The Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA) is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and part-time contract staff.
We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of individuals involved in operating the WBRA. As you will see in their brief biographies below each individual on the WBRA board and staff brings with them unique skills and backgrounds making for diverse and well rounded team.
WBRA directors serve a two-year term and are elected during our Annual General Meeting, which is open to the public. If you have an interest in taking on an active volunteer role on our Board of Directors, please contact us.
Kim Pearson [Chair]
Kim has been a WBRA board member since 2009. A highlight was coordinating a Digital Storytelling workshop in which seven WBR residents recorded unique insights on what makes this a special place. She works as an Ecosystem Scientist for Parks Canada in Waterton Lakes National Park, coordinating grassland conservation, wildlife movement and species at risk projects. Kim collaborated for ten years on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Waterton Park Front Project and has also supported organizations such as the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society, Alberta Fish and Wildlife, and Canadian Wildlife Service. She and her family have deep roots in southwestern Alberta and are proud to be contributing residents of the Waterton area.
Shane Hansen [Secretary]
Shane is a third generation rancher who lives just east of Waterton Lakes National in the Boundary Creek area where he ranches with his wife, Laurel, and two sons. He is a WBRA director and Carnivore Working Group board member. Shane has also served as a Cardston County councillor and is co-chair for the Waterton Natural History Association. In his area there have always been conflicts with large predators, though in the past fifteen years there has been a steady yearly increase of grizzly bear numbers and conflicts on his ranch. This carnivore activity has led Shane and his family to work on initiatives aimed at reducing conflicts while allowing them to remain a viable cow/calf operation.
Andrea Morehouse [Treasurer and Science and Stewardship Coordinator]
Andrea received her B.Sc. from Tufts University and worked on several wildlife projects across North America before coming to Alberta to pursue her M.Sc. in ecology researching wolf diets. She recently completed her Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Alberta where her research focused on grizzly bear population ecology and large carnivore conflicts in southwestern Alberta. Andrea continues to work on issues related to large carnivores in the Waterton Biosphere Reserve as an independent scientist where her research has been very well received by the local community.
Wonnita Andrus [Director]
Wonnita’s fascination with the natural world began in the small ranching community of Bindloss, Alberta where she was born and raised. Her love for the birds and the bees (and even the fleas) spurred her to pursue a diploma in Renewable Resource Management, a bachelor degree in Environmental Science and a master’s degree of Biology examining habitat fragmentation effects on prairie rattlesnakes. Wonnita is a registered Professional Biologist with over 12 years of field work experience throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Along with participating in various ecological studies, Wonnita has worked as a stewardship coordinator with Operation Grassland Community, a wildlife biologist with TERA Environmental Consultants and as a natural area manager on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s celebrated Waterton Park Front project. In her free time Wonnita can be found hugging a tree, or better yet, some fescue.
Barb Johnston [Director]
Barb has been a member of the WBRA since 2009, not long after her arrival in southern Alberta. She has worked for Parks Canada since 2000, in national parks all across western Canada including Riding Mountain, Wood Buffalo, Banff, and Gwaii Haanas. She is currently the Wildlife Specialist in Waterton Lakes National Park where she is involved in research, monitoring and management of the park’s many wildlife species, from elk and grizzly bears to frogs and bats. Because of the relatively small size of Waterton Lakes National Park, most of this work involves collaborating with neighbouring landowners and land management agencies to ensure the understanding and protection of wildlife throughout the larger region.
Jeff Bectell [Director and Carnivores and Communities Program Coordinator]
Jeff and his wife Liz, ranch with their children south of Cardston, on land that has always been ‘home’. He was chair of the WBRA from 2010 to 2017. Currently he is on the WBRA Board of Directors and is also the Coordinator of the Carnivores and Communities Program (CACP). He enjoys working with others in the community to ensure that generations to come can enjoy this area that he loves so much.
Julia Palmer [Director]
Julia Palmer is a fourth generation rancher who lives and works in the Twin Butte area. In 2007 she completed her BA in Religion at Reed College. Following graduation she began working with her parents on the family ranch. While maintaining a commercial herd of beef cattle, the Palmer family is also committed to pursuing innovative ways of improving the range and riparian health of their land through holistic management practices.
Cam Francis [Director]
Cam Francis graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Business. Following University Cam returned to his grandfathers ranch in the Glenwood area where he lives and ranches with his wife Nikki and their three children. Cam has been very active in the community over the last number of years serving on a variety of committees and boards including nine years with Cardston County, five of which he was the county reeve.
Bill Dolan [Director]
Bill Dolan joined the WBR in 1990 when he moved to the area as the Chief Park Warden of Waterton Lakes National Park. Bill has a keen interest in landscape level conservation and has been a long-serving member of many ecosystem level partnerships, including the Crown Managers Partnership and the Miistakis Institute for the Rockies. In 2009, Bill left Parks Canada to work as the Land and Resource Management Coordinator for Alberta Environment and Parks in southern Alberta. Bill is now retired and lives east of Waterton Lakes in the Boundary Creek area with his wife Debbie.
Dennis Madsen [Parks Canada liaison]
Dennis has worked for Parks Canada for the past 24 years in a variety of parks with enormously different ecosystems, but always enjoyed living and working in small communities where a lot of the expertise comes from people who have lived in the area for generations. He started his career in Elk Island National Park just east of Edmonton. He then moved with his family to southern Saskatchewan, to live in Val Marie and work in Grasslands National Park. They then moved to the Haida Gwaii archipelago, just off the north west coast of British Columbia where he spent 9 years living and working with the small communities on the islands and as a member of the cooperative management board for Gwaii Haanas, with the Haida First Nation. In 2009 he took the position of Resource Conservation Manager in Waterton Lakes National Park. As part of his responsibilities he is the liaison between the park and the Waterton Biosphere Reserve. He lives with his family in Pincher Creek.
John Stoesser [Parks Canada liaison]
John works as a communications officer in Waterton Lakes National Park. Before joining Parks Canada in 2015, he worked for the Pincher Creek Echo as the newspaper’s reporter, photographer and editor, sharing stories about the region and its residents. Since moving to the area, John has been continually inspired by the landscape and impressed by the people who make it their home. John graduated with a BA in Communications from Carleton University and also holds a Journalism diploma from Algonquin College.
Nora Manners [Executive Director / Biosphere Reserve Coordinator]
Nora has been the Coordinator of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve since 2009 and is also the Executive Director of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association. She has worked with conservation organizations since 2000 and prior to that was a Warden – working in a number of western national parks, finishing off her time with Parks Canada as the Wildlife Specialist for Wood Buffalo and then Jasper National Parks. Nora grew up on a mixed farm near Ghost Pine, Alberta and was happy to settle back into an agricultural community when she moved to the Waterton Biosphere Reserve in 2005. Nora runs a small cow-calf operation with her family south of Pincher Creek and is an enthusiastic promoter of Waterton Biosphere Reserve and the philosophy of biosphere reserves worldwide.
Tony Bruder [Carnivores and Communities Program – Area Coordinator]
Rancher and Area Coordinator for the WBRA Carnivores and Communities Program, Tony ranches with his wife Lorraine and their two children near Twin Butte, Alberta. 2014 marked their family’s 100th year on the farm. For years Tony has been working on initiatives to reduce human/carnivore conflict both as an active member of various community groups like the Drywood Yarrow Conservation Partnership, which he chairs, and through projects on his ranch.
Jen Jenkins [Communications Coordinator]
Jen is the WBRA Communications Coordinator and a local rancher. Her family came to the Waterton Park, Alberta area in 1888, where she continues to ranch today. Living so close to a national mountain park like Waterton means they often see a variety of wildlife which can be both challenging and rewarding. To Jen, staying involved in the community and working on preserving working landscapes such as those in the Waterton Biosphere Reserve is something she feels to be not only an important responsibility, but also an enjoyable one. When not working on the ranch or with the WBRA, you might see Jen out with her camera enjoying the beautiful landscapes in the area.
If you would like more information about the Waterton Biosphere Reserve please contact us at:
Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association
P.O. Box 7, Pincher Creek
Alberta T0K 1W0