2020 Winter Webinars

The 2020 Winter Webinar Series is now complete. 

For the 2020 winter season, we offered 4 webinars on the theme of “Biodiversity in the Kootenays”

Webinar descriptions, presenter bios and recordings are below:


WEBINAR 1 This webinar has completed.

Getting to know Grebes: Different Species and how they link to Wetland Health & Conservation with Rachel Darvill
Thursday, February 13, 10am-11am PST/11am-noon MST


Webinar description: Rachel Darvill will be speaking about the five different marsh bird species that we can find in the Columbia Basin that are often lumped as “grebe spp.”  She will explain how to tell the difference between grebes in the field (both in breeding and non-breeding plumage), where we can typically find them, what kinds of habitats they use and require, as well as the listed status that three of five grebe species have. Rachel has been working on bird research projects in the Columbia Wetlands for the past five years. She will speak to some of the results of her projects as they relate to grebes, and describe how marsh birds can be important biological indicators of healthy wetland systems and how grebes may be useful in designating the Columbia Wetlands into the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) program. Some recommendations for what can be done to conserve these birds in the Columbia Valley into the future will be provided, including ideas for wetland conservation and restoration.

Rachel is a Registered Professional Biologist and principal consultant of Goldeneye Ecological Services.  She has been working on wildlife research and conservation projects for more than two decades.  Most recently she developed and managed two multi-year bird research projects in the Columbia Wetlands, the Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey (CWWS) and the Columbia Wetlands Marsh Bird Monitoring Project, both of which have recently concluded. Some of her past bird work includes research on common ravens using radio telemetry in both the Alaskan Arctic and Washington State, working at a banding station on Triangle Island (largest seabird colony in western Canada), along with assessing seabird food habits and conducting chick growth measurements on Triangle and on ecological reserves on Gwaii Haanas National Park.  She has also worked on numerous other wildlife projects including gray whale research on BCs West Coast, and on grizzly bear projects in Banff National Park and in Haines, Alaska. Rachel currently sits on the board of the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners and Wildsight Golden, and is currently working on research projects leading towards conservation outcomes in the Columbia Valley.

WEBINAR 2 This webinar has completed.

“We Should Plant Meadows”: A Systems Approach to Recovering Pollinator Pathways with Valerie Huff
Wednesday, February 26, 10am-11am PST/11am-noon MST


Webinar description: The “single most effective action” we can take to conserve pollinators, according to the Xerces Society for Insect Conservation, is to plant meadows. Recent concerns about declines in pollinating insects are paralleled by concerns about concurrent declines in native plants. Plant-pollinator interactions are being increasingly recognized as an endangered mutualism. Plant and pollinator communities must be considered together for effective conservation of either, as well as for the continuation of the benefits that spread through the ecosystem and beyond. In this webinar with Valerie Huff, you will explore the glorious diversity of plants, insect pollinators and pollination networks. Local examples will highlight the beauty and complexity of pollination systems through time and space. The importance of taking a systems approach to recovery, particularly in the face of climate disruption, will be discussed. You will learn how the Kootenay Native Plant Society has been working toward plant and pollinator conservation, as well as ways to participate in reconnecting and recovering pollinator pathways in the Columbia Basin.

Valerie Huff is a restoration botanist who shares her passion for plants through her consulting work and as a member of the Kootenay Native Plant Society (KNPS), which she co-founded in 2012. A Kootenay resident for over 25 years, she has a BSc degree in Agriculture (Guelph) and a Diploma in the Restoration of Natural Systems and a MSc degree in Ecological Restoration (both at UVic).  With Lynn Westcott and Eva Johansson, KNPS started a Native Plants for Native Pollinators program in 2013, producing a poster “Protecting Pollinators in the Columbia Basin” and outreach programs to teach people how to conserve the intricate plant-pollinator relationships both in the wild and in our yards.  She has also co-founded Kinseed to provide seeds, plants and mentoring to help people rewild local spaces with carefully collected ecotypic seeds.

WEBINAR 3 This webinar has completed.

An Evidence-to-Action Approach for Carnivore Coexistence in Adapt-or-Die Landscapes with Clayton Lamb
Wednesday, March 4, 10am-11am PST/11am-noon MST


Webinar description: Coexistence with large carnivores is one of the greatest conservation challenges across the globe, in part because mechanisms of coexistence are unknown or contested. In North America, grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) typify the human struggle to conserve and coexist with large carnivores amongst a matrix of competing land uses. While grizzly bears are a symbol of wildness to society, the management of this species can divide communities, derail collaborative conservation initiatives, and are the focus of high-profile media coverage and lawsuits. At the centre of this controversy is scientific uncertainty around population dynamics of the species, primarily relating to population size, limiting factors, and the ecology of conflict. The goal of Clayton’s work was to test the factors limiting grizzly bear population dynamics across ecosystems, update local population estimates, and to identify the mechanisms promoting carnivore coexistence and those exacerbating it. In this webinar, Clayton provides insight into the response of bear density to mitigation measures for reducing road density and highlight several cases where evidence from this dissertation lead to meaningful conservation actions that will benefit bears, a variety of wildlife inhabiting similar areas, and people.

Clayton Lamb is a postdoctoral researcher at the Universities of British Columbia and Montana and attained his PhD from the University of Alberta. His work focuses on identifying the factors driving changes in wildlife populations — both those that increase and decrease abundances. He has worked on diverse, international projects that range from the small, climate-change threatened American pika, to inter-provincial wolverine DNA analyses, through to grizzly bear population ecology across five mountain ranges. When not collecting grizzly bear hair, he spends his time in the backcountry biking, fishing and hiking. His fervent passion for wildlife and mountainous places originated with his love for backcountry recreation and has evolved into dedicating his career to the conservations and preservation of wildlife and their habitat in these environments.

WEBINAR 4 This webinar has completed.

Back to the Basics: Re-evaluating Bat Boxes based on Bat Needs with Cori Lausen
Thursday, March 12, 10am-11am PST/11am-noon MST


Webinar description: Bat houses (or more aptly described as bat boxes) are popular across the continent. But are they beneficial or harmful for bats over the long haul? There is growing concern that these structures can act as ecological sinks in some cases. For example, anecdotal and published reports of bats overheating in bat boxes raises a red flag concerning these anthropogenic roosts in a changing climate. Cori will revisit the roles that bat boxes can play in habitat mitigation and present critical background information that sets the stage for understanding problems associated with bat boxes and what might be done. She will also explore the advantages and disadvantages of bat boxes, and fundamental issues we need to address when considering artificial bat habitat.

Based in Kaslo, Cori Lausen is a bat research and conservation biologist, and an Associate Conservation Scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. With a PhD in bat landscape genetics and roosting ecology and a MSc in bat ecophysiology and behaviour from the University of Calgary, Cori has captured over 15,000 bats and over 30 bat species, been contracted to do bat-related work for numerous Canadian and U.S. agencies, led dozens of bat-related scientific projects, authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles and government reports, and is the recipient of 15 academic and conservation awards. In 2011, Cori joined WCS Canada, which has an on-the-ground program in the West Kootenays that aims to bolster bat populations pre-WNS and set the stage for quicker population recovery post-WNS.


Recordings of past webinars can be accessed below: