Jessica Needham | Youth Advisory Council Coordinator, Ducks Unlimited Canada
Projects in Action Workshops (Saturday morning)
Jessica is currently the Youth Advisory Council Coordinator for Ducks Unlimited Canada. She has the privilege of working with youth from across Canada who are helping to shape the future of conservation and youth engagement at DUC. Jessica is also a part of the National Education Team at Ducks Unlimited Canada, where she helps to develop and deliver educational programming.
In recent years, Jessica has been conducting research on how to transform local knowledge into spatial data that can be used to help make conservation decisions. She completed the Master of Environmental Studies program and a BSc in Environmental Science at Dalhousie University.
Erinn Drage | Programme Officer, International Union for Conservation of Nature - World Commission on Protected Areas
Youth Environmental Action Panel (Saturday Morning)
Erinn Drage is an environmentalist, filmmaker, protected areas enthusiast and outdoor adventure guide. In recent years Erinn has worked as an expedition guide in the Arctic and Antarctica, directed, shot, and edited digital media series’ for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and conducted research on nature-based tourism economies in the Denali region of Alaska.
Her first feature-length documentary, In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors, follows the story of the Sahtú Dene and the Canol Trail in the Northwest Territories. She currently works full-time in international conservation policy with Parks Canada and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), while pursuing her other passions by writing and editing film projects on the side.
Lisa Dryden | Environmental Innovation and Research Advisor, Vertex Resource Group Ltd.
Innovation Gallery (Saturday morning)
Lisa Dryden, Environmental Innovation and Research Advisor with Vertex Resource Group Ltd., holds a BSc. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences, majoring in Land Reclamation from the University of Alberta, and a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) Designation in Alberta. She started her career as an Environmental Scientist where she consulted on remediation and reclamation projects for upstream oil and gas.
Also working in the non-profit world, she fostered relationships that promoted an industry association and the environment industry with other industry sectors and levels of government. Lisa currently works in Research and Development at Vertex Resource Group Ltd., focusing on managing and expanding projects that better the environment industry and promotes the company’s long-term success.
Paige Kuczmarski | Invasive Species Technician, Alberta Invasive Species Council
Round Tables (Friday afternoon)
Born and raised in Edmonton, Paige has become a ’Jill of all trades’ with invasive species. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from MacEwan University in 2017 where she was first introduced to invasive species through multiple research projects with garlic mustard and forest tent caterpillars. Soon after, Paige started a position with Alberta Agriculture where she focused on a flowering rush control project and creating the coveted ’Aquatic Invasive Species Pocket Guide’.
Since then, contracts with Alberta Environment and Parks have brought her all over the province for fieldwork as well as allowed her knack for creating punny education and outreach methods to grow. In 2021, she joined the Alberta Invasive Species Council as an Invasive Species Technician where she organizes the Biocontrol Release Program, social media initiatives and everything else under the invasive species sun!
Vicki Lightbown | Director, Water Innovation Program | Alberta Innovates
Water Futures Panel (Friday 10:30-11:30)
Vicki Lightbown is the Director for the Water Innovation Program at Alberta Innovates. She is a Professional Engineer with a BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary.
Vicki loves the outdoors and is driven by her desire to support initiatives to improve the environment. Her role with Alberta Innovates allows her to work proactively to identify critical knowledge gaps and support world-class researchers in developing solutions for some of the biggest water challenges in Alberta.