The Fraser Basin Council and the Scholarship Selection Committee warmly congratulate Micah May and Ezra Yu, recipients of the 2022 Elizabeth Henry Scholarship for Communities and Environmental Health.
2022 Scholarship Recipient Micah May
Reservoir Shoreline Erosion Control to Reduce Environmental and Community Health Risks
"This scholarship recognizes the challenges faced by Tsay Keh Dene Nation because of the dust storms that occur along the Williston Reservoir and will support the sharing of solutions they are pursuing to improve the health of their land and people." — Micah May
Micah is a MSc candidate at the University of Victoria interested in ecological restoration. He is interested in investigating how the principles of ecological restoration can help in tackling environmental degradation, including in novel ecosystems. He loves the outdoors, and he has a passion for working on challenging environmental issues, particularly those in remote locations, combining technical field work with data analysis and community engagement. Micah is supervised by Dr. Nancy Shackelford, and his research is focused on determining the optimal methods of providing erosion control in reservoir drawdown zones through revegetation while also seeking to increase native species biodiversity, build long-term soil stability, and strengthen local community involvement. His research is taking place around the Williston Reservoir, located in Northern BC, where he hopes to find solutions to help reduce dust emissions that pose environmental and health risks for local inhabitants.
About the Project
Because of the operations of the W.A.C. Bennett dam, the vast sand beaches of the Williston Reservoir in northern BC become exposed each spring and pose severe environmental, social and health-related challenges for the community and Nation of Tsay Keh Dene. Severe wind erosion results in large-scale dust storms that pose health risks to the adjacent village of Tsay Keh Dene, due to silica in the sand and the potential impacts on inhabitants’ respiratory systems. Reservoir shoreline erosion is a major concern for the Nation, and applying standard erosion control techniques is made difficult due to fluctuating water levels and other environmental factors. The goal of Micah's research is to evaluate if and how revegetation, soil amendments and innovative monitoring techniques can help reduce erosion and dust from the Williston Reservoir beaches, thus improving air quality for the Village of Tsay Keh Dene and the health of its residents.
2022 Scholarship Recipient Ezra Yu
Effects of Residential Noise on Children's Language Development, and the Impact of Green Urban Design
“The Elizabeth Henry scholarship helps solidify my aspiration to sustain healthy communities in British Columbia through engaging in knowledge translation that improves policy development in this important yet understudied area of research." — Ezra Yu
Having grown up in cities, Ezra Yu is intimately familiar with the effects of the built environment on quality of life. He has always been interested in public health issues caused by urbanization and how they can be studied using advanced health research methodologies. Ezra has been engaged in several environmental health research projects with a focus on children’s developmental health within his academic journey. He aspires to establish himself as an independent researcher devising healthy developmental environments with urban policymakers.
He is completing a Master’s degree in Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC). As part of a CIHR-funded study, Born to be Wise, his research focuses on the effects of residential noise on children’s language development and the corresponding remediation effects of urban greenspace. He is actively advocating the shift in health policy that he has envisioned for himself to make positive contributions to local communities.
About the Project
Language development in early life is fundamental to educational achievements and social well-being, but children in British Columbia fare worse than the global average. One prevalent urban exposure, noise pollution, is believed to negatively impact children’s language development, possibly by interfering with speech perception and cognitive function.
The project takes a quantitative approach to examine the effects of noise and greenness on a cohort of 34,000 Vancouver children who participated in an early developmental assessment (EDI) project coordinated by the UBC Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP). Noise exposure at children’s homes was estimated from a Vancouver noise map produced at UBC. Associations between noise and EDI were examined using regression modelling, while accounting for socioeconomic and other factors using health administrative data linked through Pop Data BC. This project seeks to motivate the implementation of real-time city-wise surveillance and evaluate remediation efforts on green urban design to attenuate noise pollution.
2021 Scholarship Recipient
The 2021 Elizabeth Henry Scholarship for Communities and Environmental Health has been awarded to Bonny Lynn Donovan who is completing a PhD in Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus.
Congratulations to Bonny Lynn from the Scholarship Committee and all the Fraser Basin Council Directors and staff.
The scholarship will help support Bonny Lynn in her collaborative work with Syilx First Nation communities to explore the role that the land, language reclamation, Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Elders can play in developing ecological literacy in young Syilx children.
About Bonny Lynn
Bonny Lynn Donovan is a Métis woman from Saskatchewan who has resided in Penticton, British Columbia since 1994. She graduated from the University of Calgary in 1993 with a Bachelor of Education degree and completed a Master of Education in Educational Practice at Simon Fraser University.
Bonny Lynn taught elementary school for 28 years in School District 67 (Okanagan-Skaha). In 2019 she enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies program – Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity (CESCE) Theme – at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus (UBCO). Dr. Jeannette C. Armstrong, the Syilx/Okanagan scholar and activist, is one of her co-supervisors. Bonny Lynn is a graduate research assistant on a Syilx Youth Engagement research project and serves as a Community Liaison Coordinator on a multi-year Syilx/Settler Science collaboration through UBCO.
About the Project
Bonny Lynn’s project addresses ecological sustainability in Syilx/Okanagan communities through Nsyilxcn language reclamation and the intergenerational transfer of Syilx Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to early learners (Pre-Kindergarten to Kindergarten). This work will be done through collaboration with Syilx First Nation band-operated schools and environmental sustainability research projects that are already underway in the various Syilx communities.
Her dissertation research will promote dialogue and respectful collaboration between diverse stakeholders, such as families, band school personnel, Elders, Knowledge Keepers and scientists who are conducting environmental sustainability research in the various Syilx communities. Her research objectives are to respectfully determine Syilx understandings of ecological literacy (ecoliteracy), the role that families, Elders, Land and other teachers play in fostering ecoliteracy in young Syilx children, and how ecoliteracy can address settler colonialism in ecological sustainability education.
Bonny Lynn notes that this research addresses recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission regarding culturally responsive early childhood education.
“Being the recipient of the 2021 Elizabeth Henry Scholarship means that I can move forward in my program with confidence, knowing that I have the financial means to meet costs associated with an advanced degree.”
– Bonny Lynn Donovan
2020 Scholarship Recipients
The Fraser Basin Council congratulates Dana Eye and Justin Turner, 2020 recipients of the Elizabeth Henry Scholarship for Communities and Environmental Health.
The Reproductive Ecology of Female Western Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) in Southern British Columbia
“I am grateful for the gracious support of the Elizabeth Henry Scholarship, and the opportunity to continue to collaborate with the Osoyoos Indian Band and Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre on this vital research.”
— Dana Eye
Dana Eye grew up in a rural town outside of Kamloops where she spent most of her time exploring and learning about local flora and fauna. Dana completed her undergraduate degree at Thompson Rivers University in 2015 and began working for WildSafe BC. In this role, she helped spread awareness of human-wildlife in her community and provided management solutions to local government.
Dana later held a Master of Science position in Karl Larsen’s research lab, studying Western Rattlesnakes. She had opportunity to work directly with this species at risk and also foster working relationships with the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (NDCC). Through collaboration with OIB and the NDCC, Dana began the first study on pregnant female Western Rattlesnakes in Western Canada.
About the Project
The Osoyoos Indian Band and Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre have facilitated one of the longest-running snake research programs in Western Canada (2002-present). Over the last 18 years, researchers have tracked rattlesnake movement, identified critical habitat (dens, shedding and mating sites), and assessed the impact of disturbance on local snake populations. Due to limitations, this research has predominantly focused on male rattlesnakes, leaving a large knowledge gap on female ecology and biasing management decisions. In 2017, with the generous support of OIB and the NDCC, and adopted research techniques, Dana began working on the first study on pregnant female rattlesnakes in Western Canada.
To date, she and [her colleagues?] have successfully tracked the movements of a total of twenty-five pregnant female rattlesnakes and have identified 18 gestation sites. Data collected from these sites, and movement and behavioural analysis, will provide critical life history information for future management decisions and conservation of this threatened species.
Wildfire Smoke and Emergency Planning for First Nations People Living with Lung Disease in Remote and Rural British Columbia
“I feel honoured and grateful to receive the Elizabeth Henry Scholarship in support of my collaborative work with Carrier Sekani Family Services, which will contribute to improved wildfire response practices for Dakelh First Nations people in north central BC.
Maarsi (thank you in Michif)."
— Justin Turner
Justin is a Rehabilitation Sciences PhD student at UBC. He has lived and worked as an occupational therapist for the past several years where the Fraser and Nechako Rivers meet on unceded Lheidli T’enneh First Nation territory (Prince George). He previously completed a Master of Occupational Therapy (UBC, 2017) and an Honours BA in Psychology (University of Lethbridge, 2015).
Born and raised in the southern Alberta Badlands, Justin grew up underneath beautiful prairie sky and along the saskatoon berry-laden banks of the Red Deer River. He is a proud Métis Nation of BC citizen with mixed Red River Métis and European settler ancestry. Justin enjoys any activity that involves connecting with the land, such as hiking, snowshoeing and berry picking.
Justin is fascinated by people’s relationships with the environment. In his doctoral work, Justin seeks to understand how increasingly severe wildfires in northern BC are affecting local First Nations communities.
About the Project
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) appears to be highly prevalent in north central BC First Nations communities. Meanwhile, people with COPD often experience negative health effects during wildfires, which are becoming more frequent in BC due partially to climate change. In this mixed-methods and CIHR-funded research project – underway since 2019 – UBC’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Research Laboratory is collaborating with the First Nations-led healthcare/research organization Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) to answer the question: What are the communication and respiratory health focused components of an effective wildfire air quality emergency response strategy for north central BC First Nations?
Every step of this project is led by CSFS. Quantitative data is being gathered from air quality and wildfire monitoring records, while qualitative data is being gleaned from document analyses and interviews with First Nations community members and other wildfire stakeholders. CSFS will use results to develop improved emergency preparedness and response strategies.
The Elizabeth Henry Scholarship is an annual award of $3,000 to a graduate student whose proposed research is based in British Columbia. Learn more about the Elizabeth Henry Scholarship, eligibility criteria and application process.
Check back soon or subscribe to Elizabeth Henry Scholarship mailing list to learn about the next round of applications.