Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park, which combine as the world’s only International Peace Park, are jointly hosting a series of webinar speakers for the second-annual virtual Science and History Week.
The virtual presentations are replacing the annual Science and History Day that Parks Canada and the National Park Service held for 16 years. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, the agencies have transitioned to live webinars instead of in-person events for the second year running.
In 2020, the parks hosted the event as a four-day noon-hour webinar series that drew more than 450 participants from around the world. Virtual attendees learned about current research in the Crown of the Continent region.
This month, the parks are again offering a free series of live webinars.
The series will highlight current natural and cultural research topics related to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and World Heritage Site. Each presentation will provide viewers the opportunity to connect with park scientists and gain a unique perspective into the partnerships, insights, and latest findings and research that connect the two parks and their shared ecosystems.
“We are excited to once again offer the opportunity to bring Science and History Week presentations directly to interested visitors anywhere in the world through use of webinar technology,” Pete Webster, acting superintendent of Glacier National Park, said.
Waterton Lakes National Park Superintendent Sal Rasheed added: “Science and History Week celebrates the long-standing cooperation between Waterton and Glacier as we conduct research about our shared cultural and natural resources.”
The webinars will begin Monday, Sept. 13 and run through Thursday, Sept. 16, with all presentations beginning at noon and lasting approximately 45 minutes.
Participants may register for presentations by filling out the online registration forms on the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center website.
The following is a snapshot of featured presenters and topics:
Humans and Bigger Fires: How are Waterton’s Plant Communities Responding?
When: Monday, Sept. 13, 12-12:45 p.m.
Presenter: Dr. Jenny McCune, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge
Presentation Description: Waterton Lakes National Park is known for the beauty and diversity of its plants. We tend to think of plants as a green background that never changes, but plant communities are constantly changing. This talk will explore how Waterton’s plants have responded to increased recreation since the 1990s and to the Kenow Wildfire of 2017.
Waterton-Glacier International Dark Sky Park
When: Tuesday, Sept. 14, 12-12:45 p.m.
Presenters: Iree Wheeler, PhD Candidate, Utah State University; Ashley Wruth, Visitor Experience Product Development Officer, Waterton Lakes National Park; Mark Biel, Wildlife Biologist, Glacier National Park
Presentation Description: This presentation will discuss the efforts to protect night sky resources in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The Peace Park became the first transboundary dark sky park certified by the International Dark Sky Association.
Canada Lynx in Glacier National Park
When: Wednesday, Sept. 15, 12-12:45 p.m.
Presenter: Alissa Anderson, MS Candidate, Washington State University
Presentation Description: Alissa will discuss initial results and an overview of the study on Canada lynx distribution across Glacier National Park. While focusing on lynx, this study also collects data on other wildlife species. Preliminary results regarding recreation impacts on wildlife activity patterns will also be shared.
Supporting Indigenous-led Conservation and Restoration, and Indigenous Engagement from Paahtómahksikimi/Waterton Lakes National Park
When: Thursday, Sept. 16, 12-12:45 p.m.
Presenters: Kimberly Pearson, Nature Legacy Ecosystem Scientist, Waterton Lakes National Park; Carleigh Grier-Steward, Knowledge Weaver, Waterton Lakes National Park; Joseph Many Fingers, Indigenous Liaison Officer, Waterton Lakes National Park; Elliot Fox, Assistant Project Manager, Blackfoot Conferacy Trout Recovery Project
Presentation Description: Collaborating on Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, respecting Indigenous ways of knowing, and engaging meaningfully with Indigenous communities are keys to moving positively ahead together. Carleigh, Joseph, Elliot, and Kimberly will share examples of how Waterton Lakes National Park is demonstrating leadership in these areas.
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