Students from the Lethbridge College Ecosystem Management class will be presenting on the following topics:
- "A GIS-based HSI Model for Beaver (Castor canadensis) in the Castle Parks" by Emma Larocque
Research continues to demonstrate that beaver can be an effectual and low cost tool for restoration and mitigation. However, there needs to be a better understanding of beaver habitat and occupation within Alberta before beaver can be used as an effective tool. The purpose of this research project was to create a Habitat Suitability Index to improve our understanding of potential beaver habitat within the Castle parks.
Emma LaRocque grew up on a ranch just outside of Waterton Lakes National Park and continues to spend most of her free time there. Watching the interactions between the land, livestock, and wildlife cultivated a deep appreciation for the natural world and a thirst for knowledge. Following her graduation from the Ecosystem Management degree program at Lethbridge College, Emma is looking forward to working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada as the Southern Foothills Natural Area Manager.
- "Comparing Sightability of Pronghorns Using Ground-Based and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Surveys" by Loren Seitz
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly useful for wildlife research. UAVs are useful tools that are cost-effective, efficient, safe, and allow access to areas that are difficult to reach by foot or vehicle. UAVs have been used to observe large terrestrial mammals, aquatic wildlife, and birds. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an UAV for pronghorn surveys within southeastern Alberta using a DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter in conjunction with a Zenmuse Z3 zoom camera. The study compares sightability of pronghorn populations using ground-based and UAV-based surveys while expanding upon existing knowledge on the effectiveness of UAVs for wildlife surveys.
I was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta where I developed a passion for nature and wildlife under the influence of my parents. I have been working with Alberta Environment and Parks with the Aquatic Invasive Species Program for the past three summers. During my time at school, I have developed a passion for drones and have been fascinated with their endless applications for wildlife research. I will be graduating this spring and I plan on doing some travelling before I begin my master’s degree. My goal is to apply my passion for wildlife and drones to a research project that will expand current knowledge on the use of drones for wildlife research applications.
- "Factors Influencing the Geographic Shift in Location of Sharp-Tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) Lekking Grounds." by Vincent Capuano
As habitat loss and fragmentation are growing concerns within the native prairie grassland, information regarding its impact on local species is beneficial to the conservation of these species, such as sharp-tailed grouse. Five sharp-tailed grouse lek sites within, and seven leks outside of, the Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area, located west of Warner, Alberta, were assessed using on site survey data, supplemented with annual survey data provided by Alberta Environment & Parks. Leks were located utilizing historical GPS coordinates provided by Alberta Environment & Parks, as well as auditory and visual cues. Once located, a count of active birds at each site was recorded and compared to that of the Alberta Environment & Parks datasets. With an average of ~10 more birds attending leks within the natural area, and the overall populations of these leks remaining fairly stable, it can be concluded that the Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area offers better habitat selection for sharp-tail populations than the increasingly cultivated surrounding areas. The objective of this study is to help determine population trends of sharp-tail grouse lekking habitat on protected land verses habitat located on an unprotected landscape. In determining these trends, it may lead to the conservation of important sharp-tailed grouse lekking habitat that may not currently be protected; as well as, provide beneficial information regarding sharp-tail grouse population trends within these habitats.
Growing up in the mountains of British Columbia, Vince spent most of his childhood hiking, fishing, and exploring the outdoors. Having an interest in wildlife from a very young age, Vince has always wanted work with different animals. Completing his degree in ecosystem management is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a wildlife biologist and studying unique wildlife from around the world.
Everyone is welcome to attend LNS events! Donations are gratefully accepted to support the Society's ongoing activities. Please share this event with friends who may be interested in learning more about ecosystem management.
Cover photo by Ken Orich.