Wildlife Society. We have over 550 members and are governed by a volunteer board and coordinated by an executive director.

Our Activities

Create and foster a collaborative wildlife community of students, scientists, managers, and enthusiasts

Promote application of robust science in wildlife and habitat-related decision making

Enhance and empower our membership through diverse services and student supports

Develop, maintain, and model organizational efficiency

The key role of the ACTWS is to foster a professional culture among wildlife biologists that promotes science-based management and conservation of wildlife throughout Alberta.

Our Achievements


for wildlife professionals and students

30+ YEARS and >400 MEMBERS

advocating for science in wildlife management across Alberta


of scholarships, travel grants, and student presentation awards given


on wildlife and habitat issues from coal mining to species at risk management. Success in wetland policy, CWD testing, forestry planning, caribou recovery, and more


in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


TWS Chapter of the Year


Stan Boutin


Thea Carpenter


Sarah Hatt


Marcus Becker


Shantel Carels


Corey Scobie


Remington Bracher

Student Director & Education and Information

Mark Boyce

Conservation Committee Chair

Margo Pybus


Volunteer Committees

So much of our work is addressed and accomplished with the help of dedicated members who volunteer their time and expertise to meet our mission. Our active committees are:

  • Conservation Affairs
  • Education and Information
  • Membership
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.


Learn more about them on our Volunteer Committees page.

ACTWS Speakers Bureau

Provide a database of qualified scientists and managers to speak at an array of events and to groups of all ages. Please see our Speakers Bureau below to find a speaker perfect for your event. If you’re an expert, please sign up for our Bureau in the Members’ Area

First NameLast NameCityDisciplineAreas of ExpertiseWebsiteEmail
St. Albert
1972 Start up of Habitat programs in Alberta Fish and Wildlife through to 2010, habitat involvement of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Alberta until 2012, 1972- 2010 Buck for Wildlife Program as precursor to the delegated authority of the Alberta Conservation Association, Northern River Basins Study 1989-96, Fisheries Management program 1972-2010, FQW Public Information, Education and Licensing Program 1986-1989,
Wildlife, Agriculture
Population ecology of large mammals. Predator-prey dynamics. Carbon sequestration and storage in grazed grasslands. Habitat selection. Harvest policy.
Ethology, Behavioural Ecology, Animal Behaviours, Mammals, Wolves, Camera Trapping, Human-Wildlife Conflict, Large Carnivore
Bats, Alberta species at risk, wildlife ecology and conservation
Population ecology and conservation. Most research has been on large mammals but also on furbearers and birds. Recent research has included work on grizzly bears, black bears, Greater Sage-Grouse, waterfowl nest predation, sitatunga in Uganda, cougars, bighorn sheep, caribou, and elk. My current work is focused on grasslands in Canada and the best way to manage these lands for biodiversity, while maximizing carbon sequestration and storage.

Stan Boutin


Stan Boutin is currently Professor Emeritus in the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences. He grew up north of Edmonton and went to school at University of Alberta (BSc) and UBC (MSc and PhD). Stan was formerly Science Co-Director of the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, President and Science Co-Lead for the Canadian Mountain Network, Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair, and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Integrated Landscape Management. Stan’s applied research is designed to allow stakeholders to make ecologically informed land-use decisions and he has worked closely with the forestry and energy sectors in Alberta. He became involved in the study and conservation of woodland caribou in the mid nineties. Other research interests include snowshoe hare-lynx cycles and red squirrel ecology, energetics, and evolution. Stan has tortured many great graduate students along the way. Despite this, he and his students have been awarded The Wildlife Society Publication of the Year in Wildlife, Ecology and Management three times. Stan was also fortunate enough to be awarded the William Rowan Distinguished Service Award from ACTWS and he has the belt buckle to prove it.

Thea Carpenter


‘Born and raised’ in Edmonton, Thea completed her B.Sc. in Animal Biology at the University of Alberta. She started her biology career first as a Natural History Interpreter and then as a Wildlife Rehabilitator, where she got up close and personal with some of the amazing birds of prey species in Alberta, as well as some equally inspiring female mentors. She later completed her M.Sc. examining peatland songbird responses to oil sands development features, also at the UofA. Working as a biologist with Canadian Wildlife Service for the past 10 years, Thea has contributed to boreal migratory bird monitoring programs and now supports collaboration on recovery actions for caribou populations in the three prairie provinces. She served on the executive with the Beaverhill Bird Observatory for over 8 years and has supported open paper program planning for past ACTWS and SCO conferences. As someone who presented her own research for the first time at an ACTWS conference, Thea loves the welcoming and collaborative atmosphere of this group and would be happy to contribute to our great community of wildlife professionals!

Sarah Hatt

As an aspiring wildlife biologist, Sarah is currently a second year undergraduate student at Lethbridge College. 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; within TWS she is currently the Lethbridge College Chapters Vice President and has been elected to be next years President, she is the student representative on the CSTWS membership committee, has previously met with the ACTWS membership committee to provide a students perspective, and is an active member of the Student Development Working Group (SDWG). If full time studies and endless volunteering wasn’t enough, she also works as an Ecology Student with Matrix Solutions Inc., is a mom of two very active children, and is an avid runner herself.

Samantha Stamler

Samantha has an advanced diploma from Fleming College; specializing in biotechnology forensic science. She is currently a Wildlife Disease Technician with Alberta Environment and Parks and contributes to wildlife disease surveillance, monitoring, and management in Alberta, including; chronic wasting disease, avian influenza, and others. Samantha has experience in a variety of field work endeavours which spans throughout Alberta, including Jasper National Park, and her work is noted as a contributing author on two publications. 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. In her off time, she enjoys back country camping, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, yoga, music, travel and photography.

Marcus Becker


Marcus is currently an Ecologist with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and specializes in large mammal population monitoring and evaluation of response to human disturbance. He received both his B.Sc. (Conservation Science) and M.Sc. (Economics) at the University of Alberta. Like most others in this space, Marcus is keen on getting outdoors to ride his gravel bike on unexplored country roads, hike up faraway mountains, and hunt for moose in Alberta’s backcountry. He currently lives in Edmonton with his wife, Megan, and their cat, Balou. 

Shantel Carels

Executive Director

Shantel is a professional biologist with over ten years of wildlife research experience. Shantel holds a Masters in Ecology from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Science degree from Dalhousie University. Shantel has work experience as a consultant, report writer and science communicator, data analyst, and GIS technician. 

Emily Herdman

Dr. Emily Herdman is currently a researcher at InnoTech Alberta working on a variety of programs involving biological monitoring. Prior to her current role, she was the Science Director for the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and worked for Alberta Environment and Parks in a variety of roles. Emily is passionate about ecological research, monitoring, management and policy. Her experience leading staff has motivated her to provide mentorship to those entering the field and looking to make a difference. While she has a diverse background in wildlife biology, she has always worked best with cranky or smelly animals including delightful species like marten and Turkey Vultures.

Courtney Hughes


Courtney has dedicated her career to conservation, in both Alberta and internationally, with a focus on community-based approaches to coexisting with wildlife, educational outreach, citizen science, policy-making and planning.  Originally from northern Ontario, Courtney obtained a Concurrent Bachelor degree in Natural science and Science Education from Lakehead University, and taught elementary and secondary science and environmental education in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She was also an Instructor and Director of Superior Science, a non-profit children’s science, engineering and technology camp, working in schools and Indigenous communities across the north. She then completed her Master’s degree at Lakehead in Environmental Education, with research in Namibia at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Courtney then moved to Alberta to begin her career with the government, working in the environmental education and policy sections, and at the same time started her PhD in Conservation Biology at the University of Alberta. She also voluntarily worked over five years in Belize, with the Ministry of Education, to revise and implement the national primary school science curriculum and related teacher professional development. Courtney completed her PhD research on the social influences of grizzly bear conservation in Alberta in 2018, and since then has worked in the Landscape, Ecosystems and Conservation section in government, on wildlife, landscape, and parks planning, policy, and conservation projects, all of which include community-based collaboration and outreach. Some of her recent work includes a recreation ecology project, using cameras and other user-created data to quantify human use and wildlife impacts on recreational trails around Grande Cache, Alberta. Courtney has also taught a conservation social science and education module for Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation and Research Unit over the past decade, and through this she has developed friendships and projects in other countries, including in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Courtney is a founding board member of the Tanzania Research and Conservation Organization, co-leading applied research and community engagement on pangolin conservation, and is leading a Rotary Club partnership project on addressing human health and wellbeing. Courtney is also a research advisor for Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe, and B.C.’s Grizzly Bear Foundation.

Corey Scobie


Corey has been the Assistant Curator of Ornithology at the Royal Alberta Museum since 2014, where he prepares birds, manages the 40,000+ objects in the Ornithology collection, develops exhibits, participates in outreach activities and runs various research projects. Previously, Corey worked with Species at Risk in the grasslands of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where he focused on the influence of human development on Burrowing Owls. Outside of work, he enjoys growing food on almost every square meter of his yard in Edmonton as well as hunting and camping with family and friends. 

Lacey Hébert


Lacey has a Diploma in Environmental Technology from Vanier College in Montreal and a B.Sc. in Wildlife Biology from McGill University. Lacey is passionate about Canadian wildife conservation and her career path highlights that. Lacey has over 10 years experience in wildlife field research working with a variety of wildlife.  In her current role as Conservation Research Associate  at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo (WI/CZ),  she supports the burrowing owl headstarting program and the halfmoon hairstreak butterfly project by implementing and coordinating field work, applying for permits, managing data, and writing reports. Her 7-year career at the WI/CZ  provided her with the opportunity to support a variety of conservation translocation projects including greater sage-grouse translocations, burrowing owl headstarting program, as well as swift fox and black-footed ferret monitoring. In addition to working at the Wilder Institute, Lacey has worked for Parks Canada in Banff as a Human-Wildlife Conflict officer, and she has also been involved in several other conservation projects including monitoring wolves in Algonquin Provincial Park and supporting coyote and mule deer research in central Nevada. 

Remington Bracher

Student Director
Remington is a third-year Conservation Biology student at the University of Alberta and a recent graduate from NAIT’s Technical Conservation Biology program. After finishing his undergrad, he hopes to pursue a graduate program focusing on wildlife management and species 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 a committee member of The Parkland Pintails Chapter of Delta Waterfowl.

Mark Boyce

Conservation Affairs Committee Chair

Mark is Professor of Ecology and Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife at the University of Alberta.  He strives to ensure that sound science is used to inform wildlife management decisions, and supervises students working on population ecology, habitat selection, and conservation.  He has served as President of the ACTWS and is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and a Fellow of both The Wildlife Society and the Royal Society of Canada.

Margo Pybus


Dr. Margo Pybus spent the better part of a life-time learning from wildlife.  She was schooled early in life among the fields, forests, and marshes of southern Ontario and later in the prairie, foothill, mountain, parkland, and boreal landscapes of Alberta and beyond..

Margo received a B.Sc. in Fish and Wildlife Biology and M.Sc. in Wildlife Parasitology, both from the University of Guelph.  She holds a PhD in Wildlife Parasitology from the University of Alberta and is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, UofA.  Margo is on staff with Alberta Fish and Wildlife as the first Provincial Wildlife Disease Specialist. She leads high profile provincial wildlife disease surveillance and management programs, including chronic wasting disease, West Nile virus, avian influenza, and rabies.

Alberta TWS member since the Chapter founding in 1989. Former Chapter newsletter editor, President, student mentor, Dedicated Service and Rowan Distinguished Service award recipient, and ongoing reference/repository for many things chapter-related.

Lalenia Neufeld


Layla is a caribou biologist with Parks Canada in Jasper National Park, and has been the ACTWS webmaster since 2007.  Layla grew up in rural Alberta adjacent to Alberta’s green zone (without a lot of neighbours, but with a lot of sticks, rocks, and wildlife). She received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the University of Alberta, and is a former president of the University of Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society.  Layla’s M.Sc. thesis examined dynamics of Little Smoky caribou and wolves in west-central Alberta. Her work with Parks Canada takes her to picturesque locations throughout Canada’s National Parks and she’s a key member of the caribou research, monitoring, and recovery team in the Canadian Rockies National Parks. Layla enjoys hiking, biking, music, travel, biology, and loves the outdoors;  she is looking forward to re-exploring favourite places with her two young children in coming years.

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.