Patty Wellborn



UBCO’s Dominica Patterson has won the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. She is now preparing for law school.

Silver Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation

Shortly after high school, Dominica Patterson boarded a plane to volunteer in Benin, West Africa. While she knew an adventure was waiting, she had no idea how that journey would light a spark that would eventually lead to law school.

Now, as she graduates from UBC Okanagan and studies for her Law School Admission Test (LSAT), Patterson has been named the winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. It’s an honour reserved for a student with a strong academic standing and who has also made a difference in this world.

Patterson admits she didn’t take high school seriously enough and had no idea what her future would bring. She signed up for the cultural exchange and left the rest up to fate.

“I assumed I was going on a big ‘save the planet’ project and I’d come back feeling like a great person,” she says. “To my benefit, it was not that type of program and it certainly opened my eyes. I quickly learned a lot about integrating into a new society, and the conflicts between foreign affairs, international aid and the lack of human rights many people struggle with.”

In Benin, she lived in a small rural village, worked on a community farm and also shadowed health care professionals in a nearby maternity clinic. The experience lit a fire in Patterson. She became passionate about global affairs and human rights. Back in Canada, after completing an associate degree in criminal justice she transferred to UBC Okanagan, bridging her credits towards a bachelor’s degree in international relations.

She quickly became involved in a number of organizations, most notably the non-profit group Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA).

“Working alongside human rights lawyers and executive organizers of the organization, I joined the fight to stand with temporary migrant workers in Canada against the structural racism, violence, isolation, discrimination and poor living and working conditions they often face while working here,” she explains.

She also began a fundraising campaign, helping support a person while he was waiting for the ruling of the Canadian BC Human Rights Tribunal. Not only did she start a Go Fund Me campaign, but she also created a business selling succulents in vintage teapots to raise money to support his family.

All this, while working on her degree. She admits there were some long nights poring over textbooks, and endless papers to write. But her work with RAMA inspired her to make a difference. The spark that had been lit in Benin, continued to burn.

“I took each moment in each course as it came along. Then I made the dean’s list and suddenly I knew I had the possibility of getting where I wanted to go. I knew there was no giving up.”

By then Patterson, and her passion for justice, was noticed by some of her professors.

“She has all of the hallmarks of being an outstanding scholar and someone who will be a practical change-maker around issues of inequality, inclusion and social justice,” says Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Department Head, Professor Helen Yanacopulos. “Teaching Dominica has been not only inspiring, but also intellectually stimulating and an absolute pleasure.”

And in 2019, Associate Professor of History Jessica Stites Mor invited Patterson to help coordinate a conference on International Solidarity Movement New York City.

“Dominica is an outstanding student and promises to contribute great things in the future. Her research on labour issues between Latin America and Canada has involved a deep reading of hemispheric labour conflict and activism with RAMA,” she adds. “Her family’s experience coming to Canada from Chile in the aftermath of Pinochet’s military coup has inspired her to consider the connections between everyday acts of exploitation and the foundations of citizenship and democracy.”

And the spark for human rights continues to burn. She takes her LSAT in July and has applied for law school, with a focus on international affairs. It’s daunting, she says, thinking of the years of course work ahead. But hearing about the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal only sparks the flame for justice.

“At certain points, you find yourself on the floor, exhausted. You wonder how you’re going to get through this. But you can’t quit, because you want to make a difference,” she says. “To have this recognition is something I never expected. I can now look back at those moments when I was on my knees—done and ready to give up. I wish I could have told myself then it was going to be worth it. This is an amazing end to my time at UBCO and I couldn’t be more humbled or more grateful. I am truly thankful.”

Rick Mercer will deliver the 2020 keynote address. Mercer was a 2010 UBC honorary degree recipient.

Virtual ceremony takes place Wednesday as more than 1,900 students graduate

UBC Okanagan’s Convocation of 2020 will go down in history as a unique event. Instead of students, parents and faculty joining together on campus, the celebrations will be held virtually.

“The context of 2020 has made necessary a very different approach to our graduation ceremony this year,” says Deborah Buszard, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus. “While the ceremony will be virtual, the remarkable achievements of our students are very real and worthy of recognition. I invite everyone to join me in celebrating the Class of 2020.”

This year, 1,925 students have qualified for convocation from UBC Okanagan—that includes 1,600 undergraduates, more than 270 students who have earned a master’s degree and 45 newly-conferred doctorate degrees.

While convocation is a time of celebration, it’s also a time of long-kept traditions. The program will begin with Chancellor Lindsay Gordon presiding over the virtual ceremony. UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono and Buszard will both address the Class of 2020 live, dressed in full academic regalia. And graduates will have an opportunity to take a virtual selfie with President Ono.

UBC has arranged for Canadian icon and comedian Rick Mercer to deliver the 2020 keynote address. Mercer was a 2010 UBC honorary degree recipient.

Students have had the opportunity to purchase graduation regalia, special graduation gifts, create a personalized commemorative graduation video clip, download congratulatory signs and sign a guest book with congratulatory messages.

The virtual ceremony will last 45 minutes and it will be livestreamed on June 17, with a pre-show beginning at 2:30 p.m. The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. and a 20-minute virtual alumni reception takes place at 3:55 p.m. The ceremony can also be watched on YouTube, Facebook or Panopto, a platform that is accessible from many countries. To find out more, visit:

“These are, indeed, unusual times, and UBC students have shown once again their resilience and ability to cope and thrive in the face of change,” says Buszard. “With everything they have accomplished over these past months and over the course of their studies, I couldn’t be more proud of the extraordinary UBC Okanagan Class of 2020. Congratulations.”

This year’s medal recipients

  • Governor General’s Gold Medal: Mike Tymko
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Medal Program for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation: Dominica Patterson
  • UBC Medal in Fine Arts: Aiden de Vin
  • UBC Medal in Arts: Ellie Jane Fedec
  • UBC Medal in Science: Nicholas Kayban
  • UBC Medal in Education: Alyssa Pembleton
  • UBC Medal in Nursing: Christopher Popel
  • UBC Medal in Management: Amanda Campbell
  • UBC Medal in Human Kinetics: Madison Powls
  • UBC Medal in Engineering: Tyler Ho

Lots of people are using creative ideas like painting to keep busy during times of self-isolation and social distancing.

UBCO researcher explores the science behind imagination

A new study from UBC’s Okanagan campus is shedding light into how human creativity works and how novel ideas are formed—something the study’s researchers say is becoming increasingly important.

“The more the world changes, the more we need creative ideas,” says Liane Gabora, a UBC Okanagan psychology professor and creativity researcher.

But how do people come up with these innovative solutions?

“Most creativity research is done on the final products of creativity—the finished work of art, or novel or technological invention,” says Gabora. “Yet when people talk about the ‘magic’ of creativity, by the time the final product exists, that ‘magic’ is over.”

The creative process has long been believed to involve searching memory and generating multiple independent ‘candidate’ ideas, followed by selection and refinement of the most promising. But Gabora suspects something else is happening during the creative process.

She proposes that the mental representation of an unborn idea may take different outward forms when looked at from different perspectives. What appears to be discrete, separate ideas can be described mathematically as different projections of the same underlying mental representation. As creative thought proceeds, this representation loses the potential to be viewed from different perspectives and manifest as different outcomes.

This theory, referred to as honing theory, grew out of the neuroscience of how memories are encoded and retrieved, and by studying mathematical models of concept combinations and interactions.

“We are constantly re-organizing our internal webs of knowledge and memory,” explains Gabora. “When we retrieve an item in a new context, it can generate emergent properties that are neither properties of the memory, nor of the context; they emerge as something totally new when the two combine.”

Gabora points to the invention of the kitchen island as an example.

“An island, we all agree, has the defining property of being surrounded by water,” she says. “However, we effortlessly accept that this is not a property of the compound concept kitchen island—because if your kitchen island is surrounded by water, you’re in trouble. But the property emerges when island appears in the concept kitchen.”

Gabora says to truly understand how the creative process works, one has to study the states of creative ideas midway through the creative process. She and four undergraduate researchers at UBCO recently conducted studies that did just that—publishing their results in Acta Psychologica.

Gabora and her team conducted two studies to test her theory. In the first, participants were interrupted midway through solving an analogy problem, writing down what they were thinking in terms of a solution. In the second, participants were instructed to create a painting that expressed their true essence and describe how they conceived of it.

For both studies, unbiased judges categorized responses as supportive of either the conventional or honing theory view.

To Gabora’s delight, the results were most consistent with honing theory, providing further evidence that her research is on the right track.

“This is exciting because having a deeper understanding of how the creative process works psychologically can greatly benefit society moving forward,” she says.

“If we can understand the mental progressions occurring during the creative process, we can better understand the steps involved in the generation of the world’s greatest masterpieces, and potentially pave the way to the next masterpieces,” she says.

Gabora adds that during times of rapid change such as a pandemic, understanding the creative process is more important than ever.

“A key step is appreciating how each person’s uniqueness gives them a potential to create in ways that are uniquely theirs. Whether it’s creating a new kind of robot, making a new delicious kind of sourdough bread or writing country music’s next big hit—our potential is endless.”

Take a minute to notice how you feel before, during and after your time on something like Facebook or Instagram. Does it pick you up or pull you down?

Along with being socially distant, should we ditch social media?

Even though much of Canada is loosening stay-at-home restrictions, people are realizing that social distancing and working from home is the new normal. And might be for some time.

For most, this means a continuation of personal contact only via social media, texting and video-meetings. But are we now suffering from too much screen time? Should we stay away from social media while we’re social distancing? Or participate in every new Facebook group or chatting app that’s created to help keep us connected?

Susan Holtzman is an associate professor of psychology at UBC Okanagan. Part of her research focuses on how our social environment can influence our physical and emotional well-being during times of stress.

These are stressful times, indeed. And for most, social media is the only point of contact with friends. Should we be limiting our electronic time?

I don’t think people should be too hard on themselves about the time they are spending on social media right now. There is very useful and important information being shared out there and it can be a helpful way to stay connected with friends and family. But there is a “but.” Social media affects people in different ways. For some, it leaves them feeling happier and more connected, but for others it can result in feelings of anxiety, emptiness and inadequacy.

I would suggest taking a minute to notice how you feel before, during and after your time on something like Facebook or Instagram. Does it pick you up or pull you down? If it pulls you down, maybe you need to cut down. Or, maybe you need to use it in a more active way, like sharing pictures, commenting on posts or as a tool to reconnect with old friends.

What’s the best thing about being connected through social media. And perhaps the worst?

There is no denying that this virus has brought a level of devastation to the human population that would have been unimaginable just a few months ago. Through it all, humans continue to have a basic need to feel connected to others and to feel like we belong. Social media has gifted us with the ability to see that we are not alone in our struggles. It has also provided us with access to stories that inspire and make us laugh.

There is a great deal of fear and anxiety in our society right now, and this is completely understandable. However, there is research to suggest that something called “emotional contagion” might be taking place when people are spending time on social media. Emotional contagion is the idea that we can “catch” emotions when we see them online and we can carry those emotions with us into our offline lives. This is another reason to be mindful about what type of social media we are consuming and how it might be affecting our well-being.

Any tips for parents on keeping the kids occupied and entertained?

Being a parent during the pandemic is hard. Really hard. There is no shortage of ideas out there on the internet for how to keep children entertained—from making doll clothes out of old socks, to scavenger hunts, to going on a virtual tour of a museum. There are websites that can transport you anywhere in the world, to Africa to watch gorillas in their habitat or to beaches in Hawaii. But the very presence of all of these ideas can be overwhelming.

Whatever you do, keep your goals simple and realistic. Get outside at least once a day (ideally, to do something physically active), sing or dance to your favourite music, cook or create something together as a family, call or video-chat with a friend or family member. Now is the time to be compassionate to ourselves and understand that we are all just doing the best we can.

What does your research tell us about social media?

Previous research in my lab has shown that digital communication, like texting, doesn’t give us the same boost in positive mood as in-person interactions during times of stress. I think our society is now feeling these effects first-hand. Online communication is the only option that many of us have to stay in touch with our friends and family right now, especially those who are elderly or medically at-risk—but it often doesn’t feel as satisfying as in-person communication.

Generally speaking, research suggests that technology that provides us with more visual and auditory cues, like video-chatting or voice calls, will help us to feel more connected, compared to things like texting or social media (which can absolutely still have benefits). It is safe to say that there is nothing “good” about a pandemic, but I suspect we will see some very innovative and creative new technologies emerge out of this period that will help us to stay connected when distancing measures are in place.

From a public health perspective, one issue that we have recently been investigating in my lab is how social media can be used to perpetuate false information. We remind people to check credible websites, like the BC Centre for Disease Control.

But we know that people aren’t going to stop sharing COVID-related information on social media. UNESCO has actually responded with a social campaign using #ThinkBeforeSharing, #ThinkBeforeClicking and #ShareKnowledge to encourage thoughtful sharing. And reminding us all to be kind during these unusual times.

Volunteers provide free, online, mental health first aid

All of BC’s frontline health care workers can now access online support services to help them cope with the psychological effects of managing the COVID-19 outbreak.

UBC’s Okanagan campus announced today—in a partnership with the BC Psychological Association (BCPA) and the Association of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC (NNPBC)— that mental health help is now available for those on the front lines of COVID-19.

A new, and free, psychological support service went live this week with more than 160 registered psychologists volunteering their time to the initiative.

“There is emerging evidence that the psychological effects of COVID-19 are just as great as the physical effects, particularly for front-line health care workers,” says Lesley Lutes, a UBCO professor of psychology, registered psychologist and lead on the new initiative.

Lutes points to a recent study from China that demonstrated front-line workers were significantly more likely to suffer from the negative mental health effects of being at the epicentre of the outbreak. Data shows 52 per cent report symptoms of depression and anxiety while 70 per cent report clinical levels of distress and experiencing insomnia at three times the rate compared to other health care workers as a result of the outbreak.

“We’re always worried about the mental health of our front-line health care workers. But the data coming from China is incredibly alarming,” says Lutes. “This has, therefore, necessitated the need for immediate action to provide support to these critical workers.”

In response to this unprecedented need, Lutes is coordinating a new initiative that will deliver free online access to psychological services to any front-line health care worker.

“I compare our healthcare workers in BC to the firefighters and first responders during 9/11,” says Lutes. “And we need to remember that mental health never goes away. Even during a pandemic, it doesn’t stop.”

The BCPA is providing administrative support for this program, along with UBCO’s expertise and resources. And even before this initiative went live, Lutes says the College of Psychologists of BC also stepped up to contribute funding—and will monitor, promote and enhance compliance with the professional standards in the provision of these services to health care workers. However, she wants to emphasize that this initiative is only operating through the kindness of volunteer psychologists—more than 160 of them—who have stepped up to help at this time.

Lutes has already expanded the offering of this service to all essential workers.

“I see the distress, strain and worry in the eyes of the grocery store clerks, the pharmacy technician and the gas station attendant,” she adds. “We plan to expand services even further to the wider public in the coming weeks with additional resources.”

As the service expands, measures of help could include providing daily supportive automated text messages, online well-being resources, live psychoeducational groups and some virtual ‘walk-in’ clinic psychological services for those wanting additional support.

“These are unprecedented times,” says Lutes. “It calls for unprecedented compassion, support and help for each other. I am truly humbled by the people, groups and organizations who have stepped up to help us through this. We will get through this. Together.”

Visit the BCPA or NNPBC websites for more information about how to access the new services.

To read more about Lutes’ work at UBC Okanagan, visit:

100 Debates on the Environment brings policies to the forefront

When: Thursday, October 3, from 7 to 9 p.m.
What: 100 Debates on the Environment, Kelowna-Lake Country candidates
Who: Federal candidates in Kelowna-Lake Country riding
Where: Arts and Sciences building, room ASC 140, 3187 University Way, UBC Okanagan

Organized by UBC Okanagan’s Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience and Ecosystem Services, election hopefuls will be on campus for a question and answer session on Thursday, October 3.

Each candidate will have to answer four questions—the same being asked of candidates across Canada that day and provided by 100 Debates on the Environment. The 100 Debates project is a non-partisan initiative with the goal to bring climate change and environmental policy issues to the forefront of the election.

After the questions are answered, candidates can address some locally focused topics. There will be time for audience questions near the end. Moderated by former Global Okanagan news anchor Rick Webber, the event is politically neutral.

The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required:

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit:

Gibsons’ CAO shares experience developing eco-assets strategy

What: Nature’s Role as Municipal Infrastructure
Who: Emanuel Machado, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Gibsons, BC
When: Wednesday, September 18 starting at 4:30 p.m.
Where: The Engineering, Management and Education building, room EME 1202, 3333 University Way, UBC's Okanagan campus

Natural assets and the ecosystem services they provide are a fundamental part of local government infrastructure. When properly managed, natural assets such as forests, wetlands and green spaces have many advantages over engineered infrastructure—including being less expensive to operate and maintain.

The Town of Gibsons, BC, was the first North American municipality to manage natural resources using asset management, financial management and ecology principles that are systematically applied to managing engineered assets.

Gibsons’ Chief Administrative Officer Emanuel Machado will share his experience in developing the town’s eco-assets strategy at a special event on September 18 at UBCO. Machado has worked with communities across Canada, promoting a greater use of renewable energy, net-zero buildings, water strategies, social plans and sustainability frameworks, all with a focus on people.

This event, presented by UBC’s Okanagan Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience, and Ecosystem Services (BRAES), is free and open to the public. BRAES is a group of more than 30 researchers and graduate students working in ecology, biodiversity and conservation, and environmental sustainability on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

To learn more about BRAES, visit:

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit:

UBC hosts ecologist who explains the science behind pollinator conservation

What: What's the Buzz? Understanding the status of native bees and what you can do to help
Who: York University ecologist Sheila Colla
When: Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m.
Where: room ASC 130, Arts and Sciences Building, 3187 University Way, UBC Okanagan

As April showers bring May flowers, those flowers are going to need something to help with pollination. Enter the simple bee.

In Canada, bees make up the most important group of pollinators. However, the status of most wild bee populations in Canada is unknown. UBC Okanagan’s Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience, and Ecosystems Services is hosting York University ecologist Sheila Colla, who will talk about the conversation of bees.

Her research uses scientific principles to address conservation issues and focuses on the lesser understood native species such as bees, butterflies and flowering plants.

On April 16, Colla will host a public talk where she will discuss native bee diversity and the ecosystem services they provide. She will give an overview of their conservation status and describe how people can help declining species at both the policy and individual levels.

While in Kelowna, Colla will meet with UBCO Professor Nancy Holmes, who runs the Border Free Bees project and UBC Assistant Professor Adam Ford who runs UBCO’s Wildlife Restoration Ecology Lab. She will also take part in a biodiversity seminar series, present her research at a graduate student seminar, meet with students and faculty and explore Kelowna’s nectar trail and.

Colla’s talk is open to the public, but registration is required. To register, visit:

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit:

As spring arrives, forecasters watch the snowpack and the amount of rain to predict what the potential for flooding might be.

UBC professor examines this year’s flood risk in the Okanagan

After a winter with below-average temperatures, Okanagan residents are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel—and it just so happens to be the sun.

The last two spring and summer seasons had their share of environmental challenges. With wet springs followed by smoky summers seemingly becoming the norm, UBC’s David Scott provides his opinion on what’s in store for 2019.

Scott is an associate professor in earth, environmental and geographic sciences at UBC Okanagan and the Forest Renewal British Columbia Research Chair in Watershed Management.

What is the snowpack currently sitting at in the Okanagan Valley?

Right now, it’s at about 80 per cent of normal, which is pretty low and about half of what we had in last year’s record-breaking season. The first of April is usually an indication of the whole season, so we are well below average and the snowpack is already starting to disappear.

Are there risks associated with that number?

Yes, there are still some risks, but not from the snowpack alone. Two years ago, when we had large scale flooding in the Okanagan, the snowpack was around 85 per cent at this time of year. It probably went up to about 105 per cent before it started to really melt—but that on its own wasn’t what caused the flooding. The problem was the above average rainfall in May and June. So the risk we’re facing right now is that we don’t know what the weather will do or how much rain might fall.

David Scott, associate professor of earth, environmental and geographic sciences.

David Scott, associate professor of earth, environmental and geographic sciences.

Are snowpack and rain the two main factors that lead to flooding?

Those are the big ones, yes. The thing about the snowpack is that it gives us a predictable risk. Last year, we had a well-above-average snowpack at this time of year, we were at 150 per cent of normal. This sounds like a concerning number, but it meant that people could plan for a lot of water. They lowered the level of the lake so that when the snow melt did come, it was accommodated and we didn’t have the anticipated flooding in Kelowna. There are other minor risks as well, for example how quickly temperatures rise as that will accelerate the melt. But I think the biggest risk is rain, because we never know how much is coming and rain accelerates melting.

In your opinion, what will the 2019 flooding season look like in the Okanagan?

Given the normal pattern of weather, I don’t think we have a big risk this year. There’s always a risk for minor flooding in some areas, but compared to previous years, I’d say we have very little to worry about.

Is there a connection between the snowpack, flooding and the forest fire season that follows it?

There is a connection—but I consider it to be a weak one. When we look at last year, we had an abnormally high snowpack, which does start us off will a fully-wetted watershed. But once that excess water drained away, we had a very dry season. We entered the forest fire season with a fully recharged soil, but it didn’t amount for much come the end of the summer. So, yes, it can give you a buffer at the beginning, but you need to have rain during the summer to keep that risk down.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit:

UBC Okanagan sustainability researcher Lael Parrott, report editor and contributor

University experts comment on how climate change is transforming alpine environments

Mountains are bellwethers of climate shifts according to new reporting led by UBC researchers, who suggest these terrains are experiencing a variety of rapid and worrying changes.

Mountains comprise a quarter of the world’s land surface and are home to a quarter of the world’s human population. Across Canada, mountain landscapes cover 1.5 million square-kilometres.

“These giants respond rapidly and intensely to climatic and environmental variation,” says UBC Okanagan sustainability researcher Lael Parrott, report editor and contributor. “Both social and natural scientists are recognizing that mountains are sentinels of change.”

The State of the Mountains Report describes the abrupt effect of retreating glaciers on the flow of mountain rivers and watersheds. The report states entire mountain ranges are showing evidence of change.

“These observations can be considered a window to the future, providing a glimpse of some of the consequences associated with the rapid loss of mountain glaciers to come,” says Parrott.

Other updates in the report include changes in tourism, avalanche prediction, birds and mammals and treelines.

In spite of the serious consequences of some of the changes documented in the report, Parrott and other editors of the report remain optimistic. They suggest that the aim is to increase awareness and inform Canadians about the changes in mountain places. This, in turn, may lead to support for policies on headwaters protection to mitigate risks of flooding, conservation of alpine species and their habitats, as well as management of tourism.

“In times of change, mountains need stewards more than ever,” adds Parrott.

About the State of the Mountains Report

The 2018 State of the Mountains Report, published by the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC), is a collection of expert summaries written to raise awareness about the ways a changing climate is transforming the alpine environment. Editors include University of Alberta mountain historian Zac Robinson, mountain ecology researcher David Hik and Lael Parrott from UBC’s Okanagan campus.

The report is a follow up to a similar 2011 article, which was a summary of research being carried out across the country. The 2018 State of the Mountains Report was produced for the ACC, in partnership with The Royal Canadian Geographic Society. The “On the Map” pages in the May-June 2018 issue of Canadian Geographic complement the material in this report.

Both Lael Parrott and Zac Robinson serve on the Board of Directors of the Alpine Club of Canada. David Hik is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world. For more visit