Dr. Sara Scheer - Keynote Address

Dr. Scherr is an agricultural and natural resource economist specializing in land management policy in tropical developing countries. She has been a prominent voice globally in promoting the restoration of degraded agricultural lands for food security and rural livelihoods, and is a leading innovator in integrated landscape management. She is an expert in the economics of sustainable agriculture and agroforestry and the design of payments to farmers and farming communities for ecosystem stewardship. She founded EcoAgriculture Partners in 2002, and in 2011 co-founded the global Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, which she now chairs.

Before founding EcoAgriculture Partners, Dr. Scherr held positions as Director of Ecosystem Services at the non-profit Forest Trends; adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA; co-leader of the CGIAR Gender Program; senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C.; and principal researcher at the World Agroforestry Centre based in Nairobi, Kenya. She was a Fulbright Scholar (1976) and a Rockefeller Social Science Fellow (1985-87). Dr. Scherr received her BA in Economics at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and her MSc and PhD in International Economics and Development at Cornell University in New York.

Dr. Sandeep Agrawal

Dr. Agrawal is an urban and regional planner whose research interests include land use and regional planning, international development, multiculturalism and human rights. His most recent works are on human rights and municipal bylaws, and regional and rural planning in Alberta. His international works include high density rural regions of India, effects of tall buildings in Colombo, Sri Lanka and evaluation of housing affordability programs in the United Arab Emirates. His newly co-authored book “Understanding India’s new Approach to Spatial planning and Development: A Salient Shift?” is published by the Oxford University Press. He recently completed a SSHRC/IRCC funded project on documenting the settlement experience of Syrian refugees in Alberta. His SSHRC-funded pan-Canadian work on human rights and the city and Alberta Land Institute – funded municipal annexations in Alberta are currently ongoing. Dr. Agrawal served on City of Edmonton’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. He currently serves on the Alberta Municipal Government Board.

Norine Ambrose

In her 18 years with Cows and Fish, Norine has focused on working with landowners, communities and natural resource professionals to help them recognize the value of riparian areas, and what they can do to maintain these areas as healthy, productive pieces of our landscape.  Her work with community leaders, organisations and agencies emphasises sharing lessons learned in effective program design and delivery. She combines her wetland ecology research experiences from the University of Alberta with extensive development of new outreach and monitoring tools at Cows and Fish, to help bridge science, management and education around riparian ecosystems.   

Dr. Marian Weber

Dr. Marian Weber is a Principal Researcher (economist) with InnoTech Alberta. Marian’s research encompasses developing policies and market based opportunities for managing ecosystem services from land and water ecosystems. In her role she has worked with the energy, agriculture, and forestry sectors, as well as municipal and provincial governments. Current projects include willingness to pay for management practices that enhance water quality and biodiversity in the livestock sector and testing approaches for caribou habitat offsets on Alberta’s public forest lands. She is also interested in opportunities for contribution of agricultural lands to natural municipal infrastructure. Most recently her research has focused on governance challenges related to the management of cumulative effects, particularly with respect to ecosystem service markets.

Dr. Blair Feltmate

Blair is Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo. The primary purpose of the Intact Centre is to mobilize practical and cost-effective means to help de-risk Canada from the costs associated with extreme weather events. Previous positions Blair has held include Vice President, Sustainable Development, Bank of Montreal; Director, Sustainable Development, OPG; and Partner, Sustainable Investment Group/YMG Capital Management.  Blair has written textbooks on environmental science, banking and sustainable development. He is generally interviewed by the media 100-150 times per year.  He Chairs the development of two adaptation Standards for the Canadian Standards Association, and he is Chair, Federal Government of Canada Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation and Resilience Results.




Dr. Evan Davies

Dr. Evan Davies is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta and specializes in systems analysis and modeling. Dr. Davies’ work has been published in top water resources, social sciences, and global-change journals including Advances in Water Resources, the Hydrological Sciences Journal, Hydrological Processes, Human Ecology, the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

Dr. Davies was the principal investigator for our Systems Modeling Sustainable Land and Water Policy in Alberta's Irrigation System. 





Nicole Masters

Nicole Masters, is an independent agroecologist, systems thinker and educator. She has a formal background in ecology, soil science and organizational learning. She has been providing agricultural consulting and extension services since 2003.  Nicole is recognized as a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker on the topic of soil health.

Her team of soil coaches at Integrity Soils work alongside producers in the U.S., Canada and across Australasia. Supporting producers in taking their operations to the next level in nutrient density, profitability and environmental outcomes.

She is one of a growing number of people who are facilitating a rapidly expanding world of quality food production and biological economies.


Leith Deacon

Leith Deacon is an Assistant Professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Program within the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta. Leith’s current research examines concepts of governance, resiliency, planning, and policy associated with Canada’s resource-based communities. The primary research objective of Dr. Deacon's research is to contribute to improving Canada’s long term sustainability from both an economic and environmental standpoint.



Dr. Brent Swallow

Dr. Brent Swallow is Professor with the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta.  Dr. Swallow is a native of Saskatchewan who earned his BSA (81) and MSc (83) degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (91).  His major fields of study at the PhD level were resource economics and development economics; he has continued to study the development – environment nexus throughout his career. He has authored 70 journal articles and book chapters.  He is a Distinguished Associate of the World Agroforestry Centre and has won best paper awards from the International Water Resources Association and the International Association for the Study of Common Property.





Lara Ellis

As Director of Strategic Initiatives, Lara is eager to scale the conservation work of ALUS Canada by finding effective ways to strengthen environmental protection and grow community sustainability and resilience.

She is currently focused on the development of new regulated and unregulated ecosystem services markets and growing support for green infrastructure on agricultural lands.  

Prior to joining ALUS in August 2015, Lara was Program Director at the Ivey Foundation, where she helped develop the Economy and Environment Program, and worked on the Conserving Canada’s Forests Program in her earlier capacity as Program Officer.

She is a Steering Committee Member of the Natural Capital Lab which seeks to measure and value ecosystem services and build the case for better government and corporate decision-making.

Lara is also the Chair of Upstream, an organization that seeks to improve the health of Canadians by addressing the greatest influences on our health, including education, early childhood development, housing, nutrition and the wider environment.

Lara is proud to have previously served as a Board Member of the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network. Lara has two degrees from McGill University, a B.A. in English Literature and a Master’s of Management (McGill-McConnell Program). 

She is based in Toronto, Canada.