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Elizabeth Henry Scholarship - 2016 Fund Recipients > MATTHEW WAGSTAFF, B.Sc.
Characterizing the impacts of residential wood burning on air quality in British Columbian communities

MATTHEW WAGSTAFF, B.Sc. <br>Characterizing the impacts of residential wood burning on air quality in British Columbian communities

posted on 3:26 PM, October 19, 2016


EH_Scholarship_2016_Matthew_WagstaffI am a Master’s of Science student in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene program at UBC. I am passionate about environmental health issues and the focus for my thesis research is on characterizing the impacts of residential wood burning on air quality in British Columbian communities. I hope to continue working in this field in the future, contributing to our understanding of, and working to address environmental health issues in Canadian communities. When at home in BC, I spend as much of my spare time as possible skiing or hiking and also have a passion for traveling and exploring new places and cultures. I am very grateful to have been awarded this scholarship and the opportunity it has provided me in continuing to focus on my thesis research. 

Wood burning is an important source of fine particulate (PM2.5) in many rural Canadian communities, however there is limited monitoring designed to characterize its impacts. In a number of BC communities where wood burning is common, PM2.5 levels currently exceed the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards. While believed to be a major contributor, differentiating woodsmoke’s contribution to PM2.5 is very challenging. Current assessment methods are costly and inefficient for application in rural communities; therefore, we propose to develop a new cost-effective method using innovative mobile monitoring equipment to detect the specific signature of PM2.5 from woodsmoke in order to characterize its impact on small BC communities. We will establish and assess the precision of this new method in both previously monitored and unmonitored communities, while also assessing the oxidative potential of woodsmoke to improve understanding of the chemistry and potential health impacts of woodsmoke. 

About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in British Columbia.

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We are grateful to live and work on the unceded ancestral territories of the Indigenous Nations of British Columbia.

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Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

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At the Fraser Basin Council, our strategic priorities are to take action on climate change, support healthy watersheds and water resources, and build sustainable and resilient communities.

With our partners, we work on a range of collaborative, multi-sector initiatives, such as those focused on flood management, community wildfire planning, air quality improvement, energy-efficient buildings, green transportation (including the uptake of electric vehicles and expansion of charging infrastructure), watershed planning and youth-driven climate action projects.

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FBC staff work from our Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake and Prince George offices, and from several other locations.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff or contact our administration office:

Fraser Basin Council
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T: 604 488-5350