Fall Parksfest

Fall Parksfest is our way of saying “thank you” to the many people who contribute to regional parks. Metro Vancouver Regional Parks hosts this fall event in recognition of the great work of park associations, their members and their volunteers. We’re also pleased to welcome our numerous other partners and active volunteers who have an established relationship with Metro Vancouver. We hope this event will strengthen the commitment of those who are already involved, and encourage others to join us in taking care of a most valuable resource.


As the Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our 16th Annual Parksfest event, a celebratory day of learning for our partners and volunteers.

Fall Parksfest is one way in which Metro Vancouver can thank you for your many efforts in supporting regional parks. We deeply appreciate your commitment to protecting natural environments, and facilitating connections between people and nature. We would also like to welcome potential volunteers and partners who have joined us to learn more about Metro Vancouver Regional Parks. It is my hope that you find a way to contribute to the regional parks system in the coming year.

This event is a wonderful opportunity for you to gather, make important connections, share experiences, and enhance your expertise. We are pleased to offer an interesting selection of workshops and a special keynote presentation, in addition to our very popular ‘Parks at a Glance’.

Once again, I would like to thank you for the important work that you do and to wish you all a stimulating day of learning!

Heather Deal,
Regional Parks Committee Chair


Join us for a day of inspiring presentations and practical workshops! Regional parks and green spaces are precious resources over which we must exercise consistent care and sustained stewardship. Join us as we examine the important roles of stewards in conserving, protecting and preserving the diverse plant and wildlife within regional parks for present and future generations.


Saturday November 5, 2016

8:00 am – 4:15 pm

Blusson Hall, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC

Register Now

Doors open : 8 am

Meet and Greet: 8 - 9:00 am

Workshops: 9 am - 4:15 pm

Refreshments, snacks and lunch will be provided. Great door prizes too!


Event Details


Saturday, Nov 5, 2016
8:00 am - 4:15 pm


Blusson Hall, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6


Online: register now
Phone: 604-432-6359 
Registration deadline:

October 28, 2016


SFU is easily accessible by public transit. Blusson Hall is located adjacent to the SFU Loop (2nd stop). Visit www.translink.bc.ca

Parking is in Lot C, courtesy of Pacific Parklands Foundation. Remember to bring your parking pass and to display it in your front windshield. For those with mobility concerns, Parking Lot E, adjacent to the bus loop is available.

Download parking pass



8:00 - 9:00 am MEET AND GREET
​9:30 - 11:00 am


  • Workshop #1 - Connecting with Nature and Finding Balance

    Although a significant (and growing) body of research exists emphasizing the benefits of nature to humans, we live in an age where we have become increasingly disconnected from nature and wild places. Why is this? In this workshop, Dr. Banack invites you to contemplate the tensions between time spent outdoors and time engaged in other post-modern demands, and asks you to identify considerations in finding a balance between the two. Please come dressed to spend a little time outdoors (rain or shine).

    Dr. Hartley Banack Speaker:Dr. Hartley Banack

    Dr. Hartley Banack is a Lecturer and the Coordinator of Outdoor Environmental Education in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education at UBC. His research explores practical mechanics connected to increasing time spent outdoors, particularly for students during instructional times.

  • Workshop #2 - Measuring Up: Why Study our Parks?

    Our Regional Parks provide wonderful areas to explore and connect with nature. Understanding how these complex systems work and determining how they respond to management practices, climate change and external influences is critical to informing the management of these special places. These are the vital roles of monitoring and research. During this workshop, Markus will introduce you to some of the research that is presently being conducted in Regional Parks and will talk about how this knowledge is used to conserve these precious resources.

    Markus Merkens Speaker: Markus Merkens

    Markus Merkens has been actively exploring ecosystems for over half a century. He began formally studying them in 1980 and finished his Bachelors of Science focusing on Ecology in 1985, followed by a Masters in Pest Management in 1992. Since completing his academic development, he has focused on integrated resource management and research through his work with government, universities, non-profit organizations and as a private consultant. For the past 7 years Markus has worked with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks as a Natural Resource Management Specialist where he continues to learn about the ecosystems we depend on through management and research.

  • Workshop #3 - Urban Wildlife: Get to Know your Wild Neighbours

    Ever wondered how to deal with ‘wild neighbours’? Also known as ‘urban wildlife’, these are animals that have adapted to, and often thrive in human dominated ecosystems. In this workshop you’ll gain increased awareness of, and appreciation for urban wildlife management issues, urban wildlife conservation, and you’ll explore approaches to reducing human-wildlife conflict in urban settings. Join Robyn as she reviews the ecology of our urban neighbours and provides new perspectives on wildlife management in cities.

    Robyn Worcester Speaker: Robyn Worcester

    Robyn Worcester is a biologist with over 15 years’ of experience working on public education, research and the stewardship of natural areas and urban wildlife in the region. Born and raised in Vancouver, Robyn graduated from BCIT’s Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation Program, and obtained a B.Sc. in Biology at SFU. She currently works as a Natural Resource Management Specialist with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks.

  • Workshop #4 - So You Want to do a BioBlitz?

    ‘Biodiversity Blitzes’ or ‘BioBlitzes’ are a unique citizen science collaboration that can assist you to identify every species of plant and animal in a given area (e.g. a park) over a 24 hour period. In addition to connecting people to nature, BioBlitzes create opportunities for the public to learn about the importance and value of biodiversity. Pamela will provide you with insight into how to move from concept to implementation in planning a ‘BioBlitz’ for your regional park!

    Pamela Zevit Speaker: Pamela Zevit

    Pamela Zevit is a Registered Professional Biologist and past Conservation Planner for the Province of BC. She has worked with the South Coast Conservation Program on the conservation of species at risk since 2007. Among her many accomplishments, she has coordinated and delivered four BioBlitzes, including two in Metro Vancouver regional parks.

​11:00 - 11:15 pm ​BREAK
11:15 am - 12:00 pmPARKS AT A GLANCE: PARTNER PRESENTATIONS - Park Partners
​12:00 - 12:45 pm​LUNCH
12:45 - 1:30 pm

​​KEYNOTE: Urban Parks, People and Planetary Influence - Dr. Richard Kool

Humans have become a planet-altering species, enacting changes akin to asteroid collisions and ice-age inceptions. Neither terrestrial nor marine protected areas are protected from climate change, ocean acidification or invasive species. This presentation will look at the possible roles of urban parks, and what the people who care for those parks might hope for in the age of planetary-scale human influence and impacts.

Dr. Richard Kool is an Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University, and the founder of RRU’s trans-disciplinary MA program in Environmental Education and Communication. Rick’s work life has almost entirely been in the world of education. He has been a secondary school science teacher in Ucluelet Secondary School on the west coast of Vancouver Island, a biology and ecology instructor at a Douglas College in New Westminster BC, and an instructor at both the University of Victoria and at Royal Roads University. He’s also worked outside the formal education system, managing the public programs department at the Royal BC Museum and developing environmental education and park interpretation programs for the BC Government.

1:45 - 2:15 pm



2:15 - 2:30 pm​​ ​BREAK
2:30 - 4:00 pm ​​


  • Workshop #5 - Can Photography Save the World?

    Can photography and the stories associated with their creation promote positive environmental and social change in the world today? Wildlife ecologist and photographer Danny Catt has tried to do just that in his photos which document and share his learning from parks and protected areas across Canada. Join Danny for some scintillating photography tips and learn how your photography can help to make the world a better place.

    Danny Catt Speaker: Danny Catt

    Danny Catt is a biologist, world traveler and internationally published photographer. He is the Program Head of BCIT's Fish, Wildlife & Recreation program. When not teaching, Danny works as an ecologist and photographer on expedition ships in the Arctic and sailboats on the Pacific coast, and has lectured on cruise ships all over the world. Recent photographic credits include the New York Daily News and Globe and Mail newspapers as well as Chinese Geographic, Macleans and TIME magazines.

  • Workshop #6 - Lead the Way! Tips on Planning a Successful Hike

    In this workshop, learn tips and tricks that will help you to organize and lead a hike or nature walk of any size (whether two or ten people). Paul and Adria will introduce you to the essential equipment you need to bring when leading a hike and discuss the steps you can take to ensure the safety and comfort of your participants. They will also share suggestions on how to maximize your group’s enjoyment and deepen their connection with nature.

    Speaker: Metro Vancouver Park Interpreters

    Adria Hussein Adria Hussein

    Adria Hussein is a Park Interpreter with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks. Adria has delivered nature based programs to a wide range of audiences over the past five years. She has also worked as a naturalist and high school teacher and has experience working in remote backcountry environments

    Paul Halychuk Paul Halychuk

    Paul Halychuk is a Park Interpreter who enjoys sharing his love of nature with others by guiding walks and hikes for people of all ages. He teaches hiking safety courses and has worked as a wilderness trip leader.

  • Workshop #7 - The Stories We Tell…

    Want to brush up on your storytelling skills? In this participatory session you will practice telling stories connected to the land and the creatures on it while gaining insight into how to structure a site/park specific story and the range of performance techniques you can use to convey your story. Naomi will teach you about body, breath, voice and mind, the process of constructing a narrative arc, and how best to use images, emotions, and sensory details. Don’t miss this chance to become an effective story teller and listener. No previous performance experience is necessary!

    Naomi Steinberg Speaker: Naomi Steinberg

    Actively interested in notions of re-wilding, counter-cartography, and right-relation, Naomi Steinberg is an accomplished performer, storyteller, and site-specific installation artist. With over 14 years of experience, she knows how to seduce her audiences through a provocative mix of political thought and artistic content. She tells her stories in a unique voice, with an evocative gestural language. You can reach Naomi at www.goosefeather.ca.

  • Workshop #8 - Sea Star Mass Mortality: Global Trends and Local Consequences

    Wildlife mass mortality events can have profound ecological consequences and may be becoming more frequent or severe due to climate change or other stressors. Starting in the spring of 2013, an unprecedented sea star wasting syndrome swept the west coast of North America. The wasting syndrome has been observed from Alaska to Baja California, and has affected some 20 different species of sea stars. However, the causes and contributing factors of the syndrome remain poorly understood. In this talk, Jessica will summarize the sea star wasting event, including what is known about it so far, and what researchers are doing to learn more. Jessica will also present work from her recent SFU MSc thesis, which investigated the ecological fall-out of the event in our local waters of Howe Sound, and explored global trends in mass mortality events involving sea stars and their relatives.

    Jessica Schultz Speaker: Jessica Schultz

    Jessica Schultz is the Manager and Research Coordinator of the Howe Sound Research and Conservation Program at the Vancouver Aquarium. She has also recently completed a Master of Science degree in the Department of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

​4:00 - 4:15 pm WRAP-UP: Final announcements, last door prizes




Metro Vancouver extends special thanks to Pacific Parklands Foundation, a key partner in presenting Fall Parksfest 2016.


We also thank all the presenters for generously donating their time and to all those who have provided invaluable assistance and support.

Special thanks to the following supporters:


  • David Suzuki Foundation
  • Ziptrek Ecotours
  • Kernels Popcorn
  • Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres
  • Ethical Bean Coffee
  • Everything Wine
  • Science World
  • Flyover Canada
  • MEC
  • Greater Vancouver Zoo
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • UBC Museum of Anthropology