CPAWS Southern Alberta Staff


Anne-Marie Syslak, Executive Director
Anne-Marie Syslak is the Executive Director of the Southern Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Anne-Marie has a B.Sc, a B.Ed, and a M.Sc. in Environmental Education and has worked in the municipal and the ENGO sectors with respect to the environment for the past sixteen years. In 2004, she joined CPAWS working in the education department and in 2009 assumed the role of Executive Director. In recent years, much of her focus has been spent on leadership development. Anne-Marie’s enthusiasm for the environment translates through her leadership and is grounded in strong science and educational principles. Her recent work has concentrated much of her attention towards parks, particularly the national parks in and around Alberta. Anne-Marie has a particular passion for native plants and art. When not reviewing guidelines for park development and activities, Anne-Marie can be found on the ski and hiking trails, wondering over wildflowers or camping with her family.

Katie Morrison, Conservation Director

Katie Morrison, Conservation Director for CPAWS SAB joined the team in January 2013.  Katie is a Professional Biologist who has been working in the environmental sector for over 14 years.  She holds a B.Sc. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Environmental Design from the University of Calgary.  Katie has worked in Canada and Latin America for university research projects, nongovernmental organizations, and environmental consulting companies. She has an in-depth understanding of conservation, ecology, stakeholder consultation and mitigating the environmental impacts of human development.  Katie’s academic and professional experience allows her to work on designing adaptive management solutions towards achieving landscape conservation and healthy communities in Southern Alberta. Katie spends her free time gardening, creating textile art, travelling and exploring urban and wild places with her dog.

Kirsten Olson, 
Office and Fund Program Administrator

Kirsten joined CPAWS in October, 2013 as our Office and Fund Administrator. She has over 15 years of experience in not-for-profit administration, including six years as Executive Director of the Legal Archives Society of Alberta. Although she is more likely to be found at a concert or a museum than camping or hiking, Kirsten feels strongly that our natural environment should be protected.  She grew up on a farm near Cremona, Alberta and spent many childhood hours exploring grasslands, marshes and woods. After having children of her own she felt a strong need to help conserve our wild places and natural habitats so that they would be there for future generations. Kirsten has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Calgary and has travelled extensively in Asia and Europe, including extended two year stays in England and Japan. She lives in Calgary with her husband, two children, a cat, a dog, and a gecko.

Jaclyn Angotti, Education Director

Jaclyn Angotti, Education Director for CPAWS SAB, joined the team in June 2015.  Jaclyn is an Environmental Educator with over six years of experience leading science and environmental education programs with a variety of organizations including the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton, the Bow Habitat Station, the Calgary Science Centre and the Calgary Zoo. She has a BSc. in Biology with a Business minor from the University of Alberta and a Graduate Certificate in Education for the Environment from the University of Calgary. Her passion for connecting others with nature is integral to everything she does. Jaclyn grew up on an acreage outside of Strathmore where she explored nature, played with her dogs and cats and helped grow garden and greenhouse crops. Jaclyn is passionate about animals, nature, gardening, food, people, teaching, learning, travel, languages and life! In her spare time Jaclyn can be found cooking, baking, gardening and exploring Calgary with her husband.

Alex Mowat, Hiking Guide

Alex joined the CPAWS team in September 2009 and excitedly works with students each spring and fall. Grizzly bears, lichens, woodpeckers, beavers - and all the wonders that nature has to offer - are magical to him. He was born in Calgary, has a B. A. in Psychology and worked for a decade with international students at the U of C. In 2004, Alex moved out to the Canadian Rockies and he has been involved in environmental advocacy, parks and guiding work every since. He is certified as a professional interpretive guide by the Interpretive Guiding Association and feels blessed to be sharing and learning about the wonders of natural diversity each day. Alex has a new found passion for birds this year, combined with his long-time connection to grizzlies. When he is not trail-running or headed into the backcountry, he can be found sitting in what he calls a “nature sweet spot” - observing and listening - to an orchestra, for which there is no need of a ticket!
Julie Walker, Hiking Guide
Julie Walker has been a hiking guide and outdoor educator for over 20 years. She started out with Elderhostel and has been working backwards with adult and kids programs since then. She has her own company, Full Circle Adventures (FCA) where her philosophy of "connecting people with nature" is best expressed. Julie started working with schools in 2008 with FCA and most recently worked with the Weaslehead Glenmore Park Preservation Society running Grade 3 to 8 programs. Her specialty is edible and medicinal plants and the human/natural history connection. She was a discretionary participant at the Sullivan Petro-Canada hearings two years ago arguing for preservation of the grasslands south of Longview based on the ecological integrity of the land and its historic and cultural value to Albertans.

Justin Howse, Hiking Guide
Justin has been involved in the outdoor industry for over five years, and has spent a lifetime in the many wild places of this country. He has a Diploma in Biological Sciences specializing in Renewable Resources from NAIT, and is a Professional Interpretive Hiking Guide with the Interpretive Guides Association. He is trained in Wilderness First Aid 80 hour, CPR-C, Wilderness Survival, Avalanche AST1, along with ASIST Suicide Intervention. With his experience in the outdoors, Justin feels blessed to share his love of the environment with the people who join him on CPAWS hiking programs. When not leading a group through the many hiking trails the Rockies have to offer, he can be found practicing martial arts or ice climbing in the mountains.

 Lauren Bally, Hiking Guide

Lauren moved to the Calgary area from Sydenham Ontario two years ago. What brought her here? All things Winter! Skiing, Snowshoeing, Skating, Tobogganing, Snowball fights, Snowperson making etc. It turns out she really likes the summer too. Wildflowers are a big highlight of the warmer months. She says it's like a rainbow fell onto the mountains. Her love of the wilderness began at 12 when she went on her first week long canoe trip. She was so taken with the great outdoors that she completed a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and a teaching degree so she could share it with others. On and off for the past 10 years she has been building future leaders at outdoor centres and summer camps and travelling to different parts of the world. Her hobbies include cross country and downhill skiing, learning about edible plants, canoeing, knitting, biking, hiking, photography and swimming (actually dipping is more accurate in these waters.)

Vanessa Bilan, Hiking Guide

Vanessa is the most recent addition to the CPAWS Southern Alberta Branch hiking team! A native to Calgary, she grew up taking vacations and weekend trips to the mountains with her family. Camping, cross country skiing, tobogganing, snowshoeing, biking and hiking are just a few of the pursuits that made up the days of her childhood! These outings grew into a passion and lead Vanessa to go to school for a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education, majoring in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership at Mount Royal University. While at school she found her stride working with children and youth at the YMCA, City of Calgary and Winsport. Now a graduate, she is ready to start working her passion and share her love of nature and the outdoors with others. Most often seen trudging along hiking paths, paddling down the river or cycling through the mountains, Vanessa's new mission is to keep up with her young son Noah - who is fast becoming hard to catch.

Karlee Squires, Summer Outreach Coordinator

Karlee is the Summer Outreach Coordinator with CPAWS for the 2017 season. She has recently graduated with a BAH in Political Studies from Queen's University and will be heading off to Carleton University for Graduate School in the fall. While new to the conservation world, Karlee has always been passionate about Alberta's beautiful parks and wilderness and spends as much time as she can adventuring in the Rockies with family and friends. More than anything, Karlee loves connecting with new people. She has experience working in outreach and promotions for various causes, and is excited to be working with CPAWS this summer to grow awareness and passion for Alberta's wilderness.


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