CEI 2024 Symposium:

The theme of the Conference is "Wilderness, Wildlife and Human Interaction." It is set intentionally broad so all aspects of wilderness and human interaction (preserving our indigenous wildlife, economic, cultural, research, conservation past and present, alternative energy, the management of landscape domestic and wild, achievable goals) can be included. This Conference’s intention is also to explore new perspectives aimed at generating a Plan B; focused on examining and creating innovative methods of moving from current economic and environmental stalemate and conflict to a sustainable and a healthy planet. Only our imaginations set the limits!

We have confirmed that our 2024 symposium will be on MARCH 2ND, 2024
Our symposium will be hosted at the Bragg Creek Community Centre! (23 White Ave, Bragg Creek, AB T0L 0K0)
The time of our symposium will be 9:30am to 5:00pm!



Mike was born and raised on the East slope of the Alberta Rockies in the Foothills west of Pincher Creek. His education includes book learning and accompanying old Mountain men on their travels. For much of his life, Mike has been a guide and outfitter involved in hunting, trail riding along the continental divide and dog sled tours in the winter.

Mike's reverence for nature has also led to many attempts to throw sprags in the wheels of progress and the relentless encroachment on our last remaining intact wilderness with occasional success! Currently he is one of the founding members of a new organization, the Foothills Bison Restoration Society and will be presenting their ideas for bringing Bison to some of our public Wild lands along the eastern slopes.

Mike is also a painter and will be showcasing some of his artwork at the symposium so stay tuned to see some of his work!


Wes Olson was raised in the rugged foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. There, on family camping, hunting and fishing trips began a life-long association with wild places and wildlife that live in them. After working for more than 30 years with bison, Wes has developed an international reputation for his knowledge about both plains and wood bison. Wes has the unique ability to combine his extensive scientific knowledge about bison with his talents using graphite, water color, oil painting and mixed medium artwork to capture the buffalo and other wildlife in their natural environments.

Wes has been a keynote speaker at conferences, seminars and naturalist groups across Canada and the United States and continues to give presentations about bison and the ecosystem roles they play, to any audience curious about bison. We are excited to offer his incredible knowledge and perspective at our Wilderness, Wildlife and Human Interaction Symposium!


After a twenty-five-year career as an advertising photographer in Toronto Canada, Joseph Duff partnered with metal sculptor Bill Lishman in 1993. The two artists turned naturalists used ultralight aircraft to lead 18 Canada geese from Ontario to Virginia, completing the first human-led bird migration. Their initial study was featured on ABC’s news program 20/20. That coverage attracted the attention of the scientific community and the idea of using their technique to reintroduce endangered avian species was germinated. By using imprinting and costume rearing, Duff and Lishman were able to act as surrogate parents and teach migratory Behavior along a safe route.

After working with Sony Columbia to produce the major motion picture Fly Away Home and establishing Operation Migration as a registered charity, they conducted a series of migration experiments with sandhill crane and trumpeter swans. Thereafter, Duff convinced the US Fish and Wildlife Service that the technique had merit and Operation Migration became a founding member of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. In his partial retirement, Joe serves as the ED of WildLife Canada Society, which is aself-funded charity founded by the exploration geologist who was the first to discover diamonds in Canada. He is currently working on a proposal to reintroduce muskoxen into the area near Churchill Manitoba, and another to safeguard the habitat of the deep snow mountain caribou in the temperate rainforest of central BC.


Ali Morrison is a classical musician who has spent her life exploring sound and silence. She has lived and worked in 10 Countries around the world, performing, recording and teaching, such as at the University of Wellington NZ, Vassar College NY, SUNY Purchase NY and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto - to name a few! She has performed and recorded with classical chamber music ensembles, traditional Indian Tabla ensembles, Australian didgeridoo groups, and Middle Eastern percussionists as well as Basic Elements, a Canadian Glass Music Ensemble and the Canadian Electronic Music Ensemble. Her passions are music, art, and creating unique performance pieces such as the “Boat Ballet” involving 36 sea vessels including kayaks, fishing boats, the Dun Laoghaire youth Sailing club and the Irish National Rescue boat in the Dublin Harbour for the Lobster, Crab and All That Jazz Festival. Now living in Canada, she is expanding her lifelong connection to nature that is far wilder than that in Europe and grappling with Canadian Winters.


Elder Charlie Fox. Martin Charles Fox (Piitahonista, Eagle Calf) is an Elder of the Kainai Nations sacred Horn Society and an advocate for the Blackfoot Culture and Language.As a residential school survivor, Fox shares that experience to help curb the effects of forced assimilation. He credits his loving parental upbringing, family and his people's Spirituality. This was paved by his late father Stephen Fox Sr. - a herbalist and spiritual leader and his maternal grandfather Charlie Panther Bone (Eagle Calf).His career in the helping professions was in Adult Probation, School Liaison, Tribal Council and Child Welfare.

Fox's agricultural home environment led him to horsemanship skills and a Texas A & M Therapeutic Instructor Certificate.His other interests in the arts and crafts are worn by tradititonal leaders. He has coordinated Kainai Cheiftainship inductions sisnce 1978 and is inspired by his rich Blackfoot culture and heritage, which he gladly shares with the rest of the world.


Laura Stewart has worked with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry for the last five years as a FireSmart Specialist. Prior to joining the Alberta team, Laura spent four years with a municipal fire department as the Neighbourhood Safety Education Coordinator. In this role, Laura was responsible for coordinating all home fire safety, emergency preparedness, and injury prevention programming. In 2012, FireSmart planning and education were added to Laura’s portfolio and she led a neighbourhood FireSmart program.Laura oversees the FireSmart Neighbourhoods program for the province and is eager to partner with Alberta neighbourhoods and work towards receiving FireSmart Neighbourhood Recognition!We're so excited to introduce Laura and to learn more about the relationship of fires to wildlife!


Clio has worked with animals and conservation issues since 1962. She worked in Africa, B.C. and Alberta, where she was Curator of the Children’s Zoo, at Calgary Zoo. In 1967, with her parents, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, she established the Wildlife Reserve of Western Canada (later the Cochrane Wildlife Reserve and now the Cochrane Ecological Institute, CEI) and established a branch of the Institute in British Columbia. In Alberta, her work focuses on breeding endangered species for reintroduction and in B.C., on the rehabilitation and release of orphaned wildlife, environmental research and education.


Silent Auction

Our silent auction is now LIVE! Check out the link HERE to see what's for auction!

Art Exhibit

Curious to see some incredible art? Some of our speakers and sponsors will be showcasing their works!

Booths and Books

From Fire Safe knowledge, to our Going Batty program and books for sale by our amazing speakers, the options are endless.


Bragg Creek Distillers

5% of select drink sales during March 2 are going back to the Cochrane Ecological Institute! Check out the selection here!

The Post House Inn

The Post House was created to serve Bragg Creek with unique hospitality services.  It has a Conference Centre which accommodates groups of up to 40 with a versatile meeting and gathering space including catering options.  They offer short term overnight accommodation by way of 4 self contained units one being a 2 bedroom rustic cabin. We'd like to especially thank them for their generosity with the costs for housing our speaker's stay!

Bragg's Korner Kitchen

Bragg's Korner Kitchen is a licensed restaurant in the beautiful Bragg Creek; their main focus-simply delicious food with top-notch customer service. Thank you to Bragg's Korner Kitchen for sponsoring our speaker's lunch AND dinner for our event!



Previous Symposiums

Check out videos from our previous symposiums!