2016 CASIOPA AGM

The 2016 CASIOPA AGM (October 20/21) was on Protected areas in a landscape context: Greater park ecosystems & Protected Areas in the Great Lakes (2016 CASIOPA AGM Oct 20-21 [word] or 2016 CASIOPA AGM Oct 20-21 [PDF]).

Hosted by the University of Waterloo, we had over 100 people participate over the 2 days.

After some opening remarks by Steve Murphy, Leala Pomfret-Schiller and Melody Cairns led on “Developing an ecological integrity strategy and action plan for provincial parks and conservation reserves”.  Because this is a work in progress, I have not posted the slides but, in summary, the discussion was focused around how to measure and then act on EI – no small task!

The discussion on the Policy and Planning Framework for the Far North initiative was quite lively as the OMNRF presentation (by Elaine Hardy & Adam King) gave the capacity crowd a lot of material to work with.  I managed to keep us on time but the enthusiasm for that discussion almost overwhelmed our note takers.  As with many presentations, the framework is in progress so the summary here is brief – all the more reason to attend the AGM as you get the full value.

Jim McLaughlin and Maara Packalen had an excellent presentation on how to plan and manage for Climate change Vulnerability in Protected Areas: The Example of the Hudson Bay Lowlands.  Places like Polar Bear Provincial Park are not visited by your typical park user but these protected areas are vital for polar bears (of course) and migratory birds.

Pictured below is Maara (during one of the networking breaks) giving advice to two undergraduate students from Steve Murphy’s home U Waterloo unit – the School of Environment, Resources & Sustainability.  We attracted a record number of students to this AGM!


We were fortunate to have an international speaker – Pua Bar, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev! She spoke on Protecting Landscapes for Environmental Sustainability:  The Example of Sand Dunes in Israel

We had quite the crowd out to dinner after day 1.  Much of the crowd you see below joined us for dinner.


Day 2 began with Parks Canada’s Scott Parker discussing “Great Lakes Protected Areas: Great Challenges, Great Opportunities”


Graham Bryan (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service) followed with his usual eloquence – a great talk titled “Standing on the Shore: The Extent of Protected and Other Conservation Lands within the Coastal Plain of the Lower Great Lakes”

New for CASIOPA, we had students doing “Lightning Talks” of 5 minutes; many participants indicated this was a favourite part of 2016′s AGM!  Our talks were by 3 stellar students:

  • Perceived human health & well-being benefits of diverse natural environments in Pinery Provincial Park: Catherine Reining, WLU
  • Restoring Coastal Lake Huron: Laura Williams, University of Waterloo
  • Turnabout – Using pest species for ecological restoration: Erin Palmer-Kirkham, University of Waterloo


Ed Morris of Ontario Parks Northeast Zone then regaled us with a series of excellent vignettes and a video on protected areas in the Far North.
European fire ants in protected areas are not good news but Carolyn Duthie, York University presented some excellent perspectives on the impact and management.

Double crested cormorants in Great Lakes protected areas? Yup.  Gail Fraser, York University, has been a fount of knowledge and presented a very insightful series of data that showed the impacts and best practices for management.

Rebecca Rooney (U Waterloo) took the AGM to a close with a terrific presentation on Biodiversity hotspots transformed by invasive grass. I’ll never look at Long Point BR or PP quite the same way again.

This entry was posted in Annual General Meetings
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