2019 Summer ECHO Network Quarterly Update

In this ECHO Network updated we share a few highlights of the 2019 ECHO Annual Meeting, exciting new project developments, and upcoming Network activities.

  • The 2019 ECHO Network Annual Meeting (May 27-31) saw many of our Network Members travelling to New Brunswick. At this meeting, Members were warmly welcomed to the territory by Mik’maq Elder, Donna Augustine, and the hosts, Céline Surette, Raissa Marks, and Annika Chiasson. The team shared work progressed to date and dug into the outcomes and tangible outputs they want to see from ECHO prior to the end of the project. Members clearly shared their desire for an increase in cross-Regional Case interactions and exchanges, faster turnaround on sharing of Network news, and an additional (but virtual) annual touchpoint. For further details and a full summary, keep an eye out for the forthcoming 2019 ECHO Network Annual Meeting Report.

  • Our official ECHO Network logo was unveiled at the 2019 Annual Meeting—keep an eye out for materials carrying this beautiful logo, created by Annika Chiasson with input from ECHO Network Members. The circle was created with a sound wave of saying “taking notice for action”. Team Communications has is continuing the development of a guide to inform ECHO Network communications, including the use of the logo.

ECHO Network Logo

  • Oceania Regional Case Member Helen Moewaka Barnes has been successful in obtaining a prestigious 5 year research program grant by the New Zealand Health Research Council. The grant is titled: “Tangata whenua tangata ora: investigating health gain through whenua initiatives” and led by Helen along with her team members. For more information visit https://bit.ly/2Ytknwx.

  • In May, four ECHO Network Members participated in the ECHO-supported COPEH-Canada Course. This part online, part face-to-face graduate level course on ecosystem approaches to health is being offered at four “sites”: Montréal (UQAM), Guelph(University of Guelph), Prince George (University of Northern British Columbia) and an online “site”. Louisa Hadley, Christiana Onabola, Dionne Sanderson, and Diana Kutzner participated in this year’s course. The course offers international connections for the ECHO Network and trainees of ecosystem approaches to health to connect with one another and learn about potential career trajectories in this field.

  • We are pleased to share exciting news from ECHO Network trainee Christiana Onabola, who has recently been awarded an International Peace Scholarship by the international Philanthropic Education Organization (P.E.O.). Congratulations Christiana! Go to https://bit.ly/2M5PU0U to read more about Christiana’s accomplishment. Christiana also recently attended the Planetary Health: Local and Global conference hosted by the British Columbia Coalition Institute (BCCI) in Victoria, BC; for more information on this recent event see https://bccoalitioninstitute.com/home.

  • More exciting funding news—the Vancouver Foundation recently awarded a Systems Change Test grant led by Margot Parkes in collaboration with and supported by many northern BC partners, including UNBC, School District 91, the First Nations Education Council, the Nechako Watershed Roundtable, the Integrated Watershed Research Group, and the ECHO Network. The “Koh-Learning in our Watersheds: Transforming learning in School District 91 by connecting students, waterways and communities” project is already underway and is looking forward to a busy fall season with students across SD91 training to monitor streams in the Nechako watershed. You can read more at https://bit.ly/2M3BZbX or watch a stream monitoring video created by SD91 students at https://bit.ly/2YUuuqn. The Koh-Learning partnership is closely linked to the ECHO Network but particularly through its youth engagement & Team Watersheds activities. The project has funding support from NSERC’s Promoscience Program and from the Vancouver Foundation’s System Change Granting Program, through until 2021.


Upcoming meetings and events involving or hosted by ECHO team members

Sept 4-6, 2019 

Margot Parkes will be convening a sup-plenary session titled “Communities, justice and living systems: connections for a healthy and thriving future” at the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting, Stanford University, California; see also https://planetaryhealthannualmeeting.org/

Sept 24-26, 2019

12th OECD Rural Development Conference: Delivering Well-Being, Seoul, Korea; see also https://www.ruralnetwork.scot/12th-oecd-rural-development-conference-delivering-well-being. This conference may be of interest to ECHO Network members due to its links to rural development themes.

Oct 23-24, 2019

Finding Common Ground 2.0 Tour (Battle River watershed, AB), see here for the documentary of our first tour. In October, the BRWA team is hitting the road again (this time by bus!) to learn more about: current energy systems across the watershed; future opportunities; connections to community, economic, and environmental health; and more. Contact sarah@battleriverwatershed.ca for more info.

June, 2010

2020 ECHO Network Annual Meeting, Prince George, British Columbia—our next Annual Meeting will be hosted in Prince George, BC. Please keep an eye out for the save the date notice we will send in the coming weeks.

 Publications / Webinars of Interest

  • Helpful webinars on ecosystem approaches to health—check out the COPEH-Canada Webalogues at https://ecohealthkta.net/webalogues/

  • Galway, Lindsay P., Thomas Beery, Kelsey Jones-Casey, and Kirsti Tasala. “Mapping the Solastalgia Literature: A Scoping Review Study.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16 (July 25, 2019): 2662. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152662.

  • McFarlane, R., Horwitz, P., Capon, A., Jenkins, A., Jupiter, S., Negin, J., Parkes, M., Saketa, S and Arabena, K. (2019) Ecosystem Services for Human Health in Oceania. Ecosystem Services. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041619302591.

  • Buse CG, Sax M, Nowak N, Jackson J, Fresco T, Fyfe T, Halseth G. (2019). Community impacts of unconventional natural gas across the supply chain: A scoping review. Extractive Industries and Society, 6(2), 620-629, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2019.03.002.

  • Buse CG, Lai V, Cornish K, Parkes MW. (2019). Towards environmental health equity in health impact assessment: Innovations and opportunities. International Journal of Public Health, 64(1): 15-26, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-018-1135-1.


 FNHA/SFU Regional Case

 Our case study enjoyed preparing and presenting at the ECHO Network Annual Meeting in Moncton, New Brunswick in late May. Our presentation took us on a journey, which started at the headwaters of a river, down different tributaries, and through eddies while learning about the importance of the Indigenous worldview of circular learning. The process of creating the presentation helped us to realize how far we have come as a case study but also that the journey has much more in store for us! To help us move forward on this journey, we are very excited to welcome two new members to our Regional Case team – Dawn Hoogeveen and Katie Bauder!

 The First Nations Health Authority is in the process of developing a climate change and health adaptation program and a few tools are being explored to potentially be included in the program. A fruitful first discussion occurred between UNBC and FNHA to discuss the UNBC Geospatial Archive Portal and how it may be further utilized as a tool for BC First Nations communities. Several BC First Nations are already successfully using the portal, which is an open source software tool.

 FNHA’s approach to climate change and health adaptation focuses on building community capacity and using community driven approaches. The availability of affordable and meaningful tools is vital for the success of any community-based project. Together with appropriate promotional materials and training, both the Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network and the cumulative anthropogenic impacts map can potentially become useful climate change mapping tools for BC First Nations communities. 

NBEN/UdeM Regional Case

 First off, we would like to thank everyone who attended the 2019 ECHO Annual Meeting in Moncton! It was fantastic being able to share what makes New Brunswick unique with all of you.

 The time following the annual meeting has been fairly quiet as summer tends to be in the New Brunswick Environmental Network  (NBEN) office. However, in June, the NBEN organized a tour of different industries in Belledune, a village in northern New Brunswick. This tour was done in collaboration with the Rural Action and Voices for the Environment (RAVEN) and Production Aulnes. We visited the Belledune Thermal Station, a coal burning plant, the Chaleur Sawmills, and the Port of Belledune. This was followed by a community event in which participants were invited to imagine their ideal Belledune.

We are in the very initial stages of planning meetings and conferences for the fall. More to follow soon!

NH/UNBC Regional Case

 This spring, the Northern BC regional case hosted their first Learning and Impact Workshop on materials and processes for communicating with community and agency decision makers.  The team is continuing to advance their work on developing knowledge translation materials. CIRC hosted a series of presentations in the Northern Rockies, Peace River, and Bulkley Nechako regions in June to report on the findings from a three-year research project to provide new, integrative tools and processes that measure environmental, community, and health values to take action on the cumulative impacts of resource development across northern BC.

Northern Health is very excited to welcome Raina Fumerton back from maternity leave! We have been busy engaging with LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink on health services planning and social and environmental health management processes as the projects begin early construction activities. We have also been supporting Environmental Assessments for several mining and oil and gas projects and associated management plans. This spring, Barb Oke and Iridia Medical co-presented at the Minerals North conference in Chetwynd on leading practices for health services delivery in mining camps. Northern Health also presented as part of the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health Seminar Series on impacts of resource development to social determinants of health; the webinar recording is available here https://bit.ly/30huod5. An accompanying blog post is available at: https://bit.ly/2NhWamm.

The BC Centre for Disease Control organized a Practical Wildfire Smoke Preparedness Workshop in Prince George on May 28th. There was a successful turnout from a number of agencies and organizations, including Northern Health and the FNHA. The BCCDC has updated their public facing wildfire smoke web page and developed a series of fact sheets regarding wildfire smoke and health. See http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/prevention-public-health/wildfire-smoke. The BC Lung Association has released their 2019 State of the Air Report which features information regarding volatile organic compounds, low cost air quality sensors and citizen science, wildfire smoke, and air quality trends across the province. Work continues for air quality roundtables throughout the north (Bulkley Valley Lakes District, Quesnel, and Prince George) and new work is happening with the Valemount Clean Air Task Force to address higher levels of particulate matter in their community during the winter.

 BRWA/UofA Regional Case

 This spring and summer, the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) partnered with the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society (AWES) on two education and stewardship events. AWES is a non-profit organization with the mission to increase awareness of the economic, social, and environmental values of agroforestry and woodlots in agricultural landscapes. The first event involved working with a landowner who was interested in restoring native plant cover along a stretch of Bigstone Creek, which is located near the headwaters of the Battle River watershed. In May, AWES, BRWA, and a crew of Junior Forest Wardens joined forces to plant around 1,000 native trees and shrubs along the creek. The second event was a workshop about designing and establishing shelterbelts and eco-buffers. Landowners participated in practical hands-on learning about how to conduct a tree planting site assessment and design their own shelterbelt and eco-buffer projects.

In recent months, the BRWA has also been working with the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association to build relationships with the four Maskwacis Cree Nations located in the watershed. We hope to learn more about their priorities for watershed education, stewardship, and management in the Pigeon Lake watershed. The Mamawo Mimiw Sakahikan Working Group was formed to guide these discussions, and includes representation from all four Nations. Community surveys and conversations over the coming months will support the creation of a shared vision for how we can work together to improve the health of the Pigeon Lake watershed and its people and communities.

The BRWA is also gearing up for round two of our Finding Common Ground Tour, to continue exploring current energy systems and future opportunities across the watershed. Check out the upcoming events section of this newsletter for more information!

 ECHO Network Youth Participant Profiles

  Jordan Cranmer

     I am a recent graduate of Nechako Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof, B.C, and a new undergraduate student at the University of Northern British Columbia. I have lived my entire life in rural northern B.C, and I have found passion and comfort in the water and natural environment that surround my daily activities. As a senior in high school I became involved with the ECHO Network at the 2018 annual conference, where a group of students and I began to represent youth engagement within the network. Throughout the last year I have been able to participate in many different stream stewardship efforts and projects, including the making of a short film documenting those efforts in the Nechako Watershed. My journey within the ECHO Network has been educational, reflective, and thought provoking, and I look forward to continuing my involvement in the future.

Alexis Seely

    My name is Alexis Seely, and I am going into Grade 12 at NVSS in Vanderhoof, BC. I was introduced to the ECHO program about half a year ago through school activities, mainly the KOH project and Streamkeepers. As my interests lie mainly in learning and especially science, the biological aspect of the ECHO project fascinated me; I was also excited to see how welcomed the few youth were by the more experienced members of the ECHO team. My impression was that public awareness and support is definitely a big step towards achieving ECHO's goals. Seeing how much weight that simply our presence carried with the ECHO team, I believe that we, as youth, could also successfully motivate our peers and communities by alerting them to the current state of our ecological and community health, and demonstrating how to make a positive change. All my experiences with ECHO have been exceptionally enlightening, and as a student I am very privileged to feel like I am even a small part of this organization! I look forward to contributing to and hopefully working with ECHO in the future, and I hope to see you all again soon!

 Follow-up from the 2019 ECHO Network Annual Meeting

 Critical Reading Group

Join us at the newly launched ECHO Network Critical Reading Group (see details in the meetings/events section). Led by Ben Brisbois, this group emerged during discussions at the 2019 ECHO Annual Meeting. The purpose of the Critical Reading Group is to explore some of the ideas and kinds of readings that may fly under the radar during fast-moving work in the ECHO Network Regional Cases. These ideas and readings will likely have a somewhat social-scientific flavour, as this is where some of the most important – but neglected – ideas tend to be most thoroughly explored with respect to core ECHO themes of equity, power and human-non-human links (among others) in relation to resource extraction. To learn more or participate, please contact ben.brisbois@gmail.com.

Comic Jam

For a team of researchers, practitioners and community organizations who are working together in the ECHO Network, drawing together at the Annual Meeting proved to be a challenging yet worthwhile effort. Building on their individual photovoice reflections, the comic jam sessions asked members of the Network to think, work, and create collectively and collaboratively. The overall objective of the activity—led by May Farrales— was to allow for a creative way of dialoguing and documenting challenges emerging from participants' engagement with the ECHO Network. The activity proved to be challenging, fun, and insightful—we look forward to sharing results of this activity early this fall.





Diana Kutzner