Karen Keenleyside has over 25 years’ professional experience in environmental management and conservation, both in the private sector and with the Canadian government. She is an ecologist by training with an MSc in Zoology from the University of Toronto and is currently a Senior Advisor with Parks Canada’s Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation Directorate. She is currently Vice Chair for People and Parks of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and Co-Chair of the IUCN #NatureForAll initiative.
Karen has been active internationally throughout her career and has been a member of the IUCN WCPA since 2008 and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) since 2015. She led the development and publication of IUCN WCPA Best Practice Guidelines for Ecological Restoration as Task Force Chair from 2008 to 2012. In 2014, she led the Inspiring a New Generation Stream of the IUCN World Parks Congress and she has been a part of the leadership team for #NatureForAll since then.
Karen joined Parks Canada in 2007 where she has been responsible for providing science-based guidance on ecological restoration and climate change, among other files. She led the development of a Canadian protected area framework for ecological restoration in 2008 and Canada’s approach to climate change adaptation and protected areas from 2009 to 2013. Since then, Karen has been bridging natural and social scientific disciplines to identify solutions in Canada and internationally for building constituencies of support for conservation and protected areas into the future.
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