November, 2023

Looking forward forty years:

A letter to a twenty year old biologist

in an age of transition

by Sean Mitchell, RP Bio.

I was asked to write an article for the ASPB BIWEEKLY, related to the ASPB 2023 annual conference in November and enlarging on its theme:

Transition: Embracing and leading change as biologists.

I have thought about this subject of transition – at least in the contexts of ecology and of raising kids in a crazy world of social, technological, and environmental uncertainty – for a long time. As I considered what I wanted to write, the biologist, teacher, writer, and historian within me have all piped up with suggestions, and after contemplating the wide range of things I could say, I finally settled on addressing this question: “What advice would I give myself if I were just starting out in the field of environmental biology and looking at a career in a world of uncertainty and unforeseeable changes?” This letter is my answer: Read Sean Mitchell’s Letter Here


On being heard...

(and understood!)

by Lorne Fitch, P. Biol.

Most people would have a hard time identifying even ten biologists of national, or international fame. They could list off numerous actors, singers and sports figures without blinking. Charles Darwin’s name might rise, even though the term biologist hadn’t been invented yet. With some prompting, names like David Suzuki, E. O. Wilson, Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Jane Goodall and Jacques Cousteau might be recognized. Hardly any could be described by their contributions.

This tells us something about biologists. With some few exceptions, the group labours away in obscurity. In large part – although I have only a sample size of about 50 biologists to assess – they are mostly introverts, more comfortable with solitary field work than with social small-talk, glad-handing and filling prominent public roles. They are the epitome of introspection, but not extroversion: something about their programming, temperament and possibly their DNA make them ill-suited choices for corporate leaders, politicians or salespersons.

However, some are effective ecological proselytizers. One colleague (Michael Sullivan) blends empirical science (data) with innovative, insightful, understandable and entertaining delivery techniques to convey important messages about the natural world and our impact on it.

Continue reading here:

The ASPB Supports Student Excellence

The ASPB supports two awards at the Edmonton Regional Science Fairs. The 2023 edition on March 12 was the first held fully in person since 2019, with a public viewing event and awards ceremony. ERSF Awards Chair and Vice President Michele Moscicki reports that the two recipients of the ASPB awards were: Sherdha Sharma (Winner) at Aurora Charter School for her entry De-extinction, and Jenna Harb (Honourable Mention) at the Edmonton Islamic Academy for her entry Honey: The Medical Miracle.

Sherdha Sharma with


Jenna Harb with


Bridging the Resource Gap:

Supporting Industry through

Student Consulting Projects

In the fast-paced and dynamic world of academia and industry, the symbiotic relationship between students and employers is crucial for mutual growth and success. Mount Royal University's (MRU) innovative pilot program, spearheaded by the Career Services team, aims to bridge this gap by connecting industry partners with ambitious General Science, Business, Environmental Science, and Computer Science students.

The cornerstone of this initiative is the collaboration between MRU students and industry professionals seeking support for their scientific, project management, and artificial intelligence/machine learning activities. The program offers a unique opportunity for businesses to tap into the potential of talented students while providing invaluable real-world experiences for the next generation of professionals. Read more

Stock photo supplied by MRU



Julie and Colin Angus

The banquet speakers at the 2023 ASPB Annual Conference will be Colin and Julie Angus. Billing themselves as professional speakers, Julie and Colin are primarily adventurers; they have been awarded the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award) and are listed as fellows of the Canadian Geographic Society.

They have achieved many quests bordering on the impossible; from completing the first muscle-powered journey around the world to rowing unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean. Colin was named by Outside magazine as one of the “World’s Top 25 Bold Visionaries,” and Julie was named as one of North America’s leading adventurers by Explore magazine. Julie has a graduate degree from the University of Victoria in Molecular Biology, an undergraduate degree in Biology and Psychology from McMaster University, and has had a successful career in venture capital, business development and technology transfer.

Markham Hislop

Keynote speaker Markham Hislop is a Canadian energy and climate journalist. He hosts the Energi Talks podcast, conducts video interviews with experts from around the world and writes about the future of energy. He is frequently interviewed in the Canadian media about energy transition issues, and he has agreed to address the ASPB Annual Conference twice: on Thursday, November 23, his morning plenary presentation is titled “The History of Energy Transition” and on Friday morning, following the ASPB AGM, he will close the main conference with a keynote address, titled “What Lies Ahead”.


The annual conference gets underway Nov. 22, 23 & 24

Here is the 2023 line-up:

(The schedule with topics is available HERE)


Vanessa Swarbrick, PhD

Nikki Copeland, M.E.Des., P. Biol.

Kristie Derkson, P. Biol.

Victoria M. Lukasik, PhD, P. Biol.

Kirsten Pearson, P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Andy Edeburn, P. Biol.

Brandy Faris

Tyne Baker, M.Sc., P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Elizabeth W. Murray, Ph.D., P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Murdoch McKinnon, PhD Candidate

Lisa Bridges, M.Sc., P. Biol.

Agnes Wajda-Plytta P. Biol.

Cassie Stevenson, M.Sc.

Kalina Noel, M.E. Des., P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Corrina Copp, M.Sc.

Greg Courtice, PhD., P.Eng.

Rebecca Stanton

Kim MacKenzie, P. Biol.

Corey Stefura, P. Biol.

Nikki Copeland, M.E.Des., P. Biol.

Jessica Koehli, BIT

Collen Middleton, R.P.Bio., P. Biol.

Suzanne Stevenson, P. Biol.

Kush Patel, B.Sc, A.I.T.

Anthony Knafla, P. Biol.

Cindy Kemper, P.Biol.

Steven Tannas, PhD., P.Ag

Anna Ciecka

Sean Huang

Melanie Daniels, BSc.

Shona Derlukewich, B.Sc., P. Biol., QAES

Brandon Allen, M.Sc.

Anne Hubbs

Emily Harrison, BIT

Katrina Sharko, P.Ag.

Adam Martinson

Joelle Lemmen-Lechelt, PhD., P. Biol.

Robin Reese, P. Biol., RBio

Robyn Anderson, P. Biol., A.P.

Emily Kabotoff, P. Biol.

Kim Lamontagne, RTAg

Jane L. Watson, TD

Adam Burton, TD

David Smith, TD

Banquet Speaker

Colin Angus and Julie Angus

Keynote Speaker

Markham Hislop

Energy/Climate Journalist

Conference Committee

Andy Edeburn, P. Biol. (Chair)

Victoria M. Lukasik, PhD, P. Biol.

Kristie Derkson, P. Biol.

Nikki Copeland, M.E.Des., P. Biol.

Administrative Support

Dean Falkenberg, P. Biol. (E.D., Registrar)

Janet Bauman, P. Biol. (Deputy Registrar)

Jessica Koehli, BIT (Conference Manager)

Lazar Ceklic (Regulatory Assistant)

Peter Kingsmill (Publications Editor)



Credit Stonecourt Studio


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