Parks Research Network

Mobilizing Knowledge

 The Canadian Parks Research Network was created as a knowledge exchange and dissemination network, as part of an outcome of a collaborative knowledge mobilization research project and a pre-conference workshop at the 2019 Canadian Parks Conference. This platform is intended to facilitate interaction between individuals, organizations, and governments dedicated to the advancement of effective park management and related desired outcomes such as increased social equity, biodiversity conservation, multi-stakeholder governance, and healthy communities through access to diverse sources of knowledge.

As part of a larger research project, the ultimate goal was to enhance the generation and use of knowledge–especially social science, Indigenous and local knowledge for parks and protected areas policy, planning, and management. This process was about knowledge mobilization or “moving knowledge into active service” (SSHRC, 2008). In other words, making research accessible, so that it can be put into practice.

By extending established relationships and creating new connections, this project created a multidisciplinary, inter-institutional, cross-sectoral partnership to mobilize parks-relevant knowledge. While social science, Indigenous and local knowledge are a focus of this project, we acknowledge the inter-connectedness of other forms of knowledge and the necessary engagement with them to resolve complex parks-related challenges and decisions.  

Outcomes of this research can be found on the CPCIL Parks Research Forum. Updates and additional outcomes will also be added as the research progresses. 

Knowledge Mobilization Resources

Knowledge Mobilization and Parks

Funded by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant and led by University of Alberta, this project aims at improving understanding of how different kinds of knowledge, including natural and social sciences, as well as Indigenous and local knowledge, are valued and used to advance protected and conserved area management, planning and policy making. The focus is on knowledge mobilization or “moving knowledge into active service” (SSHRC, 2008). In other words, making research accessible, so that it can be put into practice.

Through a pan-Canadian survey and case studies from across Canada, this research project explores how Canada’s conservation agencies are using “knowledge” to meet national and international commitments, such as Canadian 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets, including:

Goal C. By 2020, Canadians have adequate and relevant information about biodiversity and ecosystem services to support conservation planning and decision-making.

  • Target 14. By 2020, the science base for biodiversity is enhanced and knowledge of biodiversity is better integrated and more accessible.  

  • Target 15. By 2020, Aboriginal traditional knowledge is respected, promoted and, where made available by Aboriginal peoples, regularly, meaningfully and effectively informing biodiversity conservation and management decision-making.

Project Director and Co-Applicants


Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny

Dr. Halpenny is an Assoc. Professor at the UAlberta (Project Director) with 20 years of parks research and project management experience in the nonprofit conservation sector and academia, in Canada and overseas. She is conversant with finances and budgeting, setting timelines and keeping teams on track to meet goals. She is familiar with coordinating partners from different sectors, time zones and workspaces. She has extensive experience with graduate student mentorship.


Dr. Nathan Bennett

Dr. Bennett is a Liber Ero and Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at U Washington and U British Columbia with expertise in the conservation social sciences. He has published more than 20 articles in this field, including a high profile 2016 Conservation Biology article titled “Mainstreaming the social sciences in conservation.” His extensive understanding of the field and connections with the Canadian and international conservation communities will help expand the network. He will guide Systematic Review and network expansion efforts.


Dr. Don Carruthers Den Hoed

Dr. Carruthers Den Hoed, Senior Fellow and Manager of the Canadian Parsk Collective and Adjunct Professor in Nursing and Midwifery, Mount Royal U, brings valuable insights as a park agency manager with extensive training in research and interdisciplinary inquiry. An expert in inclusion and facilitating access for diverse groups to parks, he also has extensive experience in park staff capacity building and education. He will assist the Banff Bow-Valley Alberta case studies and KM Immersion Course development.


Dr. Joyce Gould

Dr. Joyce Gould, Science Coordinator, AB Parks, Adj. Professor, Faculty of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, UAlberta, and recipient of the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas’ Gold Leaf Award, studies rare plant species and works with Alberta Parks to translate science into policy and practice. She actively bridges disciplinary and sectoral barriers that affect evidence-based park management and will serve as a key link between Gvt. of Alberta policymakers and network partners.


Dr. Brian Joubert

Dr. Joubert, Senior Planner, AB Parks, was recently awarded a Ph.D. in geography, and has extensive training in environmental management and perceptions, stakeholder and First Nations consultation, as well as cultural aspects of land use behaviour.  With extensive experience as an adventure and ecotourism guide, he also brings tourism and recreation sector perspectives. He will be the lead AB Parks contact, assisting with research design and KM efforts and ensuring sound practitioner engagement.


Dr. Lars Hallström

Dr. Hallström, Professor and Director, Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities, UAlberta, has spearheaded AB Parks’ science-community engagement process leading to the formation of the Social Science Working Group and related policy Framework. He has extensive institutional knowledge and KM experience in the health policy sector, and PI experience on previous CIHR- and SSHRC-funded teams. He will co-lead the interrogation of AB Parks Division’s Parks and Protected Areas Social Science Framework.


Dr. Howie Harshaw

Dr. Howie Harshaw, Assoc. Professor, UAlberta, specializes in the human dimensions of natural resources, outdoor recreation including hunting and fishing, and the development of indicators for resource-integrated landscape planning. He will assist in the KM Immersion Course and Framework Policy Review.


Dr. Glen Hvenegaard

Dr. Glen Hvenegaard, Professor, UAlberta-Augustana, teaches and researches parks planning, environmental science and environmental education. An experienced survey researcher and previous employee of the US and Canadian park systems, he will lead the surveys of conservation agency parks staff and assist with the Beaver Hills case study. Excellent connections with the international parks community (IUCN-WCPA member) will facilitate global network expansion.


Dr. Chris Lemieux

Dr. Chris Lemieux, Asst. Professor, Wilfrid Laurier U, has an extensive network of organizations to connect the Parks Research Network developed from years of service to organizations such as the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas, Canadian Parks Council’s Climate Change Working Group and IUCN/WCPA’s Climate Change and Healthy People Healthy Parks task forces. Experience the Canadian Artic as well as ‘the south’, Chris brings extensive experience in community engagement, multi-stakeholder governance, and multi-partner research program expertise. He will guide case study efforts in Ontario, and assist with the Systematic Review and Staff Survey activities.


Dr. Joe Pavelka

Dr. Joe Pavelka, Assoc. Professor, Mount Royal U, brings an interdisciplinary approach to grappling with park management issues. He will use his well-honed facilitation and training skills to lead the Social Science Immersion Course for parks professionals. His creative and enlivening efforts to bring Mount Royal U scholars’ research to the public will help inform the network’s KT efforts.


Dr. Dee Patriquin

Dr. Dee Patriquin, a Senior Environmental Scientist for Solstice Canada and Adj. Professor at the UAlberta-Augustana will lead the case studies. Her 20+ years of project management and community consulting expertise and familiarity with land use policies and socio-cultural theory will ensure community-sensitive, effective execution of the case studies. Her dissertation, on place-based land management of the Beaver Hills region, provides her with ample connections and local knowledge of the Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve to ensure as successful case study there. 


Dr. John Shultis

Dr. John Shultis, Assoc. Professor, U of Northern British Columbia, will co-lead the BC case study and help expand research and KM efforts into BC. He has expertise in the psychological dimensions of recreation and tourism, and the social and cultural functions of protected areas. 


Dr. Rick Rollins

Dr. Rick Rollins, Professor Emeritus, Vancouver Island U, will help with the BC case study and conservation staff survey. He has conducted similar research in BC and has participated in several multi-party research projects, including an ICURA project funded by SSHRC and IDRC. His leadership in the Canadian parks field is demonstrated through his co-editing of Canada’s leading parks course textbook, Parks and Protected Areas in Canada: Planning and Management(4th ed.) (2016). His passion for KM is exemplified by other research-practice projects including past active engagement in the BC Parks Research Forum. 

This project is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.