Research & Activities

Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society

Margot Parkes is a co-lead of theEcohealth Knowledge to Action Research Group (EKTARG). Located at UNBC in Prince George, EKTARG is a group of learners, researchers and collaborators from diverse backgrounds, experience, and locations who are interested in connections among health, ecosystems and society. Visit the EKTARG websitefor more information.

Health, equity and ecosystems — connected by waterways  

When we think of waterways as the bloodstream of the world, we are reminded that our health, communities, economies, and the entire natural world, are all connected by water. These connections lead to important questions, such as: How will climate change and economic transitions affect water resources? How will they affect our health and well-being? And how can we govern water resources to reflect their fundamental importance for the social, environmental and economic determinants of health?

Dr. Margot Parkes, Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society, is exploring these issues in her work on communities in northern British Columbia. Specifically, she is examining the relationship between ecosystem change and the determinants of health by looking at water resources management as a strategy to promote health and well-being. Her current research brings together organizations and researchers involved in health and water governance, particularly in the northern Fraser River Basin.  In the past, Parkes has studied watersheds and health in New Zealand, Ecuador, Hawaii and Canada, looking at how the management of droughts, floods, biodiversity and contamination has influenced health, from drinking water quality and food security, to resource-dependent livelihoods, local economies and cultural values.  Parkes’ research shows how knowledge from different disciplines, cultures and sectors can be better integrated to improve watershed management for health and sustainability. The results will provide practical guidance for integrating health and environmental decision-making in a rapidly changing world. Visit the CRC website for more information.

Funded Research Projects

Funder Project Title Year
Health Research Council of New Zealand Project Tangata whenua tangata ora: investigating health gain through whenua (land) initiatives. (Programme Lead: Helen Moewaka Barnes; Objective Leaders: Leonie Pihama and Cherryl Waerea-i-te-rangi Smith; International collaborators: Margo Greenwood, Deborah McGregor, Vanessa Sloan Morgan, Margot W Parkes, and Zaneta Thayer) 2019-2024
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Inheritors of the Future: Rural and Northern Community Driven Voices of Youth Contemplating Resource Extraction in Indigenous and Northern Geographies. (Principal Applicant: Vanessa Sloan Morgan; Collaborator: Margot W Parkes) 2019-2020
Vancouver Foundation  Koh-Learning in our Watersheds: Transforming learning in Nechako region by connecting students, communities and waterways (Principal Applicant: Margot W Parkes; Co-investigators: Barry Booth, Deborah Koehn, Leona Prince, and Manu Madhok) 2019-2022
British Columbia Government Integrated watershed-based science in the Nechako River Basin, Phase 2. (Principal Investigators: Margot W Parkes, Ellen Petticrew, Philip Owens, and Stephen Dery) 2018-2023
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre (SSHRC) Climate Change Communication and Engagement in Canada’s Provincial Norths: A Collaborative Place-based
Approach (Collaborators: Lindsay Galway, Maya Gislason, Chris Buse, Margot W Parkes)
Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) The ECHO Network (Environment, Community, Health Observatory): Strengthening intersectoral capacity to understand and respond to health impacts of resource development. (Principal Investigator: Margot W Parkes; Principal Knowledge User Applicant: Sandra Allison; Co-investigators: Lars Hallstrom, Henry Harder, Craig Stephen, Céline Surette, Tim Takaro). 2016-2021
BC Real Estate Foundation Developing new tools for assessing the cumulative impacts of resource development across northern British Columbia: Integrating  environmental, socioeconomic, and human health assessment methods. (Investigators: Greg Halseth and Chris Buse; Co-investigators: Margot W Parkes, Art Fredeen, Henry Harder, and CIRC Steering Committee). 2016-2019
Health Research Institute Indicator development for improved monitoring and surveillance of the social determinants of health impacts related to resource development across British Columbia, Canada. (Investigators: Henry Harder, Raina Fumerton, and Drona Rasali; Co-investigators: Sandra Allison, Chris Buse, and Margot W Parkes). 2016
Northern Health Knowledge Synthesis: Understanding health impacts of resource extraction and development relevant to Northern BC, and strategies to address these impacts through public health practices, policies and procedures (Principal Investigators: Margot W Parkes and Henry Harder) 2015-2017
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions Cumulative and Community Impacts Research Consortium. (PIs: Greg Halseth, Margot W Parkes, Henry Harder & Co-investigators: UNBC Community Development Institute, Health Research Institute, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute) 2015-2017
Real Estate Foundation of BC The Nechako Watershed Portal: A web-based, geospatial tool to foster information exchange and guide land and water decision-making in the Nechako River Basin (Principal Investigator: Margot W Parkes & Co-investigators: Scott Emmons and Martin Bunch). 2015-2016
Nechako Environment Enhancement Fund (NEEF) Integrated Watershed Research in the Nechako River Basin (Principal Investigators: Ellen Petticrew, Stephen Déry, Philip Owens, and Margot W Parkes). 2014-2017
Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Telling Stories About Storytelling: Critical engagements with narrative and new media for health in northern British Columbia (Principal Investigators: Margot W Parkes and Sarah de Leeuw & Co-investigators: Margo Greenwood, Henry Harder, Kendra Mitchell-Foster and Vanessa Sloan Morgan). 2014-2015
BC Real Estate Foundation Partnering Fund Using scenarios to improve community sustainability, land use and resilience in a changing Nechako River Basin (Co-Principal Applicants: Margot W Parkes, Ian Picketts, and Stephen Dery) 2014-2015
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Local needs and EcoHealth-2014 in the context of climate change (Principal Investigator: Margot W Parkes & Co-investigator: CoPEH-Canada) 2014
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) EkoSanté. A Latin American, Caribbean and Canadian Collaboration in ecohealth (Co-PIs: Douglas A. Barranza, Johanne Saint-Charles, Frederic Mertens, Horacio Riojas, Julia Medel, Margot W Parkes, Martin Bunch, Oscar Betancourt) 2013-2016
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Linking public health, ecosystems and equity through ecohealth training and capacity building (Co-Principal Applicants: Karen Morrison, Margot W Parkes, Johanne Saint-Charles & Co-Applicants: Cathy Vaillancourt, Celine Surette, Craig Stephen, Donald Cole, Martin Bunch, Robert Woollard) 2013-2015
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) - Graduate Student Fellowship funding Can boil water advisories in BC be linked to extreme weather events that may increase with climate change? (PI: Tim Takaro & Co-PI: Margot W Parkes) 2013
BC Real Estate Foundation Partnering Fund Communities and Health in Living Landscapes (PI: Pam Wright & Co-principal investigators: Phil Mullins, Margot W Parkes, Carling Matthews) 2012-2013
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre (SSHRC) Integrating Water and Public Policy: Perspectives from research and the field (PI: Lars Hallstrom & Co-Investigator: Margot W Parkes) 2012
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Food systems and health equity in an era of globalization: Think, Eat and Grow Green Globally (TEG3) (PI: Jerry Spigel & co-investigator: Margot W Parkes) 2011-2016
International Developement Research Centre (IDRC) Consolidation and Expansion of International Association for Ecology & Health and EcoHealth Journal activities (Co-principal investigators: Margot W Parkes & Peter Daszak) 2011-2014
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Improving social and environmental determinants of health through integrated water governance (Principal investigator: Margot W Parkes & Principal Knowledge User: Ronald Chapman) 2011-2013
BC Real Estate Foundation Partnering Fund Working together to protect and enhance land, waterways and health in Northern BC: leveraging the potential of the Murray Creek Rehabilitation Project (Co-principal investigators: Phil Owens & Margot W Parkes) 2011-2012
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre (SSHRC) The stakeholder workshop series: climate change/water/salmon: research into policy (PI: Phil Owens & co-investigator: Margot W Parkes) 2011-2012
Canadian Institutes for Health Research Healthy Land – Healthy People (PI: Margot Greenwood, co-investigators: Margot W Parkes, Jeff Reading) 2010-2012
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health with an Ecohealth Training and Awards Program (Co-principal investigators: Margot W Parkes & Robert Woollard) 2008-2013

In the Media

Responses to 2012 co-authored paper: Déry, SJ, Hernández-Henríquez MA, Owens PN, Parkes MW and Petticrew EL (2012). "A century of hydrological variability and trends in the Fraser River Basin." Environmental Research Letters 7.

  • Chilliwack Times: "Higher Fraser River water could be the norm – study: Climate change, glacial retreat and pine beetle logging to blame for freshet levels"
  • The Globe & Mail:"More high Fraser River levels forecast for future"
  • Environmental Research:"Insight- Streamflows intensify in the Fraser River Basin"
  • CBC Vancouver (national interview – S. Dery)
  • CBC Prince George (live radio interview – S. Dery)
  • CKPG news Prince George (interview with S. Dery)
  • The Wolf radio station Prince George (interview with S. Dery)
  • C Fax news radio Victoria  (interview with S. Dery)