Cochrane Ideas – December 2019


Please join us for a relaxing evening with Dara Dines, a member of our Cochrane Ideas community

7pm, Friday December 6th, 2019
King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Dara will share with us how she uses Expressive Arts in her work and will gently lead us in creating something meaningful together in preparation for the holidays.

DARA DINES has a degree in Fine Arts & Business from Concordia University, a certificate in Expressive Arts Training from the Prairie Institute of Expressive Arts Therapy (PIEAT) in Alberta, and she also studied Design at Algonquin College in Ottawa. She is a Registered Expressive Arts Consultant / Educator with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).

When she taught art classes she enjoyed being in process with people as they created. She explored and integrated many forms of art into her classes, such as mindfulness, movement, drama, music and play. Dara has has been working in the field of mental health and wellness, and has also been training facilitators to use Expressive Arts in their workplace. The past few years she has created leadership development workshops for community support workers, peer mentors and volunteers.

Warm thanks to the three brave and highly articulate Millennials who offered their perspectives at the November Ideas on the topic: “The Boomer Legacy.”  Eily Aurora and Zoe Richardson offered more personal visions of what is significant in their lives as young, caring people. Ben Carson dealt with some of the more commonly recognized differences between younger and older people. They helped provide an enlightening evening for all participants.

Cochrane Ideas – November 2019



7pm on Friday, November 8th, 2019
King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

A panel of millennials and others will lead an open discussion on the unique challenges they deal with. And, they’ll debate how much responsibility may be placed on the older and still-dominant demographic of the Boomer generation for these conditions. Other discussion points may include:

◊  What are the major differences between the world your parents lived in when they were young, and the world you now live in?
◊  Were the older Western world generations given a better chance than you have?
◊  Do you think older generations are blocking your access to political power? Does it help your interests to vote?
◊  What worries you the most? Climate change? Economic inequalities? Growing influence of artificial intelligence and other technological innovations? Population predictions? What else?
◊  Have formal mainstream religions lost their significance in your lives?
◊  What gives you the most hope?

Younger panel participants include:

Eily Aurora: 
Eily, 33, combines her background as a Family Constellations facilitator with music. She is a professional harpist, singer-songwriter and producer, with two CDs and a western Canadian tour among her accomplishments. With her passion to support mental health, she founded the Home Shall Be Here project, which toured to 14 communities across western Canada. As a practicing Buddhist, she does regular meditation, and has been a member of Birken Forest Monastery for 13 years. Native spirituality is a strong guiding force in her life, Eily spent four years at Mount Royal University, with two years in a student  executive role.

Ben Carson:
Ben, 32, spent two years as a music teacher in the CBE after completing his Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at the University of Calgary. He went on to obtain a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Victoria and spent the following two years as Senior Community Relations Officer for the Victoria Symphony. In the summer of 2012 Ben Carson and Richard Marshall rode their bicycles from Calgary to Toronto just for fun.

Zoe Richardson:
Zoe arrived at the moment the panel discussion was about to start, and to everyone’s amazement immediately joined the panel.  Zoe had met Ely previously which led to her being somewhat at ease.  It was a delight to have Zoe share her views on being a millennial.

Katherine Arich:
It was with great regret that Katherine had to cancel her plans to join the panel.  She has been an eloquent 15 year old speaker at previous climate strikes on Calgary City Hall steps – sometimes before crowds of 400 people.  We very much regretted not having a passionate teenager in our midst.


Cochrane Ideas – October 2019

Regional Growth Management

Is it Even Possible?
What Has Been Tried in the Calgary Region?

7 pm, Friday, October 11th, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane
Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Managing Growth at a regional scale is not for the faint-of-heart!  It comes with all the drama of the wild west poised on the razor’s-edge of a “local autonomy” vs. “broader shared interest” in the Calgary Region, It also comes with a  clash between urban and rural values. Still, it has been possible to find common ground.

Join us on October 11 to learn how compromises were made. Share your own observations and questions. Bob Miller has spent many years engaged in urban and regional growth management and planning in the Calgary region.  From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s Bob served as the City of Calgary’s technical representative to the Calgary Regional Planning Commission.  As a city planner, he worked with rural municipalities and towns across the region in regional strategy-making, annexation and strategic planning studies. From 1999-2010 Bob served as the Manager of Strategic Initiatives, providing strategic analysis and advice to City Council and the senior administration.

Retiring from the City, Bob joined the Calgary Regional Partnership in 2010, implementing the Calgary Metropolitan Plan and developing region-wide strategies around growth management, transit, regional water systems, economic prosperity and broadband/fibre networks.  As CRP closed its doors in 2018, Bob retired and now enjoys life in the Summer Village of Ghost Lake. He contributes as a volunteer where he can.

Bob holds degrees in Urban and Regional Economics (BA, UofC) and Community and Regional Planning (MA, UBC)

Many thanks to Ozzie Sawicki and Jill Uniacke for detailing with such empathy and understanding at September Ideas the extent of palliative care in Cochrane area, and future goals to help people with their end-of-life challenges.  If you are interested in hospice and palliative care, please go to the local Cochrane website

Cochrane Ideas – September 2019

Cochrane Ideas launches its 20th year with a presentation on

Planning our end-of-life journey

7 pm on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019
at Frank Wills Memorial Hall
405 1st Street East (beside RCMP Station)

Please bring snacks                 Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Discussion leaders:
Jill Uniacke, volunteer board member and education committee lead for the Cochrane and Area Hospice Society.
Ozzie Sawicki, volunteer chair of the Cochrane and Area Hospice Society and Cochrane business owner. He runs a company called Amped2Play, helping companies, organizations and schools introduce unstructured and experimental play programs for all ages.

The Cochrane and area Hospice Society is part of a growing number of rural support organizations surrounding Calgary. They focus on providing those in the final stages of their lives the chance to have all the information needed to make quality decisions and be exposed to available and exemplary palliative care, as well as end-of-life and bereavement care options.

Other topics that Jill and Ozzie will cover include:
– Palliative care versus end-of-life care .
– Advanced-care planning and legislation behind Personal Directives.
– Medical assistance in dying legislation.
– Home and hospice care.
– Family support.

Other mission objectives for the Society include providing palliative volunteer training, and advocating for hospice and respite beds for people unable to stay in their own homes.

This will be an interactive session — questions and comments welcome

Summer Break

Our next IDEAS evening will be held in September so please join us then to take part in the excellent conversations. We have many exciting speakers/topics planned for the new season.

Have a wonderful summer,
The IDEAS Team

Cochrane Ideas – June 2019


7 pm on Friday, June 14, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks (Meat, sweets, veggies — whatever your fancy).
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Four Bow Valley debaters will speak for or against the following motion:
WHEREAS the ever-increasing world-wide mass meat production raises environmental concerns and also involves some ethical issues;
BE IT RESOLVED that we support a substantial reduction and the eventual elimination of mass-produced meat consumption.

Moving the motion will be retired engineer Heinz Unger, a member of the Ideas co-ordinating team, a committed conservationist and a former official with the World Bank. The seconder will be Robin Slater from Lac Des Arcs, a committed vegetarian for 50 years and an active Ideas participant for many years.

Planning to stun the audience with his debating skills in his opposition to the motion will be Erik Butters, well-known and conservation-minded rancher operating on Hwy. 40 northwest of Cochrane. Currently a councillor with the municipal district of Bighorn, his historical roots in the area go deep. He will be joined by seconder, Greg Trout, new to Ideas with his debating chops and a citizen of Cochrane since 2012. He, too, is a professional engineer with his degree from the University of Saskatoon. Greg works in the mining and equipment maintenance fields.

This is the final Ideas event before the summer break. After the four speakers have made their pitch for or against the motion, the debate will open up to the audience for comments.

Cochrane Ideas – May 2019

Current And Future Energy Use
The Questions And Possible Solutions

7 pm on Friday May 10, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge (our usual location)
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

The presentation by Cal Hill will attempt to address the following questions:
– Why energy is so important in our lives
– What forms of energy we have and benefits and disadvantages of each
– A world without fossil fuels
– Energy demand growth and population growth
– The big problem and what it all means
– The tough solutions

CAL HILL is a retired geologist having spent his career working for the Alberta Energy Regulator. In his last few years with the regulator, he was responsible for strategy and regulatory development. This included providing scientific assessments of Alberta’s energy resources and the demand for them as well as understanding trends in global energy consumption and what that meant to Alberta.  Since his retirement, Cal continues to be interested in the topic of energy and how it impacts on our environment. In his spare time, he wanders the foothills and mountains with his wife Judy, attempting to become a better outdoor photographer. Cal lives in the Cochrane area.

There was a large and appreciative audience for Duane Bratt‘s talk on political populism at April’s Ideas. We are grateful that Duane donated his time, energy and clarity of thought to make the event so stimulating.


Cochrane Ideas – April 2019


with Mount Royal University political scientist
and well-known commentator

DUANE BRATTDuane Bratt7 pm on Friday April 12, 2019
at Frank Wills Memorial Hall
(405 – 1st Street S.E., Cochrane, east of RCMP Station)

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Discussion of political populism is especially pertinent as Albertans prepare to go to the polls on April 16.  Populism can be defined as:

      • A political approach striving to appeal to ordinary people who feel their concerns and issues are disregarded by an elite establishment.
      • A belief in the power of regular people and their right to have control over their government rather than political insiders.
      • Seen as a force in the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and the Brexit vote in the U.K.

Dr. BRATT will focus on:

      1. His definition of populism.
      2. A look at right-wing versus left-wing populism.
      3. An analysis of current populism around the world
      4. A history of populism in Alberta, including the rise of Social Credit and the potential influence of populism in the April 16 election.

An MRU evaluation of professors by students includes comments that Bratt is “hilarious”, he is an “amazing lecturer” and is “inspirational”.

CBC IDEAS. You might find these programs relevant:
Manufacturing Discontent: The perils of populism:
The Case for Populism.  Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies has a hard line stance on immigration, but supports free childhood education, that would be difficult to define as anything but progressive.

FEBRUARY and  MARCH IDEAS. We are very grateful to Bob Kam for sharing his amazing experience with the “Calgary elephants” at our March Ideas and many thanks go to Sandy Aberdeen for his very well organized and thought-provoking presentation on “Climate Change: Is It Too Late?

Cochrane Ideas – March 2019


At 7 pm on Friday March 8, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can.  Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Bob Kam, the former Elephant Keeper at the Calgary Zoo, will speak about how to work with elephants, how to understand and train them, and also how to deal with the ups and downs of dealing with such high profile and, at times, controversial zoo animals. Bob will also talk about elephant anatomy, especially the trunk, their size, the musth, birthing and health issues. He will also address the question of ivory trade and the current status of elephants in the wild. Bob’s talk will be accompanied by lots of slides.

Bob Kam always had a great love for animals; this led him to a career at the Calgary Zoo starting in1973. During his apprenticeship in animal care three elephants arrived from Sri Lanka, and for the following 40 years Bob was the Elephant Manager leading a team of Elephant Keepers. In the course of his work he learned, applied and taught all aspects of elephant husbandry and health care. He established a very close rapport with the largest and most intelligent animal on four legs just so that these elephants could be cared for properly. Bob was awarded a White Hat in 1997 another one in 2004 for excellence in promoting tourism for the City Of Calgary. He now is retired and, with his spouse Cindy, lives in the Ghost Valley.

Many thanks to Sandy Aberdeen for his very well organized presentation on Climate Change: Is It Too Late? at our February Ideas.  Even some of us who are very aware indeed of the issues on climate change and food security found much to mull over.

Cochrane Ideas – Feb 2019


with Sandy Aberdeen
At 7 pm on Friday February 8th, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Sandy will present selections from the Climate Reality Project derived from his training in San Francisco with former Vice President Al Gore, followed by questions and answers. Discussion could include the following points:

1. Climate Change – Is it too late?
2. How do we talk about Climate Change in Alberta?
3. What can we do? How do we go forward? What are our options for for the future?
4. Life without fossil fuels.
5. Finding Hope.

Sandy has a background in Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement. Since finishing the Environmental Management Program at the U of C over twenty years ago his passion has become devoted to learning about and becoming active with environmental issues. Climate Change as it relates to food security is one of his major interests. He and his son Brendon started one of Calgary’s first Urban Farms. He is a L.E.A.D. Fellow (Leadership for the Environment and Development), is an active member of Citizens Climate Lobby, an organization that lobbies for effective carbon pricing (Fee and Dividend) and a founding member of Calgary Citizens on Climate Change. Sandy has been trained in San Francisco to present the Climate

Thanks to all who participated in the discussion at the January Ideas about the role of women in Cochrane’s development. We were sorry, of course, that illness caused the scheduled presenter, Cheryl Harding, to cancel, but a lively, improvised evening was enjoyed.