Miistakis Institute 2012/2013 Annual Report
Click here to view the 2012/2013 Annual Report.
This past year was one of transition and change for the Miistakis Institute. We moved to Mount Royal University (MRU) and established ourselves as MRU's inaugural affiliated institute. While most moves tend to be stressful, exhausting and chaotic, our move to MRU proved to be relatively stress-free making for a seamless and smooth transition. Much of this was due to the support and warm welcome we received from MRU. We have enjoyed getting to know our MRU neighbors and colleagues and look forward to meeting more of the MRU community.
We have spent a lot of time over the past few months meeting new people, sharing who we are and what we are all about. This has made us consider how we describe what it is we do. For those of you who know us, you may know us for our expertise in one of our key research areas. For those of you who don't know us yet, we get knowledge into the hands of people who can actively use it in support of conservation. This is often referred to as Knowledge Mobilization or Knowledge Brokering.
Natural resource and land managers frequently state that they need decisions to be scientifically based. Scientifically robust information is being sought more and more by all types of land managers and stakeholders. These groups include: provincial environment agencies, private land owners, parks departments, municipalities, and land trusts. This sounds straightforward, but it challenges everyone involved in conservation research and management.
It is not enough to provide decision makers with data sets, maps, charts, graphs, or even peer-reviewed articles and executive summaries. "Knowledge" is not truly made available until it is in a usable form for those decision makers, in the place and time they exist. Context matters because it allows different groups to use the same knowledge - but in different forms and for different purposes.
This requires understanding the research - how it was developed and its validity - while at the same time understanding the conservation issue that people are seeking to address, and then understanding the lens through which those people view the issue. Being a research institute, a conservation charity, and a social enterprise allows Miistakis to play the different roles necessary to broker, transfer or mobilize knowledge. Miistakis is able to take knowledge from the realm of academia to the realm of land and resource management. In this role, Miistakis may scientifically investigate conservation dilemmas, analyze policy implications, develop decision support tools, catalyze community conservation action, or all of the above.
I welcome you to read more about us and our role as a knowledge broker in the following pages of our annual report.
Danah Duke, Executive Director