Many Albertans identify with wild landscapes and in southwestern Alberta, the Castle region is iconic. The struggle for protection dates back more than a century, when the young government of Canada set aside much of the Eastern Slopes in Alberta as a forest reserve to protect water sources and to benefit future generations on the Prairies. For several decades in earlier times, the Castle was part of Waterton Lakes National Park.

Fast forward to January 20, 2017, the Alberta Government announced the establishment of the Castle and Wildland Provincial Parks. That all came about after years of advocacy and lobbying by many individual and groups, among them the Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition (CCWC) and Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y). The widely applauded protected area covers 105,500 hectares.

However, there are concerns and voices about what a protected area should look like. The speakers will present science-based research and area-focused surveys that suggest legally protecting the area is in the best long-term interest of Albertans, despite special interests concerns.

Speakers: Andrea Hlady and Connie Simmons

Andrea Hlady is passionate about working to protect our natural spaces. In her current role as President of the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition she leads a group of scientists, land-owners, and concerned citizens to use their voices and skills most effectively to advocate for legal… protection of the Castle Wilderness area in SW Alberta. Andrea has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Lethbridge and a Master’s of Arts in Philanthropy and Development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. In addition to her work in conservation, Andrea advises NGO’s on how to increase the numbers and strength of women supporters to the organizations. In 2013, she founded the Women Pronghorns Basketball Endowment fund at the University of Lethbridge.

Connie Simmons has been actively involved in watershed stewardship, environmental education, and activism for over 30 years. She has a PhD. from the University of Alberta within the discipline on environmental ethics and conservation history, and has used this focus to chart paths through many positions, including working as a coordinator for the First Nations led Keepers of the Athabasca; as Executive Director of the Athabasca Watershed Planning and Advisory Council; and as Planning Manager with the Oldman Watershed Council to complete the Oldman Headwaters Action Plan 2014. Currently, Connie is actively working with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative to bring their perspectives to the Draft Castle Management Plan process, and will be continuing her work with Y2Y as their Crown Program Coordinator.

Moderator:   Klaus Jericho

Date: Thursday, March 2, 2017 Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A) Location: Country Kitchen Catering (lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S Cost: $12.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea)

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