This course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of conservation in Alberta – from a historical perspective on the importance of protecting wilderness and species at risk, to a practical understanding of an individual’s local impact. We will begin with conservation on a landscape scale, including the establishment of our protected areas system, land use and conservation issues in Alberta, and a review of international conservation standards. We will then focus on specific issues in Alberta such as the boreal forest, headwaters protection, caribou, and Indigenous-led conservation. Finally, students will learn about conservation in action: on-the-ground efforts being made in the province, including the Defend Alberta Parks campaign, opposition to open pit coal mining in the eastern slopes, proposals for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, the fight to save a herd of wood bison, and local issues such as protection of Edmonton’s river valley as a National Urban Park.
***N.B. This class will run from January 18 to January 27 and continue from February 8 to March 3, 2022.
Kecia Kerr is an ecologist with a background in research and teaching. She has a PhD in Biology through the Neotropical Environment Program from McGill University. She obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor’s degree from UBC. She has conducted ecological research on a variety of organisms, from plankton to gray whales, in Canada, the USA, Latin America and Australia. She has worked in the conservation non-profit sector since becoming Executive Director of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Northern Alberta in June 2017. She and the rest of the team at CPAWS Northern Alberta who will be teaching in the course are conservation professionals with backgrounds in science. At CPAWS Northern Alberta the focus is on conservation issues in Alberta from Red Deer to the border with NWT.