The Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society (ACTWS) will be coming to Lac La Biche from March 17th to 19th for its annual conference.
Hosted in the Bold Centre and partnering with Portage College, the event is expected to bring in 200-250 attendees showcasing some of the research that has been undertaken throughout Alberta. The conference provides an opportunity for government, private, academic, and student wildlife professionals to exchange information, and update each other about research, management, and monitoring being undertaken across the province. This year’s theme is “The effects of fire on our landscape and wildlife”.
“I’m excited to have the Alberta Chapter coming north of Edmonton for the first time, and landing in our backyard in Lac La Biche,” said area resident Dr. Elston Dzus, a Director with ACTWS and an Ecologist with Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., “North Eastern Alberta has been a hub of wildlife research and monitoring for many decades. Alberta-Pacific has been proud to sponsor much of that research and so this conference is a unique opportunity to showcase some of the research that has been undertaken in North Eastern Alberta.”
Everett Hanna, ACTWS member and Instructor of Fisheries and Wildlife Science at Portage College says, “A lot of times the University of Alberta field school comes up here to do their field component as well as many researchers from U of A and University of Calgary do their field research up here, so it’s fitting that people are descending on Lac La Biche for other purposes. Bringing that scientific community here, not for data collection but for socializing and presentation, is an interesting perspective.”
“We have an ability to showcase the talents of the faculty, our students, and the quality of our programs,” says Guy Gervais, Associate Vice President Academic at Portage College, “We are proud of our communities and the nature that surrounds us. When given an opportunity to share what we have learned, it’s in our mission to do so.”
Friday’s activities will consist of workshops in native arts and culture, winter wildlife tracking, owl trapping and banding, as well as a tour of local Al-Pac harvesting sites. Saturday and Sunday will see delivery of scientific talks from students and professionals about wildlife research occurring in Alberta and North America, including wildlife response to changing landscapes, wildlife inventory, predator-prey interactions, and human dimensions in wildlife management.
Larry Roy, President of ACTWS says “The conference rotates around the province, and if things go well, Lac La Biche would be on the rotation list for the future.”