Avalanche Canada Foundation announces grant recipients

Supporting the work of Canada’s national public avalanche safety organization is the main focus of the Avalanche Canada Foundation.

Anne St. Clair
Anne St. Clair, one of the recipients of a grant award from the Avalanche Canada Foundation. Photo courtesy Avalanche Canada

The Board of Directors of the Avalanche Canada Foundation is pleased to announce the following grant award recipients:

Anne St. Clair will receive $750 from the Cora Shea Memorial Fund to assist her with the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) Operations Level 2 program. Like Cora, Anne came to Canada from the United States to pursue graduate-level education in avalanche research. She is currently working towards a master's degree in Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, conducting avalanche research with Dr. Pascal Haegeli. Anne says, "Through researching Cora's contributions to the field of avalanche science, I discovered that one of her strengths was her exceptional ability to communicate complex scientific concepts. The goal of my research is to identify how avalanche risk communication products can resonate with the audience more effectively and influence decision-making more constructively."

Scott Thumlert of Canmore, AB will receive a grant from the ISSW Fund towards his project "Remote GPS Tracking" to track riders in remote mechanized skiing environments. The objectives of this project are to improve safety, optimize efficiency for operations and improve communications within guiding teams. Scott says,"Thank you greatly for the award! We will strive to use the funds for the benefit of the industry and the development of this exciting technology."

Laura Maguire of Nanaimo, BC received a combined grant from the ISSW Fund and the Cora Shea Memorial Fund to present at the 2018 International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) in Innsbruck, Austria. The paper she authored with Jesse Percival entitled, "Sense-making in the Snow: Distributed Cognition of High Performing Avalanche Forecasting Teams" examined the cognitive work in avalanche forecasting, including how forecasters develop a mental model of risks to cope with uncertainty and manage trade-offs in opening or closing areas on the mountains. "We deeply appreciate the support from the foundation to share the study with the ISSW audience. On a personal note, I am also really honoured to be chosen for the Cora Shea grant."

Jennifer Coulter, a senior avalanche field technician with Avalanche Canada in Fernie, BC, received a grant from the ISSW Fund to present at the 2018 ISSW in Innsbruck, Austria. She co-authored a paper with Grant Helgeson, an avalanche forecaster with Avalanche Canada, entitled "Show, Don't Tell: Modelling Behavior On Social Media as a Strategy for Influencing Behaviour in Data Sparse Regions." This research looks at how the South Rockies field team's communication strategy has led to increased trust and behaviour change in the communities they serve.

The ISSW is a biennial avalanche conference that brings together snow researchers and avalanche practitioners to promote the exchange of techniques, theories, information and ideas. The ACF's ISSW Fund was established in 2002 and is financed using surplus funds generated from Canadian ISSW conferences, which occur in Canada every six years.

The Cora Shea Memorial Fund was established to provide modest financial assistance to women seeking to do avalanche research and/or study towards advanced avalanche practice. Up to two grants of CAD $750 are awarded annually to support women of any nationality in this field. Travel and direct expenses for relevant conferences and courses are specifically included. You can donate directly to the Cora Shea Memorial Fund here.

For information on how to donate to or how to apply for any of the grants and scholarships offered by the Foundation, please go to our Programs page on our website.

Congratulations to everyone!


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