About

Bear Tracks was established in 2006 and is headquartered in Lethbridge, Alberta.  Founded as a biological consulting firm, Bear Tracks’ experience portfolio has since grown to include an array of environmental consulting services, allowing us to meet the various needs of our clientele. Our experience provides us with an in-depth understanding of applicable government regulations, and our clients’ operations. This allows us to deliver a superior product that meets or exceeds the expectations of our clients and government regulators.

The growth of our company has resulted directly from the strong relationships forged between our self-motivated staff and our clients.  Bear Tracks’ team is composed of highly trained biologists and environmental professionals dedicated to excellence in what we do. We pride ourselves on the strong work ethic, technical competency, and commitment to our clients’ satisfaction exhibited by every member of our team.

Meet the Team

Darryl Jarina

President; Senior Wildlife Biologist (B.Sc., P.Biol.)

Developing a solid baseline of knowledge from his Renewable Resources Management Diploma from Lethbridge College and his Bachelor of Science (Major in Zoology) from the University of Calgary, Darryl began his environmental career as a wildlife biologist with Fish and Wildlife (GoA). He kickstarted his career in consulting in 2006 and began to develop Bear Tracks Environmental Services from the ground up. Working as a one-person operation providing biological surveys for several years, Bear Tracks slowly began to grow and quickly became known for efficient assessments and producing quality reporting. Darryl currently lives in Lethbridge with his wife and two kids. Strongly family-oriented, Darryl can likely be found cheering on or coaching his son or daughter at the arena or lacrosse field, camping with his family at their favourite summer spots, or scouting for ungulates with friends in the fall. Perhaps from growing up in “the best town ever” of Sparwood, B.C., Darryl ensures his staff are engaged (and amused) through annual company camping trips and staff events.

Clint Gellrich

Environmental Consultant – Senior Biologist (B.Sc., P.Biol.)

Clint began his career in the environmental consulting industry in 2005, and his experience includes ecological community inventory, rare plant survey, wetland assessment, soil survey and wildlife-related assessments. Clint has worked extensively throughout the western provinces for various industry sectors, including renewable energy, oil and gas, and mining.

Clint joined the Bear Tracks team in 2015 and is involved with project planning, project permitting, and preparing and editing technical reporting deliverables, in addition to his role as a field biologist.
Growing up in Sparwood, B.C., Clint came to Alberta to complete his post-secondary education at Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge. Clint can be found in the hockey arena with his family, scouting for white-tailed deer in the fall, or camping with family and friends when he isn’t working.

Natalie Pittman

Junior Wildlife Biologist (B.Sc., B.I.T.)

Natalie is a Junior Wildlife Biologist who started as a seasonal with Bear Tracks in the spring of 2021. Born and raised in the Lethbridge area, she went on to graduate from Lethbridge College with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Ecosystem Management (concentration in Fish and Wildlife Management).

Natalie has enjoyed gaining experience both in the field and office. She has supported writing technical reports, data entry and management, conducting wildlife surveys and nest sweeps, and completing invasive species/weed surveys. Previous work experience she has brought with her to the team is conducting Phase I and Phase II ESA’s.

If Nat isn’t eagerly conducting field assessments or preparing reports for our clients, you can find her anywhere in the outdoors, whether hiking, hunting, fishing, or playing with her dog Dolly!

Johnal Palahniuk

Junior Wildlife Biologist (B.Sc., B.I.T.)

Johnal is a biologist-in-training (BIT) and a recent Lethbridge College graduate with a Bachelor of Environmental Science degree. Before her degree, Johnal worked in the forestry industry in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan. Since joining the Bear Tracks team in early 2021, she collected field data and supported technical report writing back in the office. Her focus is on avian species performing migration surveys, breeding bird surveys, and nest sweeps.

Johnal has experience conducting phase one assessments, wildlife sweeps, invasive weed surveys, and clubroot surveying. When she’s not out collecting wildlife data for our clients, she enjoys taking avian photography, exploring the Rocky Mountains, travelling Canada, and contributing her avian data to citizen science platforms along the way.

Tara Evenson

Intermediate Wildlife Biologist (B.Sc., P.Biol.)

Tara is a wildlife biologist who has been with Bear Tracks since 2017, after graduating from Lethbridge College with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Fish and Wildlife Technology. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary.

Tara’s role at Bear Tracks mainly focuses on surveying avian species and species at risk in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan and includes conducting pre-development wildlife surveys, wildlife and wildlife habitat monitoring, post-construction surveys for renewable energy projects, environmental site assessments, and water quality monitoring. She is also responsible for technical report writing, overseeing data management, and preparing regulatory applications and permitting packages following provincial and federal environmental legislation for many of our projects.

When she is not completing early morning bird surveys or solving a myriad of application or data-related issues, she can be found taking care of an excessive number of houseplants, camping with her family, talking about her cats and new puppy or planning a last-minute getaway to some corner of the world (much to Darryl’s exacerbation). If you spot her doing any of the above activities, odds are she will be outfitted in full denim.

Michelle Fournier

Intermediate Wildlife Biologist (B.Sc., P.Biol.)

Passionate for all things conservation and the outdoors, Michelle began her wildlife career as a Wildlife Rehabilitator in Edmonton while completing her BSc in Animal Health from the University of Alberta. Since then, she has worked in various government roles, as well as in non-profit and academia. After moving to small-town Hanna to begin her career in the environmental consulting industry in 2014, she quickly gained experience leading wildlife surveys.

Since joining the Bear Tracks team in 2016, she has strengthened her expertise within numerous other industry sectors and developed high-quality reports. Michelle utilizes excellent communication and writing skills to build strong relationships with clients, stakeholders, and regulators and connect Bear Tracks via social media.

After several years in Lethbridge, Michelle currently works remotely out of the Edmonton office of Bear Tracks. She and her partner live on 10 acres of woodland in the countryside, along with their dogs, numerous chickens and ducks, and countless gardens. When she isn’t in the greenhouse or chicken coop, she can be found hiking around with their dogs, travelling, enjoying time with friends, or creating.

Ted Nanninga

Intermediate Wildlife Biologist (B.A.Env., P.Biol.)

Ted has worked as a wildlife biologist within the environmental consulting industry for over ten years and was excited to join the Bear Tracks team in 2022!

Ted has worked across western Canada leading various wildlife surveys, including species-at-risk, breeding birds, snake hibernacula and bear dens, and has a broad knowledge of provincial and federal regulatory requirements. He also has significant work experience on active construction sites conducting migratory bird sweeps or amphibian salvages, working closely with clients to minimize direct impacts on wildlife. Ted considers himself a prairie specialist, having worked with several endangered species, including burrowing owls and greater sage-grouse.

Through school, work and volunteering, Ted has had some fantastic experiences. He has assisted in archeological digs, participated in bird research in Kenya, captured and collared cougars in Saskatchewan, trained a tiger to sit, and trapped black-footed ferrets for conservation purposes.

Growing up on a bison farm north of Edmonton, Ted initially did not appreciate southern Alberta until he married a prairie girl and came to love the wide-open prairie landscapes. When not working, he can be found exploring the coulees of the Oldman River valley or the Rocky Mountains of Waterton and the Crowsnest Pass, trying to add to his birding “Life List.” He is often accompanied by his wife Mary (a “reluctant birder”) and their eager dog Oscar. Ted also volunteers with Nature Alberta and the Lethbridge Naturalist Society.

Monica Bartha

Intermediate Wildlife Biologist (B.Sc., P.Biol.)

Monica Bartha is an Intermediate Biologist with over 11 years of experience in the environmental industry, from oil and gas industries to government, academia, and non-profit sectors across southeastern British Columbia, Alberta, and southern Saskatchewan. Monica obtained her diploma in Renewable Resource Management from Lethbridge College and later graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Ecosystem Management (Fish and Wildlife). Monica’s passion for the environment surged thanks to her close contact with nature growing up in Sparwood, B.C. while working for her father in the nearby forest and coal industries within the Elk Valley. Over the years, Monica has been an avid advocate for maintaining biological integrity, working with indigenous stakeholders, industry, and a valuable interpreter for sustainable trail development with local non-profits in Medicine Hat and Redcliff, AB. Monica joined the Bear Tracks team at the beginning of June 2022 and has been since supporting the company with biophysical inventories, toxicity monitoring, wildlife surveys, fish habitat assessments, technical writing, project planning, and client communication.

When Monica is not completing tasks for Bear Tracks, you can find her outside in the company of her pup and loved ones, hiking, mountain biking the local trails, casting flies, or scouting pheasants and deer in the fall.

Mathilde Lafay

Environmental Technician

Mathilde joined the Bear Tracks team as a seasonal in the spring of 2023. She has since gained experience in various field and office-based tasks such as assisting with migration and wildlife sweep surveys, conducting post-construction monitoring for solar projects, data management, statistical analysis, and reporting.

Mathilde was born and raised in France and was always very passionate about the environment. Since environmental careers are difficult to obtain in France, she enrolled in Business School after graduating from high school. In 2018 she came to Canada for the ‘abroad portion’ of the business course and attended the University of Lethbridge. Once she was here and realized there were all kinds of opportunities in Canada to pursue her passion, she applied at the Lethbridge College and graduated from the Renewable Resource Management program in 2022. She then spent a year in Quebec working as an environmental technician, gaining experience in wetland identification and delineation, reporting, and mapping.

‘Tilly’ has no regrets from having moved halfway across the world to fulfill her dream of working in the environmental field. When she isn’t conducting field surveys or supporting data initiatives in the office, she is either cooking, dreaming about French cheese, reading about Star Wars lore, or out walking in the great outdoors. Tilly wishes that winter would last forever; her idea of a ‘snow day’ is to get out and enjoy the snow, not to miss work because of it!

Karmen Mix

Junior Environmental Scientist (B.A.Sc., AIT)

Karmen Mix is an Agrologist In-Training and an Environmental Scientist with three years of experience in the Environmental Consulting Industry. Her skillset involves data collection and analysis, working individually with crews, and monitoring soil compaction and depth requirements for linear disturbance developments up to 100km. Her experience has allowed her to complete field programs for several types of disturbances, such as pipelines, power lines, meter stations, and solar facilities. She has also acted as the environmental coordinator through the regulatory and application phase of several large projects. Early in her career, Karmen was seconded to the Pembina Namao Pipeline project, where she was the onsite soil technologist for the reclamation phase of the project. She has also acted as the onsite Environmental Inspector for power lines transmission and pipeline projects in Ottawa.

She supports the Bear Tracks team with Pre-Disturbance Site Assessments (PDSA), report writing, environmental monitoring, and wetland assessments.

Leah Kovatch

Intermediate Wildlife Biologist (M.Sc., P.Biol.)

Leah joined the Bear Tracks team as a wildlife biologist in 2016. She came to Bear Tracks with a diverse background from working in various environmental sectors, including academia/research, non-profit, and government in Alberta and Saskatchewan since 2006. Her career has focused on at-risk species and grassland birds, completing environmental impact assessments and baseline inventories. Some species she has worked with include the Common Nighthawk, Sprague’s Pipit, and Burrowing Owl. Leah completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Regina. Her graduate research focused on changes in land cover over time in the prairies using geospatial analysis and determining the effects these changes had on the bird community. At Bear Tracks, Leah assists in project planning and reporting and completes surveys for baseline wildlife assessments. In addition, Leah is the GIS lead at Bear Tracks which involves spatial analysis, map production, and data management.

Leah lives in Lethbridge with her husband, daughter, and Goldendoodle. They are often on the road, visiting the family farm back in Saskatchewan or camping throughout the prairie provinces. At home, she is busy with her young daughter, taking the dog for a walk in the coulees, and trying to keep her garden alive.

Are you passionate about the environment and interested in joining the Beartracks family? Be sure to check out our current opportunities!