Parks and Protected Areas Research Group Newsletter

    Volume 1, Number 4

"Scoping and feasibility study about knowledge acquisition, centralization and dissemination of parks and protected areas research for Alberta; with emphasis on the Eastern Slopes"
This proposal is being implemented as a scoping and feasibility project governed by the Parks and Protected Areas Research Group (PPARG) and funded by the Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) at Mount Royal University (MRU).  This project specifically addresses the PPARG goal “to act as a repository for information, data and translation into usable formats”.  This project aims to contribute to:
  1. The reduction of information gaps about PPA by determining capacity gaps;
  2. The development of an integrated repository to centralize existing and ongoing research for access by researchers and parks practitioners and;
  3. The compilation of current data about the Eastern Slopes to present in a useful and accessible format.
These project goals have been determined with through discussion between members and with a final observation that, as far as can be identified, there exists no one system or organization that has assumed the role of data acquisition, centralization and dissemination of research about parks and protected areas (PPA) in Western Canada. This has proved problematic since research about PPA is being performed by governments, academics and non-profit researchers, with little ability for the information to do much more than reach a small and specialized group of readers.

At our meeting in March we broke into discussion groups and began defining steps for the scoping project.  Results from the discussions emphasized key points for project consideration:
  1. It is possible that the funding opportunity from IES may not be sufficient to meet the complete project needs.  It is suggested we consider other types and forms of funding;
  2. Do we want this project to focus on a research portal or do we want our group to act as curators of PPA research. A main concern is that we do not want to duplicate “Google”;
  3. How far into the past should the repository of parks research go?  It was suggested we begin with the present and then each year also go one year backward in time;
  4. We should work with other groups that already have a function accumulating parks related research such as the Bow Valley Biosphere Institute;
  5. What about including the hard copies that only exist on shelves and not in digital format?
  6. The IT person will be a key to the project and we feel that there is currently a lack of expertise from within group members
  7. It was suggested that we consider gathering information using informal or formal surveys, online questionnaires or each member taking back questions to their own organizations.
 8. PPARG includes members from the following organizations. Is there a need for this from these organizations:

-The Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA)
-The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)
-Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
-The Miistakis Institute
-Alberta Provincial Parks
-Alberta Provincial Parks Social Science WG
-Mount Royal University
-University of Calgary
-University of Alberta
-Environmental, tourism and recreation companies
"A Thinking Person's Guide America's National Parks" Robert Manning, Rold Diamant, Nora Mitchell, David Harmon

Therefore, it is the motivation of PPARG to determine what gaps exist for research about PPA, what research is available, centralize it, and make it all available to researchers and practitioners that are interested in topics related to protected areas, especially in Alberta.  It is also the goal of this proposed project to provide a site and repository where interested people may go to access this information and remain current about issues related to Albertan parks and protected areas. In the end, one outcome of this research proposal will also provide current research about the Eastern Slopes of Alberta in one accessible location.  We will continue discussing and finalizing this feasibility and scoping project at the next PPARG meeting.

 Under Western Skies Presentation Proposal 

The 4th biannual Under Western Skies (UWS) conference will be held September 27-30, 2016 at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Parks and Protected Areas Research Group have had the proposal accepted to host a concurrent session featuring four papers presented by its members immediately followed by a poster session on September 28, 2016. The purpose of the two sessions is to raise awareness of the PPARG’s scope, goals and activities. Speakers of the session are to be selected from the PPARG's members. 

To participate as speaker, or for any input/inquiry, Contact Kathy Retie at 
The sessions are co-hosted by the PPARG and the Institute for Environmental Sustainability.

Call for Abstracts: Parks and Protected Areas Poster Session

We welcome poster abstract submissions on the following topics:

-    Ecotourism within parks and protected areas
-    Climate change and the future of parks and protected areas
-    Protection of water resources
-    Protection of species
-    Visitor experience
-    Policy and Governance
-    Buffer zones, connectivity, and cross border issues

The deadline for the Call for Abstracts for the poster session is 30 June 2016. Both research and information posters are encouraged.  Students presenting posters can attend both of the PPARG sessions free of charge.  When submitting your abstract, please indicate in your email if you are a student. Abstract word limit is 250 words. 

Posters should measure 30” wide X 42” high (portrait) or 42” wide X 30” high (landscape). Please submit poster abstracts no later than midnight on 30 June 2016 to

Cross-cultural aspects of human wildlife deprivation is important for understanding wildlife encounters. Anna Korwin Kowalewska's research, funded by the Institute for Environmental Sustainability, suggests that cultural factors in different geographical contexts can profoundly affect the contents of unconscious knowledge. Her inquiry into the emic perspective of various cultures – about perceptions and conceptions of large carnivores - emphasizes connecting different disciplines to mainstream human wildlife deprivation research. In this talk, presented March 18 at the PPARG meeting, Anna discussed the underlying factors behind human’s attitudes toward wildlife. Further, she drew on how cross-cultural analysis can help probe and better evaluate human wildlife Interactions.

Canadian Parks Council: 2016 Parks System Leadership  Course 

  • Parks System Leadership Course: 6 week pre-course and week-long site visit in Fall 2016 to be held in Bow Valley
  • This is a non-academic course with a focus on problem-based learning.  The problem-learning based question is not set yet. Course facilitators: Eric Vaul, Ruth Coleman, Alice McGilvery, Steven Fleming.
  • The host team is made up of Alberta Parks staff in partnership with Mount Royal University. 
  • This year's challenge looks at Indigenous, community and partner relationships through adaptive and inclusive leadership.
  • 3 MRU students are hired as Program Assistants. Institute for Environmental Sustainability has partnered with Canadian Parks Council in hiring the students. 
  • Visit The Course Brochure, and the Course Website for more information.
  • For partnership ideas, contact Don Carruthers Den Hoed.
Philip Dearden is a professor and chair of geography at the University of Victoria. He is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas of IUCN and has been active in the planning and management of protected areas in many different countries, especially in Asia. He is the chair of Canada's Working Group on Marine Protected Areas under the Ocean Management Research Network and co-chair of Parks Canada's NMCA Marine Science Network. He is particularly interested in incentive-based conservation in marine environments and zoning and has an active research program on the topic in Southeast Asia. He is the co-author of Environmental Change and Challenge: A Canadian Perspective also published by Oxford University Press Canada. Rick Rollins is a faculty member in the Department of Recreation and Tourism at Malaspina University College and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria. His teaching and research deal with recreation behaviour and management in natural settings. Mark Needham is an associate professor at Oregon State University and the Gene D. Knudson Chair in Forestry Education. He also serves as director of the Natural Resources, Tourism, and Recreation (NATURE) Studies Lab. He is the editor of the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife. His research interests include the human dimensions of natural resources, recreation, tourism, and wildlife; the social psychology of natural resource issues, marine and terrestrial parks and protected areas; ski area management, norms, and standards of quality; and carrying capacity and crowding.

PPARG Interim Chair for 2016/17 

Barb McNicol will be going on Sabbatical effective June 15, 2016 to September 2017. A call for the Interim Chair for 2016/2017 was announced in the PPARG March 2016 Meeting. We are now pleased to announce that Dr. Sonya Jakubec has accepted the appointment of the PPARG Interim Chair for the 2016/2017 period. Dr. Jakubec is Associate Professor at School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, Community, and Education, Mount Royal University. She is the co-investigator of "The Place of Parks and Nature at End of Life" Research Project. 

 PPARG 2016 Summer Meeting

Meeting Time:  August 2016, (exact date TBD)
Meeting Location: Mount Royal University, (room TBD)
Coffee and Light Refreshments will be served.

Member's Profile: Caren Dymond 

Caren is a forest ecologist with a background in carbon modelling, natural disturbances, ecological modelling and geomatics. She has a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in Ecology from the University of Calgary and is a Professional Agrologists. After finishing her masters, Caren started her career in a landscape ecology lab at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Since then, she worked for the Canadian Forest Service on various projects over eight years.
Joining the BC Forest Service in 2008 as a Forest Carbon and Climate Change Research Scientist, Caren has two main research programs. 1. Accounting and forecasting the impact of different management choices and climate change on the ecological goods and services of forests. 2. Understanding the carbon footprint and sustainability of forest products. Using this knowledge, she leads and collaborates on developing evidence-based policy for BC.

Although her research has not been focused on parks and protected areas, Caren’s happy she’s found a group of friendly people to talk research and science with. In 2014, Caren and her husband moved back to Calgary where she works from home with occasional trips to Victoria. They’ve been enjoying spending lots of time with family, including a niece and nephew who are both toddlers, old friends, and hiking or cross country skiing in the mountains. 

More information on her work can be found here:

CPAWS takes Mike Morrison (#Mikebloggity) to Kananaskis for a deep powder experience

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