Welcome to our 2023 Winter Speaker Series! This year our theme is “Creatures Great and Small”
We chose four highly skilled and passionate naturalists who are studying creatures great and small which share our ecosystem in the Columbia Valley.
Here are the dates and topics for 2023:
January 12, 7 – 8 PM Mountain Time
Cat Cowen – The Grizzly Bear at Home: An Inside Glimpse on Bear Behavior and Conservation in Interior Mountain Ecosystems
Having started her journey gearing towards veterinary sciences, Cat Cowan’s plans changed upon meeting grizzly bears in Banff in 2011. Since then, Cat has focused her career on bears and has had many unique opportunities – both in wild and captive environments – giving her a unique perspective on bear behavior, their environment, needs, drivers, the role they play on the landscape, and the ever changing relationship between bears and people. Cat is currently the Manager of the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge and has been overlooking the wellbeing of Boo, Kicking Horse’s resident grizzly bear, since 2016.
During this presentation, Cat will be sharing her findings on individual behavior, what Boo has taught us over the years about welfare, interaction, habitat needs and how it compares to wild bears on the landscape. She will also be touching upon behavior and insight on local wildlife adapting to increased visitor and human activity in the Golden area, and how increased education and interpretation about bears ignites a change in perspective about how our wild world works as a whole.
Register here to participate in the Bear webinar.
January 26, 7 – 8 PM Mountain Time
Mirjam Barrueto – Wolverines in a changing landscape and warming climate
Mirjam is a wolverine researcher, PhD student, conservation biologist, climber, ultra-runner and back-country skier. As a child, wildlife and nature documentaries inspired her to become an adventurer and biologist. As a wildlife researcher she is passionate about exploring creative ways to make scientific research accessible to a broad audience, and to inspire others to get interested and involved in conservation themselves.
Mirjam is going to share her latest research about the fascinating opportunities and challenges faced by this top predator living at the top of the world.
Register here to participate in the Wolverine webinar.
February 9, 7 – 8 PM Mountain Time
Nick Laferriere – The small important things: Our local Pollinators
Nick believes that we are a part of nature, not apart from it. We are intertwined and woven within its fabric. If we can embrace our role as a keystone species, we could help to create a more beautiful world and regenerate our wilds. From a mentality of extraction to one of regeneration, reciprocity and mutualism.
Biodiversity is the key to life on this planet. Nature continues to strive for more and more species to occupy every available niche within its biosphere. If we nurture nature in our yards and our soils, we can offer our spaces back to nature, and invite the possibilities for life.
This all starts with native plants, the architects and foundation to which the rest of the ecological triangle rests upon. The more plant diversity, the more insects, amphibians, birds, mammals, fungi, lichen, mosses, and all manner of wild beings.
In this discussion, we’ll dive into the world of plant and insect interactions, and help you understand the complex life stories playing out all around you, all the time. From Bumblebee mimics, to the notorious Wasp’s critical role in the ecosystem, to herbivorous worms that turn to goo and emerge as a moth with no mouth that lives less than a week, the rabbit hole is infinitely deep and complex.
Register here to participate in the Pollinator webinar.
February 23 – 7 – 8 PM Mountain Time
Rhiannon Kirton – Elk in the Columbia Headwaters
Rhiannon is a Zoologist and outdoor enthusiast currently studying Elk in the Southern Columbia Valley for the Shuswap Indian Band.
Her undergraduate career, which provided the privilege of ecological field experiences around the globe, opened her eyes to the complexities of wildlife management and conservation and motivated me to delve into work that looks at how humans interact with and impact wildlife, as well as the need to incorporate social sciences into our work with wildlife.
Since her undergraduate degree was completed, she has been fortunate to work with and learn from wildlife biologists, conservation experts and other stakeholders from a diversity of backgrounds which has deeply broadened her perspectives on how we manage wildlife.
Rhiannon’s research interests include: large mammal ecology, human-wildlife conflict, landscape ecology, anthropogenic impacts, carnivore ecology, habitat connectivity and how we can learn from Indigenous peoples to achieve greater sustainability and biodiversity. She is currently working in the Columbia Headwaters area studying local Elk herds.
Register here to participate in the Elk webinar.