We are the Centre for Applied Science In Ontario Protected Areas (CASIOPA)

We provide state of the science workshops and networking for all those interested in protected areas, with an emphasis for solutions based on social, natural, and physical science for best practices in all types of protected areas.

The Board of CASIOPA is designed to provide a broad perspective on what CASIOPA should do and become with respect to applied science and research in protected areas.

Board Members:

On February 1, 2009 The Parks Research Forum of Ontario (PRFO) segued into the Centre for Applied Sciences in Ontario Protected Areas (CASIOPA). The Parks Resrearch Forum of Ontario (PRFO) was CASIOPA’s antecedent (1996-2009) and was stewarded by founder Gordon Nelson (ret: University of Waterloo), John Marsh (ret: Trent University), Tom Beechey (still active with CCEA), and Bill Stephenson (ret: Parks Canada). They were joined along the way by Bob Davidson (ret: Ontario Parks), Michael Troughton (deceased and missed by CASIOPA; Western University), Paul Zorn (Parks Canada – recent news here, here, and here), Brian Hutchinson (ret: Parks Canada; now working in consulting), Tom Nudds (ret: University of Guelph), Brian Craig (ret: Environment Canada and Parks Canada; now adjunct with the School of Environment, Resources & Sustainability, U Waterloo, and very active with Long Point and environs), & Bill Crins (ret: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry). The steering committee created a terrific venue for parks and protected areas research that has been emulated in 3 provinces now. They were ably assisted over the years by then-students Ken van Osch, Stephanie Janetos, Chris Lemieux & Jim Porter.

By 2008-2009, the economy was in terrible shape and the foci of those who worked in parks and protected areas was shifting; our final PRFO AGM in 2008 was useful and got positive feedback but we noted people had problems making the meeting because, for example, in that year, the prescribed burn season coincided with the meeting and dozens of would-be attendees needed to focus on that. As the original steering committee retired, the new steering committee decided on the path that became CASIOPA.  PRFO had focused a lot of effort and resources on publishing because there was more latitude to have participants to take time during their work schedules to write up proceedings for PRFO – you will still find those in our Publications archives.  Additionally, before the 2000s, the best way to communicate was via print; that model sure has changed a lot (in our case, it means far less expenses and the haunting irony of printing many copies that usually meant a lot of harvesting of trees – there is nothing inherently wrong with forestry, but CASIOPA should have a smaller ecological footprint).

By 2009, there was more interest and incentive to promote real-time learning and research applications. So CASIOPA was created and shifted the focus to more active research, applications of research, workshops and an AGM. CASIOPA still offers reports and the presentations (when we have permission from authors) based on our AGMs, workshops, research, & experiential learning events. CASIOPA has delivered as a venue for professionals and students to come together to brainstorm about new research ideas.  The process normally has been that the research is then implemented and the researchers return to later CASIOPA meetings to report on the results and actions, and receive feedback from colleagues.

Trillium Woods PP - southeast of Beachville and southwest of Woodstock; photo by S Murphy

Statement of ethics and integrity of use of materials on this website. As is standard, posts on the CASIOPA website or twitter feed represent the best interpretation based on our meetings.  They may not reflect the opinion of each and every board member or meeting participant – no blanket endorsement applies.  We endeavour to have permission to use text and images that remain the IP of the original presenter or owner.  Visitors will note that the summaries of CASIOPA talks are often verbatim or close summaries from the slides of presenters – all such text is used with permission and should not be construed as an attempt to pass off such text as wholly novel.  Images often prove difficult to properly track in terms of provenance – while most images are either posted with permission of presenters or were taken by CASIOPA Board members, we do lease or buy images at times and maintain the copyright notices of those owners unless otherwise instructed.  Should CASIOPA have been sold images purportedly owned by the seller but in fact the property of a different party, please inform the Chair immediately – stephen.murphy [at] uwaterloo.ca – and recompense or removal will occur as soon as proof of ownership is established.  The problem is such that I have found photos I’ve taken of parks that have been passed off by someone as theirs – the user or purchaser none the wiser.


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