The Alberta Invasive Species Council (AISC) is a not-for-profit society dedicated to informing and educating Albertans about the destructive impacts invasive species have on our environment, economy, and society.
We endeavor to foster partnerships with jurisdictions, agencies and groups to collaboratively develop integrated, long-term management programs, and to engage and empower people to take action against invasive species in Alberta.
Natalie Horne – Social Media / Invasive Species Specialist
Natalie has always had a strong passion for environmental sciences which began in her home country of Australia where she has an Anthropology and Archaeology background (B.A). She moved into the Information Technology sphere before the travel bug took ahold and she began traveling the world. Her adventures took her to a number of countries where she worked in a variety of industries before making Canada her home in 2012. Her love for the natural resource field again came to the forefront after a move to rural Northern Alberta where she fell in love with the Boreal Forest. She has worked in the Safety, Oil & Gas and Construction Industry before moving into the Natural Resource areas of Weed Inspecting, Forest Health and joining the AISC as a Social Media and Invasive Species Specialist in 2018. She continues to foster her love of the outdoors and hopes to assist in educating and servicing Albertans through education on Invasive Species and their Management.
Jay Byer – Chair
Barrhead County, and Summer Villages. Jay Byer is a native Albertan, having grown up northwest of Edmonton and has a bachelor of science in agriculture degree from the University of Alberta. He has more than thirty years in the agriculture field, the most current with Barrhead County as a Assistant Agricultural Fieldmen. Jay has always had a passion for growing things and has participated in the Master Gardener program at the University of Alberta. When he is not helping with weed management at Barrhead County, he is out at his cottage with his wife, Carol, or riding motorcycles when the season permits. He has been on Council at the Summer Village of Rochon Sands, and helps them and Summer Villages in general with their invasive species management programs.
Oscar Anderson – Director
Oscar grew up in Claresholm, Alberta and has a bachelor of science in biology from the University of Lethbridge. He worked with the Municipal District of Willow Creek starting in 1996 doing weed control. He has a passion for weed control, nearly surpassing his passion for fly fishing, rugby, and hunting. He sits on the Alberta Weed Regulatory Advisory Committee (AWRAC) and participates in many community weed pulls. He has a 7-year-old son that also fly fishes and pulls weeds with him.
Gary Godberson – Vice-Chair
Gary is serving as a director with the Alberta Invasive Species Council. He has also with the Professional Vegetation Management Association of Alberta as a director. In 2000, after spending 10 years in Mining Geology positions in places such as Yukon, NWT and South America, Gary purchased West Country Weed Control in Drayton Valley, Alberta. Over the past 17 years, Gary and his team have grown West Country Energy Services into one of the largest Vegetation companies in Canada. A lot of his focus has also included the expansion of Pipeline leak detection services with the company. Gary lives in Lacombe with his wife Sara and has his 2 younger children, Luke and Ava-Jean. His older children Saige and Chantal live in Alberta as well. Gary likes the outdoors, and is involved with trapping, fishing and hunting.
Matt Gibson – Treasurer
Matt has approximately 10 years of environmental experience, working both as a consultant and as an oil and gas professional. He holds a bachelors of science degree specializing in Physical Geography and Environment from the University of Calgary, and is a practicing Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) registered in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Matt has always had a close relationship with invasive species management throughout his career, whether it is the front line person providing invasive species management or as a manager working with a team of professionals who manage contractors providing invasive species management services. He is currently employed with Encana, managing a group of professionals who work at the field level to focus on among other things, invasive species surveillance, control, and management. Matthew is an avid boater, traveler and family man who enjoys spending time in the mountains in the winter and at the lake in the summer.
Karen Anderson – Director
Karen has a BSc in Environmental and Conservation Sciences with a double major in Land Reclamation and Conservation Biology from the University of Alberta. She started her government career with Environment and Parks in Willmore Wilderness Park conducting breeding bird surveys, vegetation surveys and deploying wildlife cameras. A self-proclaimed plant nerd, she has worked in protected areas throughout the province focusing on species-at-risk, range and riparian health and invasive species. She recently moved to Kananaskis to continue developing her range management and grassland restoration skills with Alberta Parks.
James Leskiw – Director
James graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. He has worked for Parkland County as the Supervisor, Agricultural Agronomics since 2006. Prior to working for the County, James has held other positions dealing with weed control in Municipalities, Private industry and Provincial government. James is a member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists and the Society of Local Government Managers. He has served terms on the Executive of the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen and the Alberta Weed Regulatory Advisory Committee. James has a great passion for the outdoors-fishing, hunting and camping as much as he can and serving as an Ambassador for Pure Fishing Canada.
Jeannie Suffern – Director
Jeannie is the co-owner of Aqualine Aquatic Plants & Waterfeatures, located in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Her mission is simple: promoting the growing of aquatic plants in Alberta, where the winter season is long and cold and the summer season is short but the daylight hours are long. She shares her passion for water lilies with her customers and delights in introducing them to the world of tropical water lilies. Jeannie is also a director for the International Water Garden and Water Lily Society (IWGS) and the Colchester Agriculture Society.
Ashley Tkachyk – Director
Ashley has a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and is working as an Ecologist for Alberta Parks in the Northeast Region of Alberta, based in Lac La Biche. She has always had an interest in invasive species; however, being in this role has ignited the flame further. She currently represents Parks on the Provincial Aquatic Invasive Species Committee and has recently obtained her pesticide certification for Land use and Industrial applications, with a very strong interest in the Integrated Pest Management Approach.
Lori Morgan – Director
Lori believes in a proactive approach to invasive species, where education and awareness are necessary building blocks for success. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business Management. In addition to education, a farm background and curious nature has allowed her numerous opportunities in different agriculture production industries, public relations, communications, and most recently weed and pest management. Lori enjoys spending time outdoors, teaching her cats new tricks, traveling, and adventures with her husband.
Wayne Ungstad – Director
My early memories as a child were of a favorite willow tree Salix discolor and my hours of contemplation in its shade. I spent hours intrigued by the diamond shapes on the trunk later to learn the wood had been deformed by a fungus which had produced the diamond shaped segments with its alternating colours.
I started reading Thoreau and Leopold; learning nature had virtue and the ethics gleaned from the interactions with ecosystems could be applied to life. Later, as an adult I understand that when we destroy nature we lose more than wildlife; we lose a sense of our humanity as well. Wayne is an agricultural producer who is involved as an ENGO with natural resource management frameworks.
Emily Drystek – Director
Emily Drystek details coming soon.
Lindsay Benbow – Director
Lindsay is the Assistant Agricultural Fieldman at Lamont County. Lindsay has always had a passion for agriculture, striving to educate about and protect agricultural lands. This love of agriculture began very young growing up on a family farm in Southern Alberta. She holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Alberta, Biological Sciences and Agriculture Business Management. When she is not at work she is training and competing with her dogs all over the world.
Lisa Schaubel – Director
Lisa is the Decontamination Specialist with the provincial Whirling Disease Program with Alberta Environment and Parks. Lisa came to Edmonton last year from Grande Prairie where she was a Regional Fisheries Biologist and previous from Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she was an Aquatic Research Analyst with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Lisa has a M.Sc. in Aquatic Ecology from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay and Biological Science Undergraduate degree from Carleton University, Ottawa. Lisa has a passion for understanding and preserving aquatic resources and has spent summers surveying the Great Lakes and their tributaries for invasive sea lamprey, working with industrial partners to reduce the impact of landscape development on the aquatic system as well as researching aquatic invertebrate community dynamics. In her spare time, she is hiking and camping with her husband and her giant poodle in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Leah Predy – Director
Leah has a BA in English and a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Alberta. She began her career working as a Rangeland Agrologist with the Government of Alberta for five years and now works as an Agrologist with Envirowest Engineering, based out of her hometown of Ponoka. Leah moved back to her family farm in 2017, and when she is not at work, she is helping on the farm, tackling weeds in her way-too-big garden, starting (and hopefully finishing) any number of projects, hiking, and camping.