Colleen Mercer Clarke
Chair, Professional Practice and Policy Committee
Dr. Mercer Clarke is an interdisciplinary scientist and professional landscape architect specializing in advancing resilience and encouraging transformation through the delivery of useful science on climate change and adaptation to communities, business and governments.
Colleen also has over 35 years’ experience in the consulting sector in Eastern and Atlantic Canada and internationally. Trained as an aquatic/marine ecologist and landscape architect, her career has focused on the sustainable development of resources and communities through stewardship and conservation of natural and cultural resources. Her portfolio of projects ranged in scale from international and national coastal management initiatives, environmental audit and impact assessment, through watershed, regional and municipal planning initiatives, detailed site design, and environmental management. With a keen interest in cultural landscapes, Colleen has undertaken a range of projects on locally and nationally important historic sites, as well as initiatives with the First Nations of Canada.
In 2009, Colleen’s work shifted to focus on adaptation in coastal communities at threat from sea level rise, severe weather and a changing climate. In 2012 she was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on coastal assessment at the Climate Change Directorate of Natural Resources Canada, and also served as one of the primary authors for the 2016 science-based assessment of adaptation along Canada’s marine coasts. She is Co-Author of the Adaptation Primers - introductory books providing information on the most complex challenges facing decision-makers today https://www.csla-aapc.ca/mission-areas/primers. Currently, she is an advocate for ecosystem-based approaches to planning and design, and for the continued strengthening of efforts to protect and to sustain our natural world.
A past-president of the CSLA (2003-2004), Colleen has also served as on a range of national boards, executives and local and national advisory committees related to coastal and oceans management and to broader conservation goals. Currently she serves the Profession as Chair of the International Federation of Landscape Architect’s Committee on Professional Practice and Policy, and as the IFLA Special Envoy and Voting Member to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. She is also a volunteer Member of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management.
In 2009, Colleen was elected to the College of Fellows of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. In 2016 she was the recipient of the CSLA President’s Award and in 2019 was the recipient of the President’s Award of the International Federation of Landscape Architects.