The Canadian Mountain Network NCE Planning Workshop Review
On January 11th, and 12th, 2016, the University of Alberta hosted a diverse group of over 50 Canadian researchers and community leaders interested in the sustainability of our mountains. We asked the question: Does Canada need a Canadian Mountain Network? The answer was an enthusiastic yes.
Workshop participants saw value in the concept of a network for the purposes of communication, collaboration, sharing opportunities, leveraging funding, data sharing, and inspiring one another. It became clear as the Workshop proceeded that attendees all agreed that mountain landscapes and communities are complex and interconnected and cannot be accurately studied without taking into account the bigger picture.
The Workshop agenda was comprised of speakers talking about what a Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) is and what an application would entail. Other speakers talked about their past experience managing an NCE. The Workshop was rounded out by a series of speakers talking about their research on mountains, and community and indigenous speakers expressing their concerns about mountain areas and their research needs. The workshop wrapped up with a series of break-out groups whose job it was to identify important mountain related themes. For more information on our Workshop, including downloadable presentations and notes, please visit our workshop page.
Workshop attendees came from all across the country including Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. Educational institutions represented included Universities of Guelph, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Calgary, British Columbia, Victoria, Simon Fraser, and Thompson Rivers; Aurora and Yukon College also attended. Government organizations attending were the Government of Canada (Parks Canada, Polar Knowledge Canada), the Government of Alberta (Alberta Government Ministries, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures), the Government of Yukon, and the Government of Northwest Territories. Community and indigenous representatives participated in our Workshop as well, including Council of Yukon First Nations, Stoney-Nakoda Nations, Sahtu Renewable Resources Board, and the Royal Alberta Museum.
A big thank-you must go out to all Workshop participants and presenters who shared their passion for our Canadian mountains with the group. Many thanks for taking time out of your schedule and to those of you who also travelled a great distance to spend the day with us. An important thank-you also goes out to Dr. David Hik for his tireless efforts to organize and facilitate this workshop along with the help of other U of A staff members including Betty Peavey, Crystal Moore, Jamie Bradshaw, and Maggie Glasgow. Finally, a heartfelt thank-you goes to the University of Alberta for hosting this important workshop and to our Dean of Science, Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer for supporting the formation of this Network.
If you are interested in becoming involved in the Canadian Mountain Network, or if you are just interested in staying informed of our development, please contact us and we can arrange a meeting or simply add your E-mail address to our newsletter list.
Christy Urban, Executive Director – Mountain Studies & Research Initiatives