Neil Keown – Chair, Calgary
Neil relocated from Northern Ontario to Calgary, Alberta. He began exploring the outdoors in his mid-thirties, first by fishing, and then hunting. 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.
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 passes on the love of the outdoors to his children. 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 explored yet.
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 take for granted.
Riley Epp – Co-Chair, Calgary
Riley was introduced to hunting at age 26 when a friend brought him along on a mule deer hunt. He has since taken a keen interest in big game hunting, and more recently, game birds and fishing. He joined BHA in 2018, embracing the commonly held values of conservation and advocacy for wilderness and its dependents.
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.
Katie Morrison – Secretary, 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, fishing, hunting, backpacking and wilderness canoe trips. 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.
Beau Cleland – BOD, Calgary
Beau Cleland is an avid angler and a relatively recent convert to fly fishing who fishes and camps almost exclusively on public lands and waters. Originally from the United States, he has lived in Calgary since 2011. He spends his outdoor time roaming western Canada and the United States, camping, hiking, and fishing with his wife and three boys. Beau served for eight years in the United States Army, with service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He holds a masters in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in history from the University of Calgary, where he currently works. Beau is eager to help with BHA’s mission to preserve and protect our publicly-owned lands for current and future generations.
Everett has been hunting and fishing since he was a young child. He has also been trapping since 2007. He cut his teeth jump-shooting wood ducks and wing-shooting ruffed grouse (yes, ruffed grouse are actually quite flighty in southern Ontario!) on the Canadian Shield, chasing wild turkeys and deer on agricultural lands, calling migrating waterfowl on the big water of Lake Ontario, and fishing for everything from salmon in the Great Lakes to smallmouth bass in cottage country. After permanently moving to Alberta in 2015 (originally Lac La Biche), he became more dedicated to big game hunting, spending inordinate amounts of time chasing elk with his bow, and now, since moving to Lethbridge in 2018, bighorn sheep and black bears in the mountains.
Professionally, Everett teaches courses and researches in wildlife biology at Lethbridge College. He also works as a wildlife biologist in the consulting world. Everett has a PhD in wildlife ecology, is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® with The Wildlife Society, and a Registered Professional Biologist with the BC College of Applied Biology.
Everett was naturally drawn to BHA’s advocacy for science-based decision making and mission to protect access to public land. Everett brings >13 years of international experience in natural resource management with NGOs, provincial/state agencies, and academic institutions to the Board.
Devon Rundvall - BOD, Edmonton
Devon is a new hunter that almost exclusively hunts public land in Alberta. As a public land hunter he was drawn to BHA for it's focus on keeping public land in public hand. He joined the Alberta chapter during the first pint night held in Edmonton and hasn’t missed one since. For the last two years, Devon has helped organize pint nights and represented BHA during events. Despite these efforts no one has given up a honey hole where he can find a nice bull elk. Frustrated with all the secrecy, he decided to join the ABHA board in hopes of getting a peek at everyone else's GPS maps.
Erik Koskela – BOD, Calgary
Erik was born in Sudbury, Ontario, spent most of his adult life in Ottawa, and relocated to Calgary in July 2019. He spent much of his childhood hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather, but largely stopped after he went to university. After graduation, he spent several years trying to reconcile urban life with his childhood passions but struggled to find hunting opportunities that weren’t on private land. His passions were later re-ignited after a friend introduced him to public land turkey hunting opportunities near Ottawa.
Since moving to Alberta, Erik’s free time is spent dreaming about elk, fly fishing, and learning about the importance of backcountry nutrition.
Chad Nelson - BOD
Chad has been hunting and fishing in Alberta his whole life, the majority of which has been on public lands. Over the last 10 years he has taken a particular interest in experiencing those activities in the backcountry and through those experiences has developed a passion for maintaining those opportunities for his young family to enjoy.
He lives with his family in Leduc, Alberta but has had the privilege of hunting public lands all across the province. He is dedicated to the BHA's mission through which he hopes to contribute to the advocacy for the conservation of and access to the public lands that he loves.
Tirel Gowans - BOD
Tirel spent much of his youth with his family in Alberta’s backcountry. His passion for hunting rooted at a young age chasing white-tailed deer and upland bird with his father. The annual hunting tradition has since developed into a constant pursuit of several fish and game species throughout Alberta’s varying landscapes.
In 2004 he joined the Canadian Armed Forces and served in a light infantry regiment. Two years later he was deployed to the theatre of operations in Afghanistan. After resigning from the military he spent three years in Asia before settling in Calgary, starting a new family, and finding a career in the trades. As a contractor his career brings him to various projects across Western Canada. Although work is a primary reason for travel he has never wasted an opportunity to find new areas to hunt and fish, nearly all of which are on public lands.
Being no stranger to service, Tirel saw that joining Backcountry Hunters & Anglers in the pursuit to preserve the remaining wild lands he treasures was an easy choice.
Erin Blanchard - BOD
Erin began fishing and hunting as an adult out of a desire to participate fully in a more ethical diet. She has participated in various outdoor programs and mentored fishing and hunting experiences across Alberta, BC and Montana over the past 6 years.
At Alberta BHA she finally discovered a community of like-minded people who prioritize responsible stewardship, and prefer to get off the beaten paths. She studied herbalism at Wild Rose College in Calgary and has been foraging and wildcrafting since the early 2000's; her love of hiking in wild places and reverence for nature naturally lead her to value public lands as a resource available for everyone to use and protect.
She now lives in Edmonton with her daughter who likes to camp and fly fish with her. With BHA, she hopes to use her enthusiasm and knowledge to encourage new hunters and anglers to experience all the abundance that Alberta has to offer.
Bob Montgomery - BOD
Bob Montgomery began hunting when he was 14 after his neighbours took him out to Chain Lakes PP. He then took a hiatus after high school to pursue skiing and other outdoor recreation. He worked in the outdoor education field for years, completing a degree in Eco-tourism and Outdoor leadership. After he completed his Masters in Applied Health Sciences focusing on Métis decolonization, Bob became more involved in hunting as a way of reclaiming his Métis identity.
Working at a wilderness based addictions treatment centre in Nordegg, he found a Métis harvesting mentor and is actively engaged in learning Indigenous conservation practices including the ethical harvesting animals and plants. Bob is a recognized Métis harvester and is passionate about connecting to the land through stewardship and Indigenous conservation practices.
BHA was attractive because of their alignment with critical conservation issues and their active approach. He hopes to contribute to the work that BHA has taken on and learn new ways to advocate for conservation.