Rebecca Reeves

Rebecca Reeves ('04 BSc Environmental and Conservation Sciences student), has spent her whole career in one environmental position or another, working to conserve what's left of Alberta's wild heritage and natural environment. She's currently the Parks Land-Use Framework Planner for the province of Alberta. And, she says, there's one big difference now that she's no longer working in the non-profit sector: "I don't have to worry about fundraising for my own job anymore."

Reeves worked for five years in the non-profit sector, most recently as the executive director of the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council, a multi-stakeholder community organization that works cooperatively with Alberta Parks to plan, manage and fund two new protected areas near Drayton Valley, the first such arrangement with Alberta Parks.

In her new job, Reeves is helping to coordinate the engagement of the Alberta Department of Tourism, Parks and Recreation as it unites with other government departments in what is being called a new Provincial Land-Use Framework Initiative. This new land-use proposal includes creating seven regional plans that will encompass the current 500 provincial protected areas as well as look at creating new parks regions.

"My focus has always been parks, new parks and protecting the landscape," she says, "so it doesn't get better than this working in Alberta, and I'm very excited about the possibilities."

Reeves - a former seasonal conservation officer who was also the lead researcher and writer for an extensive 2007 study called The State of Alberta's Parks & Protected Areas - also likes the idea that the approach to the Parks Land-Use Framework includes a cross-ministerial initiative where people will work collaboratively to come up with consensus decisions on a new approach to managing Alberta's diverse landscape.

"I like the collaborative, interdisciplinary process as the way of moving forward," says Reeves, who credits her environmental science professors at the U of A with taking the same approach and making "things so exciting and so applicable to what I'm doing now. My professors were really, really inspiring, just incredible people who were genuinely committed to not only teaching us, but connecting us to what was going on in Alberta and making personal commitments to ensuring what we were learning was not only applicable to the workforce, but also to our lives and our community. My professors really got me engaged in the community right away and helped me make connections that have lasted to this day."

This article orginally appeared in the August 2009 New Trail University of Alberta Alumni Magazine.