Neil Keown – Chair, Calgary
Neil relocated from Northern Ontario to Calgary, Alberta, after graduation, so he could spend more time in the mountains, initially for snow sports, camping, and hiking. He began exploring fishing, and then hunting, and was soon bitten by the Adult Onset Hunting bug after going on his first deer hunt with a knowledgeable, and patient, mentor. Inspired by the combination of the adventure, as well as the satisfaction of preparing a meal with the results of a successful trip, has led him on adventures across Western Canada. These adventures have included spring snow goose hunting in Saskatchewan, stream fishing in the southern Alberta, ice fishing mountain lakes in the Rockies, deer hunting in the Alberta foothills, to pink salmon fishing on Vancouver Island. Not satisfied with being mediocre at fishing and rifle hunting, bowhunting was soon added to the repertoire, but that was more of an excuse to extend the hunting season. Whenever the season changes, there is always a new adventure waiting to be had, and most family trips are now planned in areas where he can try to pass on the love of these activities to his children, to varying degrees of success. The majority of free time is spent in the Rocky Mountains and Foothills, where there is always a new patch of forest, hill, or a stream, that hasn't been investigated yet.
Spending 20 years travelling Alberta as part of his role at as an automation engineering technologist, he saw the impact that industry has had on the Canadian wilderness, and those that call it home. After transitioning out of the oil/gas sector, his attentions and efforts have been geared towards preserving the wilderness, and ensuring that the next generation will inherit the wilderness that we sometimes take for granted.
Neil lives north of Calgary, Alberta with his wife, and their two middle-school aged children, who are mostly tolerant of his activities.
Cody Spencer – Co-Chair, Lethbridge
Cody is a born and raised Southern Albertan from the Milk River country that straddles the Montana border. Growing up on a farm, early experiences roaming the native grassland coulees left an imprint that manifested itself into an ethic for the conservation of large landscapes. Summers spent in the Flathead Valley of Montana gave him an appreciation of the interconnected nature of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem and the high plains to the east. His interest in natural history deepened as he took up bowhunting in his late teens.
These early hunting experiences led him to reflect on the absence of bison on the modern plains. In 2013, he founded Sweetgrass Bison, a company dedicated to raising grass-fed bison for conscious consumers using sustainable land management practices, while using that platform to advocate for the return of wild, huntable bison populations to our landscapes. He was drawn to BHA by the impact it’s had on public land issues in America, and seeing the need in Alberta for an organization with an uncompromising mission to protect our wild places that are increasingly threatened. Cody looks forward to the challenges and rewards of working together, across boundaries, to preserve our collective natural heritage.
Kevin Van Tighem – BOD Advisory, Canmore
Kevin Van Tighem’s hunting and fishing roots go back to his childhood in 1960s Alberta. He spent 34 years working as a biologist, interpreter, manager and, ultimately, superintendent in various of Canada’s western national parks before retiring in 2011. He continues to hunt elk, deer, bighorn sheep and grouse, and to fish for trout in the streams that drain the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. He is the author of more than a dozen books on nature and conservation including, most recently, Heart Waters/Sources of the Bow River and Our Place/Changing the Nature of Alberta. Kevin and his wife Gail live in Canmore and have three grown children.
Katie Morrison – BOD, Calgary
Katie Morrison is a professional biologist and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up, Katie and her family spent much of their time outdoors: camping, horseback riding, canoeing and fishing. This led her to obtain a B.Sc. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Environmental Design from the University of Calgary. While Katie has worked throughout western Canada and in Latin America for university research projects, nongovernmental organizations, and environmental consulting companies, she now spends her days working on public lands conservation in Southern Alberta. Her love of the outdoors continues to pull her into the backcountry on hiking, backpacking and wilderness canoe trips – always with a fishing rod or two in hand. The continuing push of industrial land uses and motorized recreation into Alberta’s shrinking wilderness areas motivates her to work on keeping these areas wild for native fish, wildlife and those who experience these amazing places through traditional quiet uses.
Andrew Baisley – Secretary, Calgary
Andrew grew up in Southern Ontario and relocated to Alberta to start his career. Growing up in areas surrounded by extensive tracts of private land taught him how rare and treasured the public land we take for granted in the west really is. Andrew works worldwide as an environmental scientist but focuses the majority of his time in Western Canada on mine closure and reclamation projects. When not working, Andrew enjoys partaking in the environment his work shows him to be so precious. Hunting, fishing, mountaineering and camping keep him busy year round. Andrew especially enjoys introducing new people to the outdoors, specifically the vast expanses of public lands available to Western Canadians.
Tom Habib – Treasurer, Edmonton
Tom grew up in Ontario, and has had a love of the outdoors as far back as he can remember. It probably helped that his parents shipped him off on canoe and hiking trips every summer, for which he is eternally grateful. His love of nature and wildlife eventually led him to Edmonton 10 years ago for a Master's degree in ecology at the University of Alberta, where he studied white-tailed and mule deer.
Although not from a hunting family, Tom picked it up since moving to Alberta, and is now completely hooked. His thinking on hunting and wildlife management is built around his background in ecology. So for Tom, BHA's values of maintaining large tracts of wilderness, habitat conservation, and environmental stewardship are a perfect fit.
Nick Peso – BOD, Calgary
Nick is an outdoor enthusiast. Born in Ontario he grew up fishing, hunting, and camping. Moving out west in 2006 Nick fell in love with the foothills and mountains of Alberta, and became interested in learning about and preserving public lands. Working in the Energy industry Nick's had the opportunity to travel throughout the western provinces, instilling a deep appreciation of Canada's wilderness. He spends his free time hiking, camping, fishing, and is an avid bow and rifle hunter. Being an accomplished athlete he enjoys being active and challenging himself. On the weekends, you can find Nick in the back country, whether is hiking/hunting solo or spending time with his wife and dog on a trail, or creating their own on public lands.
Don Meradith – BOD – Advisory, Edmonton
Don Meredith is a semi-retired writer and biologist living west of Edmonton. Although he grew up in an urban area, Don has been interested in wildlife and wildlands for as long as he can remember. He spent much of his youth exploring the California wilderness, including hiking the length of the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada. While attending university, he worked as a seasonal Park Ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park, where he learned about wildlands management and how people value wilderness. His graduate studies focused on the relationships between alpine animals and their habitats. Don has worked as a consulting wildlife biologist on various projects for both private industry and government in the High Arctic, northern Alberta and the Alberta Rocky Mountains. He was Head of Information and Education for the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division from 1989 to 2002.
An avid hunter, angler, and hiker, Don uses his adventures in wild places as fodder for his articles and books. He writes a monthly column, “Rubs, Scrapes and Tangle,” for the Alberta Outdoorsmen magazine and has published several articles on wildlife and the outdoors for such periodicals as Canadian Geographic, Western Sportsman, Alberta Game Warden, Alberta Fishing Guide, and the Edmonton Journal. He has written two award-winning adventure novels, Dog Runner (1989, 2004) and The Search for Grizzly One (2005), both based on his experiences in the wilderness of northern Canada.
Don has been an active supporter of many conservation organizations. He joined the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers because of his frustration seeing much quality fish and wildlife habitat being degraded in the wild country he loves. He believes hunting and angling are important components in any wildlands management plan and that hunters and anglers who understand the value of wildlands need to be involved in creating such a plan.
Rob Taylor – BOD, Lethbridge
Rob Taylor grew up near Turner Valley, Alberta. His father was an outfitter and Hunting Guide who operated out of the Elbow Valley in Kananaskis Country. Rob's summers were often spent helping his father guide trips far into the mountains. These early experiences anchor his deep passion for the Eastern Slopes and the public land of Alberta. As a hunter and occasional angler, Rob is deeply concerned about the future of Alberta's public lands and preserving the remaining tracts of wilderness.
Rob received his BSc from the University of Saskatchewan and is a Biologist in Training with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists. Currently working with the Oldman Watershed Council he has previously worked for the University of Lethbridge, Alberta Environment and Parks, and Bow Point Native Plant Nursery.
Kurt Megarry – BOD, Lethbridge
Kurt was born and raised in Calgary Alberta. Hunting and fishing was a way of life, spending many days in the field with his father and brother. Later Kurt moved to Southern Alberta where he now lives with his wife and 3 boys. Living in a small town in the prairies Kurt developed a healthy obsession with waterfowl hunting. He also enjoys backpack bow and rifle hunting in the badlands and mountains of Alberta. Kurt shares his love for wildlife and the outdoors with his family, there are always stories to share around the campfire. He was drawn to BHA as he sees a need for increased awareness about conservation and its role in the preservation of opportunities and wild places for future generations of hunters and anglers.
Shawn Morrison – BOD, Edmonton
Shawn is a terrestrial ecologist and has conducted research on wildlife population dynamics, habitat use, and foraging ecology of various wildlife species across Canada. This work has typically involved extensive collaborations with stakeholders from provincial governments, industry, NGOs, and academia. He holds a PhD in Environmental Biology and Ecology from the University of Alberta, and is a registered professional biologist. He lives in Edmonton with his family.