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October 23, sessions 1-3

Session 1

Building a Sustainable Future: Opening of the 2023 Calgary Climate Symposium

Monday, October 23, 2023

Welcome to the Calgary Climate Symposium, where we gather to ignite change, discuss climate challenges, and build a greener and healthier Calgary for everyone. This symposium serves as a platform to explore how Calgary can position itself for a low-carbon future, strengthen communities to be resilient to climate change impacts, and ensure no one is left behind as we look to the future.

Building a Sustainable Future: Opening of the 2023 Calgary Climate Symposium marks the beginning of this informative event. The speakers embody the spirit of change and resilience. We are honored to welcome Clarence Wolfleg Miiksika’am (Red Crane), a Cultural and Spiritual Advisor from the Siksika Nation, Jyoti Gondek, the Mayor of Calgary, Stuart Dalgleish, the Chief Operating Officer of The City of Calgary, and Carolyn Bowen, Director of Climate and Environment at The City of Calgary. Together, they will offer their expertise and perspectives on shaping a sustainable future for our city.


Megan Zimmerman

Senior Director, Business Development, Calgary Economic Development

Megan is a born and raised Calgarian and passionate champion for the city. Recognized as part of the Avenue Calgary, Top 40 Under 40 class, she is proud to be part of a community helping to shape Calgary’s diverse, prosperous, and inclusive future. Megan and her team position Calgary for long term economic success through the expansion, retention and acquisition of companies, capital and talent. She has worked in economic development for 16 years and during her tenure has held roles in both marketing and business development; sharing the unique Calgary value proposition across the world including Colombia, Israel, China, the US, the UK and Japan.


Clarence Wolfleg Miiksika’am (Red Crane)

Cultural and Spiritual Advisor, Siksika Nation

Clarence was born in the Siksika Nation, At the age of 7, he was taken to live at the Old Sun Residential School. He went on to attend Cresent Heights public school in Calgary. At the age of 17, he joined the military, he served in the Canadian Regular Forces where he earned 3 medals. He served in the United Nations peacekeeping initiatives in Cypress and Nato Continental Europe missions during the Cold War.

Upon his return to this area, he worked as a police officer with the Blackfoot Tribal Police, a director with Siksika Alcohol Services, and was an elected member with Siksika Nation Council serving 10 years in that leadership capacity. It was because of his life’s service, he was recognized with a headdress, was give the name Miiksika’am, and he was initiated into the Brave Dog Society, and bestowed a sacred bundle and war pipe from the Horn Society.

In his current work, he dedicates his time speaking to young people about restorative justice, residential schools and stories about his nation. He is a spiritual and cultural advisor and received an honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University in 2021, where he lends his time to both faculty and students. Miiksika’am leads his life with compassion for his people and helps others to try and find a better way of life.

Jyoti Gondek

Mayor of Calgary

Jyoti Gondek was sworn in as Calgary's 37th mayor and the first woman to be elected to this role on October 25, 2021. Prior to being elected as mayor, she served as city councillor for Ward 3 from 2017 to 2021. She holds a Ph.D. in urban sociology, and an M.A. in organizational sociology.

Stuart Dalgleish

Chief Operating Officer, The City of Calgary

Stuart is a long-serving City of Calgary employee. He holds a finance-based MBA degree, an Advanced Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration, and is both a professional accountant and assessor. Stuart creates value for Calgarians through leadership across four City operating departments, who collectively deliver services for people and places. He is committed to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the community and corporation. Stuart takes great pride in being a public servant and is committed to delivering services that meet citizen expectations, while positioning Calgary to compete on the world stage for talent and business.

Carolyn Bowen, M.Sc.

Director, Climate and Environment, The City of Calgary

Carolyn is Director of the new Climate and Environment business unit at The City of Calgary which provides strategic and technical leadership, expertise and support for The City of Calgary on environment and climate.

Prior to this role, Carolyn was Manager of Watershed Planning in Water Resources for six years and led work on The City’s flood resilience, drought, stormwater, riparian and source water protection and water efficiency plans. Prior to joining Water Resources, Carolyn managed the Office of Sustainability in the City Manager’s Office for five years, led many strategic initiatives including The City of Calgary’s original Climate Change Action Plan in 2005 and The City’s ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Carolyn has been with The City for 22 years.

She graduated from University of Calgary with a MSc in Physical Geography. Carolyn has been a Calgarian for over 30 years and spends much of her time outdoors with her family exploring and taking advantage of the incredible place we live and can be found paddling, hiking, biking and skiing whenever she can.

Crystal Manyfingers

Indigenous Landscape Strategist, Kainai Nation

Crystal is a Blackfoot member of the Kainai First Nation of Treaty 7. She grew up on the Blood Reserve and as a child roamed the halls of the University of Lethbridge where her mother was studying to earn her Bachelor of Education degree. This inspired Crystal to enroll at the University of Calgary, where she majored in English Literature. After completing her B.A., Crystal pursued a career in teaching. She completed her Master of Education degree with a specialty in Adult and Workplace Environmental Learning, has worked as an Indigenous Consultant to Curriculum at Bow Valley College, and now works as an Indigenous Landscape Strategist with The City of Calgary. 

Chris Miles

Chief Operating Officer, Calgary Airport Authority (YYC)

As YYC’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris is responsible for the daily operations, engineering, and construction portfolios. Chris has worked with airlines, airports and industry associations, including the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Airports Council International, Air Canada, Abu Dhabi Airports Company and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). He is fluent in English and French and holds an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He is active in serving the local community as a Tourism Calgary committee member, governor of Lindsay Park Sports Society and Vice Chair of the MNP Community and Sports Centre.

Session 2

Climate Action in the City

Monday, October 23, 2023

Climate change poses a significant risk to Calgary. The City of Calgary declared a climate emergency and is committed to working with all Calgarians to lower our collective carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 and reduce the impacts of climate change by planning, building, and leading a climate-resilient city.

Council-approved the Calgary Climate Strategy: Pathways to 2050 and this strategy sets the City’s climate vision, guiding principles, goals and targets to achieve the outcomes of the Climate Emergency Declaration. There are also a number of initiatives and programs that you can participate in to help reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the City’s climate action goals.


Pippa Cookson-Hills, M.Sc.

Corporate Environmental Specialist, Climate Adaptation, The City of Calgary

Pippa is an atmospheric scientist working as a climate adaptation specialist at The City of Calgary. She tracks and analyzes The City’s historical and future climate data and manages The City’s Climate Risk and Resilience Assessment (CRRA) process for city-owned buildings. Pippa holds a Master and Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from McGill University and The University of Alberta, respectively.


Ruth DeSantis, M.A.

Corporate Environmental Specialist, Climate Adaptation, The City of Calgary

Ruth is a corporate environmental specialist working in climate adaptation at the City. She is working to elevate the voices of equity deserving Calgarians in climate programming. She has worked on a variety of projects including utilizing agricultural waste and fibres to make new materials, flood resiliency, human wildlife conflict and air quality management. She has a Masters degree from the University of Guelph in climate adaptation and considers herself a lifelong learner.

Eric Timmins, M.Sc.

Corporate Environmental Specialist, Community Energy, The City of Calgary

Eric is a sustainable energy and environmental professional with a wealth of experience in community energy planning and programming. At the City, Eric is a Corporate Environmental Specialist overseeing the Residential Energy portfolio with a focus on developing and implementing community-based energy initiatives. Eric holds a Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Calgary.

Sonak Patel, M.Sc.

Planner, Climate Planning and Policy, The City of Calgary

Sonak is a planner on the Climate Planning and Policy team at the City of Calgary. His work includes creating policy and providing guidance to support integrating climate action in the growth and development of Calgary. Sonak holds a Master’s degree in Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology and a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Alberta.

Session 3

Lessons from Waterways and their Inhabitants

Monday, October 23, 2023

Three undergraduate students from the University of Calgary partnered with community organizations and will be presenting the interconnected lessons they have learned from water and the beaver during these projects. Emily Tulk will speak about the importance of the beaver. Sadie Popoff will connect that to the concept of wildlife resiliency and Jer Bobosky will speak about the creation of podcasts with the Elbow River Watershed Project (ERWP) that focus on lessons from the water. All three projects are examples of working with not-for-profit organizations to pursue and promote sustainability. This work was kindly supported by the Office of Sustainability at the University of Calgary, Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation, and the Elbow River Watershed Partnership.

This event is part of the Mobilizing Alberta Climate Conversations speaker series hosted by the University of Calgary as part of UCalgary Sustainability Week 2023 (Oct. 23-28). This session is co-hosted by the City of Calgary Climate Symposium Oct. 23-27, 2023 and the UCalgary Cumming School of Medicine.

The City of Calgary has partnered with various community groups to provide climate-related videos, activities, online sessions, and more. Each of these offerings are briefly described below, however, full details and registration information will be found on the website for each of the partnering groups. By following the links and registering with our partners, your personal information may be used and disclosed as per the privacy policies of the respective partners and/or the registration platforms they are using. For information about the collection and use of your personal information, please contact the partner directly or visit their website.


Alana-Dawn Eirikson, MSW, RSW

Sustainability Partnerships and Events Coordinator, University of Calgary Office of Sustainability

Alana-Dawn Eirikson (she/her) is an Eco Social Worker and works at the University of Calgary as the Sustainability Partnerships & Events Coordinator. She is passionate about climate justice, anti-oppression, decolonization and a transition to a more sustainable way of living on this planet that values the interconnectedness of our well-being and honours Indigenous Knowledges and worldviews. She has a Master’s degree in International & Community Development Social Work and an undergrad in International Development and Environmental Studies. She has extensive experience in developing collaborative sustainability projects/programs, and endeavours to support people with climate grief and build resiliency.


Adela Tesarek Kincaid, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Dr. Adela Tesarek Kincaid is an assistant professor (teaching) in the International Indigenous Studies program. As a settler scholar, her passion is working with Indigenous communities and organizations as well as with NGOs. Adela is interested in developing experiential learning opportunities for students that honour land-based learning, animals, and Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, being, and connecting.

Emily Tulk

Emily is a 4th year undergraduate student majoring in Zoology at the University of Calgary. She has always had a deep interest in living organisms and systems and knew she wanted to pursue a career in medicine upon entering her undergrad. Through many diverse experiences with wildlife, local farmers, and companion animals she narrowed her focus to veterinary medicine and is currently working towards this goal. Her work is guided by multiple knowledge systems and she hopes to offer a fresh perspective on current animal-human interactions and to consider how this impacts the land. Her work was made possible as a result of the experiential learning opportunities offered by the academic community, and partnerships with a local wildlife rehabilitation hospital and the Office of Sustainability at the University of Calgary.

Sadie Popoff

Sadie is a 5th year undergraduate biology student at the University of Calgary. Upon graduating high school, she had plans on becoming a journalist or working in humanitarian aid but over her gap year, found that her strong suit was in a more hands-on setting with animals. She then decided on pursuing a career within the conservation and One Health field, where she could work on projects that aim to benefit the health of humans, wildlife, and the environment as a whole. Since starting her undergraduate degree, she has had the opportunity to work directly with Alberta’s injured wildlife, be introduced to conservation field techniques, and is currently studying the concept of resilience as it applies to conservation.

Jer Bobosky

Jer Bobosky is Nîhithaw (Woodland Cree) from mihkwâkamîwi-sîpîsis (Little Red River Cree Nation). Jer is a Podcast technician with the Elbow River Watershed Project working on the “10-year Flood Anniversary" podcast episodes as well as with the “Tsuut'ina Aquatic Habitat Restoration” podcast. She was connected to ERWP from community involvement at UCalgary as an undergraduate student in Political Science, with a primary focus on decolonizing political philosophy.