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known to Canadians
and to the world.

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Fellows Journal

Fall 2013

Message from the President

In just a few weeks, the College of Fellows will meet for the Society’s Annual General Meeting, followed by the Fellows Dinner. It is certain to be a celebratory gathering as the Society has accomplished much in the past year. We have seen growth in Society programs, unparalleled coverage of the Society in the national media, and a strong performance by our business, which continues to expand its network of partnerships and its custom publishing activities. When the College meets, it will consider the names of 97 candidates for Fellowship, a diverse and truly national group of outstanding individuals who are committed to supporting the Society’s mission. After serving as interim President for a few months, I elected to continue to serve you as your President and look forward to helping lead the Society in the exciting times ahead.

I hope you will be able to join us on November 13, including attending the Medal Ceremony where we will have an opportunity to congratulate our outstanding 2013 medal recipients, including the presentation of the inaugural Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration. If you have not done so already, I urge you to purchase your tickets to the Fellows Dinner (and Medals Ceremony) now, by clicking here. I would also encourage those Fellows who have not yet had a chance to make their annual contribution to the Society, to do so by clicking here.

Photo: Birgit Freybe Bateman

College of Fellows Annual Dinner

Don’t miss this year’s Society Dinner on Wednesday, November 13 being held in the remarkable Grand Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, with its
majestic totem poles and stunning views of Parliament Hill.

The Society’s Gold Medal will be presented to Robert Bateman, celebrated wildlife artist, environmentalist and naturalist. The Toronto-born painter, who’s been called Canada’s most popular living artist, has worked from his home studio on Salt Spring Island, B.C., since 1985. Mr. Bateman will be the evening’s honoured guest and speaker.

The Master of Ceremonies is Society Fellow George Kourounis, host of TV’s Angry Planet. The Medal Ceremony begins at 5:00 pm, cocktails and silent auction at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. The Silent Auction features a dazzling selection of fantastic trips, Canadian art, and memorable experiences. As always, proceeds from the evening support the Society’s vital programs. You can peruse the items offered in the Silent Auction on the RCGS website.

There are two easy ways to get your tickets, either by:
• calling 1-888-222-6608, or
• ordering online through the Fellows Dinner TicketWeb page

Please reserve your tickets early. Still have questions? Please email



Bravo to our Governors for answering the 2013 Governor’s Appeal. It appears that the Fellows Campaign still needs some encouragement.

Why consider donating to your Society? Canadian Geographic Education provides desperately needed programs and materials that help students learn more about our country. On a recent successful tour of BC with one of our giant floor maps, our teaching professional was dismayed by the lack of resources that teachers had to work with. She quickly showed them our website to learn more about our teaching tools. The teachers were thrilled and ordered free maps that they did not know existed until Sara’s visit. Your support helps teachers in places like Kitimat, Fort St. John and Kelowna with the basic tools they need to teach students about Canada. Fellows can make a donation any time online at

If you feel you cannot contribute financially, you can support your Society by volunteering your time. Your expertise and support helps to make the RCGS stronger and better known to all Canadians.

Team Canada takes home Silver!

It came down to a nail-biting tiebreaker question, but Team Canada pulled through to win the silver medal at this year’s National Geographic World Championship. After the U.S. team took first place in the final round of competition, Canada and India were tied, forcing a sudden death round where Canada answered the tiebreaking question correctly to snag the silver.

Kyle Richardson, 16, Spencer Zhao. 15 and Jacob Burnley, 15, represented Canada at the championship in St. Petersburg, Russia this past July. National Geographic hosts the World Championship every two years, with students all over the world battling for top geographic bragging rights. Under the watchful eye of B.C. high school teacher, coach and chaperone Beth Dye these geography whizzes made the RCGS proud and defended Canada’s reputation as a geographic powerhouse for two more years. Congratulations Team Canada!

Your Society in the news

In late June a number of activities were organized to promote actor/comedian/adventurer and Royal Geographical Society past president Michael Palin’s visit to Canada to receive the RCGS Gold Medal. The resulting coverage was strong and long-lasting and boosted the RCGS into the media spotlight for over a week. These stories were featured in every national newspaper and magazine as well as on Canada’s national TV and radio networks.

When the Palin coverage began to simmer, a feature article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper about Adam Shoalts’s RCGS’s Expeditions Program funded exploration of the Again River and going over a 10 meter waterfall attracted the spotlight. This story earned both national and international coverage including the BBC, CNN, CBC, CTV, Huffington Post, MSN, the front page of the National Post, and feature section of the Toronto Star and the ‘A’ section of the Globe and Mail. When a Canadian Press reporter could not reach Shoalts, she expanded her focus to do a story on the RCGS Expeditions program and Canada’s proud history of exploration. She mentioned a number of Expedition Program-funded projects but highlighted Nicholaus Vieira’s Raspberry Rising Cave Expedition and Adam Shoalts’s Waterfall Expedition. Nicholaus Vieira has gone on to do a number of media interviews and was recently featured on Global TV’s 16X9 program in a 30 minute documentary.

The geo-education meeting in St. John’s also generated a number of positive regional and local media stories including CBC TV in St. John’s, which also posted a story about the meeting on its website.

There was also some regional media coverage for Geography’s Team Canada preparing for the 11th National Geographic World Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia and then winning silver.

Request from the Society’s Archivist

Over the summer months, the Society’s archivist Wendy Simpson-Lewis and former Executive Director Louise Maffett reorganized the Society’s collection of back issues of Canadian Geographic. As a result, they discovered that the Society was missing copies of several early issues of the magazine, from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. If any Fellows have some old issues of the magazine that they are willing to donate to the Society, please contact Wendy first at, to see if they are issues that the Society is missing. If they are, Wendy will contact you to discuss arrangements. The Society is willing to reimburse shipping costs and issue you with a tax receipt.

Society honours

Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership and Science

Established by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2012, the Martin Bergmann Medal recognizes achievement for “excellence in Arctic leadership and science”. The 2013 recipient is Dr. David Hik.

Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration

Established by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2013, the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal recognizes singular achievement and the pursuit of excellence by an outstanding Canadian explorer or a non-Canadian for exploratory achievements within Canada. The 2013 recipient is Jill Heinerth who is one of the world’s top divers.

At an awards dinner in June in London, England, Ondaatje (right) received the Camsell Medal from John Geiger.

Camsell Medal

Named in honour of the Society’s founder, Charles Camsell, the Camsell Medal was established by the Society in 1992. The purpose of the Camsell Medal is to bestow recognition upon, and to express the Society’s appreciation to, individuals who have given outstanding service to the Society.

The recipient of the 2013 Camsell Medal is Sir Christopher Ondaatje, Olympian, philanthropist, financier, writer and explorer.

Gold Medal

The Society’s Gold Medal, established in 1972, is awarded in recognition of individual achievements in geography.

World-renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman who has spent a lifetime capturing Canada’s natural beauty through his paintings will receive the Gold Medal in November at the College of Fellows Dinner. Bateman is also an environmentalist and naturalist. Early in his career, he was a high school art and geography teacher for 20 years.

The Society is also awarding the Gold Medal to the Mapping Information Branch of Natural Resources Canada for the completion of the topographic mapping of Canada at the 1:50 000 scale. This event represents a major milestone in the history of cartography in Canada and took 98 years to complete.


Recent Events

CBFA On The Move Campaign Kicks Off

Photo: Matt Zambonin/CRA Events

On October 2nd, in partnership with the RCGS, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement kicked off their cross-Canada campaign titled On The Move. The inaugural event was held at the Museum of Nature, and showcased the CBFA Giant Floor Map, created in partnership with the RCGS. A group of grade 3 and 4 students from a local Ottawa school had the opportunity to experience the map first hand as part of a morning press conference, and the event wrapped up with a well-attended evening reception.

On October 8th, the tour went to Edmonton as part of the International Boreal Forest Research Association Conference. Once again, local children had the opportunity to experience the map in the morning. In the evening, an open invitation was extended to conference attendees to come to a reception and see the map first-hand. This event had an excellent turnout and provided very positive exposure for the RCGS and the giant floor map program.

The On The Move campaign is en route to Winnipeg on October 30th, with many more stops planned across the country in 2014. 

Michael Palin receives RCGS Gold Medal

Michael Palin, of Monty Python fame and more recently Around the World in 80 Days (1989) and Brazil (2012), was recognized this June for his contributions to geography with the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, at a ceremony at the Royal Conservatory Theatre in Toronto. Michael Palin has had a great impact on geographic literacy the world over, with his contagious enthusiasm for sharing and showcasing the globe’s people, cultures and environments.

Palin also visited Longfields-Davidson Heights School in Ottawa to meet with over a hundred Grade 7 students and their teachers. The event was a big success and kicked off a media tour that led to stories in every national newspaper and on Canada’s national TV and radio networks.

Strategic Partnerships

In the past several years, the Society has entered into partnership arrangements with prestigious national organizations that contribute to, or support in their own way, our commitment to making Canada better known to Canadians. As an example, the Society is currently in active discussion with Esri Canada regarding Arc-GIS for Can Geo Education as well as the broader issue of Canadian Geographic’s cartography. An agreement with the Canadian Polar Commission has already resulted in more coverage by Canadian Geographic of Arctic research in print and online. Canada’s Arctic is also the focus on discussion regarding joint public and educational programming with the Canadian Museum of Nature. The latest meetings with Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian War Museum have centred on the First World War commemorations. In all instances, the Society’s own program and services are strengthened and enhanced when working collaboratively with partners whose expertise, collections and facilities complement and extend our own.  

Program Notes


David Mitchell, chair of the Advancement Committee, has been engaged in the recruitment process for a Director of Advancement. The Committee has met and discussed strategies for improving the Society’s fundraising performance. Several generous donations targeted at the Research Grants Committee will allow that committee to undertake a full program in 2014. The Advancement committee is looking forward to adding new members in the coming year. If you would like to contribute to its vital work, please contact CEO John Geiger at

Canadian Geographic Education

Report on National Summit on Geographic Education
The joint initiative by the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) and the Society to strengthen geographic education in Canada reached a milestone with an experts’ meeting in St. John’s on August 9 and 10, 2013. The meeting’s goal meeting was to develop a cohesive strategy for national priorities. With priorities set and endorsed, stakeholders can the funnel their efforts towards improving geographic and spatial literacy for students. The strategy is described in a declaration, “Advancing Geographic Education for Canadians.” At its meeting on August 27th, the Can Geo Education executive passed a motion to endorse the Declaration. It has now been forwarded to the Society’s Executive Committee for approval.

“This is Geography” campaign
As part of the successful “This is Geography” campaign, the RCGS and CAG continue to plan Google + hangouts with key figures in Canadian geography discussing topics of interest. Learn more by finding Canadian Geographic on Google + and join in the conversation. Canadians are also flexing their creative muscles and continuing to contribute photos to <> and showing exactly what geography means to them.

Can Geo Education terms of reference, Geography Standards
Can Geo Education executive members, both returning and newly appointed, will be gathering in Ottawa on November 14 and 15 for their Annual General Meeting. With the new Terms of Reference officially accepted by the RCGS Board of Governors in June 2013, the executive members continue to cross things off of their strategic planning to do list. The Canadian National Standards for Geography are also under review. The standards will continue to be a focus for the coming year and guided by currently pedagogical research and trends. For more updates be sure to check out the new Can Geo Education website:

Launch of GeoChallenge, Energy Diet Challenge and Canada’s Coolest School Trip
With the beginning of a new school year comes the re-launch of Can Geo Education’s highly successful programs. This fall the Geography Challenge, Classroom Energy Diet Challenge and Canada’s Coolest School Trip will once again encourage students to push the boundaries of their geographical knowledge in fun and engaging ways. For more details and specific launch dates please visit:, and

CG Education Awards
The Geographic Literacy Award is given annually to a Canadian who has made a difference to geographic literacy in Canada throughout their career in any sector. This year’s winner is Anne Smith-Mansfield.

New this year is the Innovation in Geography Teaching Award. This award will be given to a Canadian educator currently working in a K-12 setting who is fostering geographic engagement and increasing the geographic literacy of their students. This year’s winner is Andrew Young.

Both award recipients will receive a prize of $1,250 and an additional $1,250 will be donated in the winner’s name to support geographic education. The award also includes a trip for the recipient to attend the RCGS College of Fellows’ Annual General Meeting and Dinner in Ottawa in November to receive the award.

CG Education membership
CG Education continues to grow its presence across the country and can proudly announce that there are now over 9,000 members. To ensure that this number keeps growing representatives will be at several different events this fall with exhibitor tables and interactive presentations. For a complete listing of events that CG Education will be attending please refer to the calendar on

Expeditions Program Committee

The RCGS Expeditions Program has done a great job this year in “Making Canada better known to Canadians and the world…" From raising awareness about the dying art of Inuit kayak-making, to exploring caves, to finding potentially life-saving bacteria, to retracing Otto Sverdrup’s expedition across 1000 kilometres of Ellesmere Island, and last but not least, mapping the dramatic Again River waterfalls of the Hudson Bay Basin, RCGS-funded expeditions have grabbed the imaginations of Canadians this past summer. We have the media stories to prove it. Our expedition leaders are in the process of writing their reports. Stay tuned for more exciting details of their adventures.

Retiring after many years of service on the RCGS Expeditions Program Committee are Ned Franks, Norman Vorano and Ken McGoogan. Their input into the revision of Program guidelines and application criteria in 2012 provided a fitting closure to many years of wise counsel. Thank you so much!

The RCGS Expeditions Program welcomes Lisel Currie, Judith Kennedy, and Steve Smith as members of the committee overseeing the RCGS Expeditions Program.

Now it’s time to celebrate Canadian exploration and the outstanding people who help us appreciate this great country. The Expeditions Committee met in September to establish the criteria for the selection of the prestigious Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration.

Ten explorers were nominated for the prize through an on-line Canada-wide nomination process.

Jill Heinerth, world renowned underwater diver from Toronto, is the inaugural recipient of the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration. 

The remaining nine will be considered again for the next two award cycles (2014 and 2015).

In revising the Expedition Program, five levels of expedition grants have been introduced, noting that not all grants may be awarded in a given year.

They are:

Expedition of the Year (one only): Up to $15k; normal range $10-15k
Awarded to a project considered to have an exceptional combination of adventure, enhancement to geographic appreciation of Canada and its people, and a broad outreach component.

Major Grants: Up to $5k; normal range $3-5k
Awarded to projects that are deemed to have a strong combination of adventure, enhancement to geographic appreciation of Canada and its people, and a solid outreach component.

Seed Grants: Up to $3k; normal range $500 – $3k
Awarded to projects deemed to qualify for support where the funding is seen to be able to encourage projects to proceed.

Women’s Expedition Grant: Up to $5k
For expeditions with female leadership and participation; Awarded to projects where all participants are women. Intended to encourage leadership and participation by women on expeditions in Canada.

Aboriginal Expedition Grant: Up to $5k
For expeditions with Aboriginal leadership and participation;
Awarded to projects undertaken by Aboriginal groups, organizations or individuals from any of Canada’s diverse Aboriginal communities.

Thinking of applying for a 2014 expedition? The deadline for applications for 2014 expedition grants is January 21, 2014.  Details on the application process can be found online at

RCGS Expedition Program Committee:
Bernard Voyer (Chair)
Michael Schmidt (co-chair)
Jean Marie Beaulieu
Lisel Currie
Judith Kennedy
David Pelly
Steve Smith

Research Grants Committee

In all, the Committee approved seven research grant applications to study a wide range of topics from the impact of climate change on the mental health of Inuit youth in Numatsiavut, Labrador, to the video monitoring of orca behavior at Cracroft Point on Hanson Island off the B.C. coast. Most of the findings of these research projects will be published in scientific journals. Once published, the Society will work to raise Canadians awareness of the researchers' findings.

With stable funding in place, there will be changes made to the Research and Grants Program in terms of who will be targeted and the amount of money awarded in each category. Please also note that effective 2014, the deadline for applications will be moved up one month to February 14, 2014. This new deadline will better suit academic and field work schedules.


The Fellows Committee met in late September, approving the nomination of 63 Fellows. Together with the 34 nominations approved at an earlier meeting this year, the Committee will place the names of a total of 97 new Fellows before the College of Fellows for election on November 13. Any Fellow can nominate someone to join the College. Please visit the Fellows page online for information and for a convenient online nomination form.


The Nominating Committee has recommended a slate of candidates that will see many familiar faces returning to the Board of Governors, as all Governors eligible for a second term have been recommended for renewal: Allen B. Clarke, James Lewis, David Mitchell, James Murray, Robert Page and Connie Wyatt Anderson. In addition, Beth Dye and Keith Exelby, who had both previously served on the Executive, have also been recommended to serve as first-term Governors. Paul Ruest, who first joined the Board in 2002, and has served as Governor, Treasurer, Vice President and Interim President has been acclaimed for a first term as President. The Committee also recommended Élisabeth Nadeau, who previously served two terms as Governor, return to the Board in the role of Vice President. One new face is James Boxall, an academic from Halifax who was awarded the Society’s 2012 Geographic Literacy Award. In its report, the Committee states “the election of the recommended slate would produce a Board that provides representation for an additional region (the Atlantic), improves the gender balance, maintains critical expertise and networks, and leads to an improved rotation of governors.” Members of the College of Fellows will vote on the recommended slate at the 2013 AGM on November 13.


In July 2013 Larry S. Bourne, professor emeritus of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners at their annual meetings in Vancouver. In April 20013 Professor Bourne received the Laureat d'honneur of the International Geographical Union (IGU) for his contributions to the study of cities and urban geography in the international community. The award was presented in Los Angeles in April at the annual meetings of the Association of American Geographers.

Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown is cooperating with Alexandra Cousteau (grand-daughter of Jacques Cousteau) to make three short documentaries about the Ottawa River. They were taking water samples near Gatineau in September, testing for oxygen, phosphorus and nitrogen. The films are due to be released next spring.

Christina Cameron
At the opening ceremony of the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Phnom Penh from 16 to 28 June 2013, the President of the Kingdom of Cambodia presented Christina Cameron of the Université de Montréal with the Royal Order of Sahametrei in recognition of her contribution to World Heritage Sites in Cambodia. It is the highest award conferred on foreigners in recognition of distinguished service to the King and people of Cambodia.

Christina also took part in the International Summer Academy at the Brandenburg Technology University at Cottbus, Germany, 8-10 July. The program focused on the theory of sustainability in heritage studies. She gave a keynote address on “The Idea of UNESCO Chairs and its implementation.”

The research work of Christina Cameron, Professor and Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, School of Architecture, Université de Montréal was featured in the April 2013 e-bulletin of THEN/HIER (The History Education Network/histoire et education en réseau). Her recent work has focused on the World Heritage system, which has culminated in the publication of a book co-written with German scholar Dr. Mechtild Rössler, Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention (Ashgate 2013). The book considers how global heritage theory and practice have been influenced by evolving perceptions of the nature of heritage itself and scientific approaches to conservation. It also includes interviews with World Heritage pioneers who played a significant role during the early period of the World Heritage Convention.

Christina and Mechtild Rössler published Many Voices, One Vision: the Early Years of the World Heritage Convention (Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate, 2013). This account of the creation of the World Heritage Convention and its early implementation develops two different streams, marrying documentary evidence with the voices of the pioneers gathered through interviews conducted in collaboration with UNESCO’s Oral Archives project. It covers the period leading to the adoption of the World Heritage Convention in 1972 and its implementation until the year 2000. Details are available at

Fort Conger - Dedricks’ Peary’s and Henson’s Huts from the North

After many years of living in Washington DC, Wade Davis has moved to Vancouver, where he is now a professor in anthropology at the University of British

University of Calgary professor Peter Dawson has just completed a project working with Parks Canada and SARPoint Engineering in Calgary. Peter and Dr. Richard Levy also from the University of Calgary completed a 3D laser scanning survey of Fort Conger, a historic site of national and international significance on northeastern Ellesmere Island. Like many polar heritage sites, this one is presently at risk due to the effects of climate change and human activity. Through a partnership with CyArk – an organization dedicated to the digital preservation of heritage at risk, the 3D images and historic documents/photos of Fort Conger are available for anyone to look at. For more information and photographs, visit

John Dunn sledding on Croker Bay

Wilderness explorer and photographer John Dunn is touring schools in western Canada this fall talking about his expeditions to various Arctic islands including Ellesmere, Devon and Baffin. Students and teachers appreciate his inspiring, informative and visually stunning presentations based on his skiing, kayaking and hiking expeditions on Canada’s Arctic islands.

Jean Fournier of Trois-Rivières, Quebec recently made two trips to the North this August, one to Resolute Bay and another to Iqaluit.

Jean Fournier and a Ranger from Resolute Bay who was guided the Canadian Forces Reservists driving the 4x4 quads to the north of the island.
Jean Fournier on a Daysail with the Royal Canadian Navy’s NCSM Shawinigan near Iqaluit, Nunavut.

The Hamilton, an American warship, sunk in Lake Ontario 200 years ago. (Photo: Emory Kristof, Christopher Nicholson, Daniel Nelson, Martin Bowen and Randy Weldon)
Joseph Frey, CD, of Toronto took part on June 20th in the first ever magnetometer survey of the American warships USS Hamilton and USS Scourge. Both ships sank intact on the Canadian side of the border in Lake Ontario on August 8, 1813 and are two of the finest marine archaeological specimens in the world. For more information, see

During the week of August 26th Joseph with a Royal Canadian Navy medical research and clearance diving team from DRDC Toronto assisted Parks Canada at Fathom Five National Park, Tobermory, Ontario in marking a historic shipwreck dive site and in collecting archaeological experiments set underwater five years ago by Parks Canada in their study of corrosion and decomposition as related to the wrecks within the national park.

Shelagh Grant, author of Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America spoke at the U.K. Oxford Arctic Conference on Sept. 26. The conference focused on the challenge of governance in the North American Arctic — past, present and future. They discussed how governance by the United States, Canada, and Denmark has been shaped by geography and historical factors, and by interactions with a diverse group of actors, including indigenous peoples, local authorities, external economic interests, foreign powers, and multilateral bodies.

Geoff Green, Founder, Students on Ice Foundation, hosted an event on September 25 with Prince Albert II of Monaco at The Explorers Club in NYC. There were 100 dignitaries in attendance to discuss The Future of the Arctic, Students on Ice, and Prince Albert's efforts in the Polar Regions.  Those in attendance included Queen Noor of Jordan, Dr. Don Walsh, Honorary President of The Explorers Club, Mr. Alan Nichols, President of The Explorers Club, and many others.

While in NYC, Geoff sat down with the Ocean Elders to talk about Students on Ice (SOI). This group of 14 includes James Cameron, Sylvia Earle, Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Prince Albert II, Neil Young and Jackson Browne!  The Ocean Elders are focused on taking action to protect our global oceans, and SOI is going to help them.

SOI had a very successful 2013 expedition season with their big SOI expedition (85 students and 50 staff) going from Greenland to Baffin Island on a powerful and important journey. As well their 50ft expedition sailboat Arctic Tern I completed a 4-month Arctic mission in the Lancaster Sound region doing seabird surveys for the Canadian Wildlife Survey and a documentary about Orca for BBC and CBC.  They are now gearing up for their Antarctic Expedition this December.

Geoff Green recently received the Order of Canada, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and an Honorary Degree from Nipissing University.

Norman Hallendy of Ottawa was honoured by the McMichael Gallery of Canadian Art  in recognition of his major donations of Inuit art and artifacts. The renowned film maker C.Wyland has produced a one hour documentary on Hallendy's work in the Arctic spanning over 45 years. Norman has provided ethnographic information to a team of Russian scientists and carried out an exchange of data with Vyachestav Mizin of the Russian Geographical Society, Saint-Petersberg.

The Elders of Igloolik and Dr. S. Le Blanc had Norman give a detailed presentation on Inuksuit and other objects of veneration to the entire community. He has been the guest speaker at the Arctic Museum Society  in Vancouver at the behest of one of Canada's finest Inuit sculptors, Abraham Angik Rubin.

The Embassy of Canada in Berlin sought his input to a workshop open to the public on Inuksuit and the Inuit held in the Marshall McLuhan Salon. He has just completed the final draft of his journal "An Intimate Landscape" documenting a 50 year love affair with The Arctic and its People. 

Professor Richard Harris of McMaster University, Hamilton received the 2013 Award for Scholarly Distinction in Geography from the Canadian Association of Geographers. Dr. Harris is one of Canada’s most distinguished geographers who has earned national and world-wide respect and acclaim for his many outstanding scholarly contributions as a researcher, author, editor, and reviewer of books. Richard continues to make path-breaking and sustained contributions to the fields of housing, suburban development, and the social and historical geography of Canadian, American, and world cities.

Karsten Heuer of Canmore, Alberta recently became President of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), a transboundary conservation effort to establish a system of reserves linked by wildlife corridors for wide-ranging animals and the long term health of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem. Heuer walked, skied and canoed the length of the 3,400-km-long region back in 1998/99 and is pleased to apply his passion in a leadership role. For more information visit

Sustainable Mountain Development: Getting the Facts Right by Jack D. Ives of Ottawa was released in July 2013 by The Himalayan Association for the Advancement of Science, Kathmandu. The book recognizes the importance of our mountain regions and their indigenous peoples for preservation of an environmentally viable world. The journey begins in the 1960s when environmental concern and the recognition of the need for “developing-country aid” were in their infancy. Then, mountains that occupy more than a fifth of the world’s terrestrial surface and provide home for a tenth of its population were virtually ignored. The political struggles about mountain issues led eventually to the Rio de Janeiro 1992 Earth Summit where Maurice Strong, Secretary-General, included a “mountain chapter” in AGENDA 21, leading to the United Nations declaration of 2002 as the International Year of Mountains. Partly as recognition of Jack Ives’ contribution to the mountain cause, he received the award of the King Albert I Gold Medal (2002), the Patron’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (2006), and Iceland’s Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Falcon (2007).

Lorie Karnath’s new book Architecture in Burma will be coming out in the US and Canada the end of October available through the publisher Hatje Cantz or Amazon. Her book represents a mixture of the country’s history, politics, natural assets, religion, and superstition. Despite some recent advances toward modernization, in architectural terms, centuries of relative seclusion have caused this country to remain something of a historical timeline. The turbulence of the region, punctuated by dynastic squabbles, is perhaps best chronicled and understood by way of its architecture. The escalation of successional quarrels frequently resulted in new rulers packing up entire palaces and other structures and hauling these by elephant to establish a new seat of government or capital elsewhere. The vestiges of the old cities were for the most part simply left to the vicissitudes of nature.

Lorie is in the process of planning a new expedition to Burma for late November which will take her to the Karen tribal regions as of yet still not fully reopened and still quite remote. Her work with the Molecular Frontiers Foundation of which she was among the founders continues to bring the message of science to students and others around the world. She co-chaired a successful program in May in Stockholm with the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences on Exploring the Boundaries of Science: The Extremes and will soon be holding a symposium in Korea on discovery. Next year she will again serve as a chair to a program in Stockholm which will highlight work being done to unravel the mysteries of the brain, still in many ways a black box as well as will focus on water and the important roles and tremendous scope of this resource especially in sustaining the living planet, in Beijing along with the Chinese National Academy of Sciences a bit later in the year.

Explorer Jerry Kobalenko of Canmore, Alberta completed a 240 km circumski of Mount Logan in Kluane National Park in the Yukon this May. Mount Logan is the largest mountain on earth by mass, the expedition with two other partners took 10 days to complete. For more photos of the circumski expedition, see Jerry’s website:

Host of TV’s Angry Planet stormchaser George Kourounis teamed up with One Ocean Expeditions and The Weather Network to film several of their arctic voyages to feature on the network. Joining George was Weather Network meteorologist, Mark Robinson, and the two of them started our journey in Iqaluit, then travelled across the Davis Strait to Greenland, then back through the Northwest Passage through very unpredictable sea ice conditions. In addition to several news stories, the trip will be featured on a new episode of "Stormhunters" which will air during a special week of programming Nov. 10th to 14th. George will be in Ottawa November 13th to act as Master of Ceremonies the Society’s College of Fellows Annual Dinner at the Museum of Civilization.

Bill Lishman of Ontario is a member of Land Over Landings, a Pickering-based group dedicated to saving farmland from construction of an airport. The Pickering Airport plan was shelved in 1975. However, the federal government recently announced the airport would be going ahead as planned 40 years ago. The Land Over Landings group wants the 25,000 acres involved in the project to remain as farmland because it is prime agricultural land. For a short U-Tube video about The Pickering Lands co-produced by Bill Lishman, go to  

Nikita Lopoukhine of Ottawa has recently joined the Canadian Parks and Wilderness (CPAWS) Board and continues to serve on the Wildlands Network Board.

3-D view of the subglacial canyon, looking northwest from central Greenland. (Credit: J. Bamber, University Bristol)
University of Calgary professor Shawn Marshall, Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, was one of the authors on a Science paper that came out in August on a new 'Grand Canyon' that was discovered underneath the Greenland Ice Sheet. It’s a very interesting feature, it’s being called the world's longest canyon. It is hidden beneath the ice sheet but extends from Petermann Fjord all the way to the middle of Greenland, draining a subglacial river that would have been a major Arctic river in its time, perhaps comparable to one of the big Russian rivers. According to Shawn, his colleagues really just stumbled on it as they analyzed the ice radar data, putting together a bedrock map for Greenland. It is very 19th century, to discover such a huge geographic feature that was previously unknown. For more information, see

Susan Eaton, Milbry Polk (centre), Lynne Danaher. Danaher turns over her Wings flag to Eaton to travel on expedition with Eaton, who will be snorkelling the Northwest Passage. Photo by Pat and Rosemarie Keough.

Milbry Polk is returning to Wings WorldQuest as Executive Director after a two-year sabbatical. Milbry’s whole life has been about exploration. She has led expeditions in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the Arctic. She reads and writes extensively about exploration history, and created a platform for the little-known but extraordinary contributions of women explorers to world knowledge. It has become clear to her over the last two years that Wings, now more than ever, is critical to the exploration and scientific community and she has returned to take up the helm. During her sabbatical, she was co-chair of a major conference entitled Affordable World Security in Washington DC. She led a Flag expedition (Wings, The Explorers Club and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society) to North Western Greenland. She lectured in Southern Chile and explored the fjords. She also lectured in the Andaman Islands and southern India, and journeyed to Kenya to visit Wings Fellows research sites.

Olav Slaymaker, professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia, participated in the 8th Congress of the International Association of Geomorphologists held in Paris from 27-31 August, 2013 in Paris, France. He organized a session with 17 papers on Global Environmental Change and presented one paper and one poster on the relevance of geomorphology to the global environmental change debate.

John Smol
Professor John Smol of Queen’s University is the 2013 recipient of the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation. This $50,000 prize is given in recognition of significant contributions to northern science and the broad impact of a career devoted to research in the Canadian north. For the past 30 years, Dr. Smol has been helping to write a “history book” of Canada’s northern environment through his research on global climate issues and the effects of contaminants on the Arctic environment. A leading international authority in the field of Arctic limnology and paleolimnology, his work focuses on the impact of environmental change on Arctic freshwater ecosystems, which examines below the surface of lakes and rivers to uncover secrets of our environmental history. Dr. Smol was named Environmental Scientist of the Year by Canadian Geographic magazine in 2008.

Hay River: Denis St-Onge, Prime Minster and Mrs Harper near Alexandra Falls
Denis A. St-Onge, John Geiger and Karen Ryan (Archeologist, Canadian Museum of Civilization) were invited by Jeremy Hunt, Executive Assistant to the Prime Minister to be part of the PM's 8th annual tour of the North. It was the first time that the Prime Minister's Office had invited outside experts to be part of this type of tour to provide information on a variety of topics including history, geology and archeology. Places visited where the Prime Minister made announcements were: Whitehorse, Hay River, camping with the Canadian rangers on King William Island, Rankin Inlet and Raglan Mine in northern Québec.

Carleton University cartographer Fraser Taylor was awarded the International Cartographic Association’s Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal, the highest honour in map-making. Dr. Taylor’s field is cyber-cartography, mapping the socio-economic and cultural aspects of places. The Gold Medal has only been given 12 times in the last fifty years and it is the first time a Canadian has won it. Dr. Taylor received the 3M Environmental Innovation Award from the Society in 2012.

Michelle Valberg
Ottawa photographer Michelle Valberg has been named one of six Canadians in the Nikon Ambassador Program, an initiative dedicated to recognizing the most influential leaders in modern photography. In a rapidly changing industry, the significance of the Nikon Ambassadors goes beyond the creation of inspiring imagery; this diverse group of individuals has shown a commitment to empowering photographers with knowledge, providing guidance for the imaging community and a mastery of technology and trends. Well known for her Arctic photography, Michelle is also very community-minded. One of her best known philanthropic initiatives is Project North, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing education and sport-based opportunities to youth in the Canadian Arctic.

Connie Wyatt Anderson
Paul VanZant, Head of Geography and History at Mayfield Secondary School in Caledon, Ontario was a recent recipient of the Peel District School Board's "Award of Excellence." The award recognizes his "unique and exemplary contributions to public education in Peel and the Peel community." At the awards ceremony, Paul was recognized for his outstanding contributions to geographic education at the classroom, school board, provincial and national levels. Of note, Paul had received the Society’s Geographic Literacy Award in 2006.

Ray Zahab

Connie Wyatt Anderson, Chair of Canadian Geographic Education and a teacher at Oscar Lathlin Collegiate in the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Manitoba, is a Finalist for the 2013 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching. Connie's lesson plan centres on Canada’s participation in the First World War. She selected this topic because First Nations soldiers were vital to Canada’s war effort and WWI had an essential role in the development of Canadian nationalism and identity. The awards will be made on November 18th in Ottawa at Canada’s History Forum, an annual event that will be held at the Canadian War Museum this year.

Ray Zahab, based in Chelsea QC, completed a month-long, 2,300-km trek across the Gobi Desert in June/July to meet the nomadic peoples, learn about one of the world’s most rapidly expanding deserts and collect educational content for his non-profit corporation, impossible2possible (i2P). Zahab blogged and tweeted along the way to bring other people into the experience.


NB. Items for “Fellows in the News” are welcomed and should be sent to Louise Maffett at


Gerald Conaty 1953 - 2013 Ph.D., LL.D., FG, Member of the Kainai Honourary Chieftainship. Since 1990, Gerald Conaty was a senior curator at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, and most recently served as Director of Indigenous Studies. There, he shaped a respectful working relationship between the museum and First Nations that became a model for international museum practice. He was inducted as a member of the Kainai Honourary Chieftainship, an honour that he deeply appreciated. Memorial donations may be made to the Kainai Chieftainship Scholarship Fund, or to the Glenbow Museum. In living memory of Gerald Conaty, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park.

Joan Marshall (née Retallack), 1943 - 2013 MA (U of T), PhD (McGill) of Hudson, Quebec, Joan died in her home on July 15th. She was an accomplished author and professor at McGill University. Her decade-long research on Grand Manan was seminal in her academic life. Joan was a long-time member of the Society’s Research Grants Committee which awarded grants to university students undertaking geographical research projects. She also served as the Chair of the selection committee for the Society’s Human Geography $5,000 Studentship, awarded to a Masters student undertaking a project in human geography. The family chose to identify the Society as a recipient of memorial donations because it felt that the Society’s program committees represented an activity that embodied a vital part of who Joan was. The Society will always remember Joan for her indomitable spirit.

Dr. Willis F. Roberts, 1919 - 2013 NBLS, P.Eng, RPF of Fredericton, NB passed away on March 5th at his residence in the Veteran’s Health Unit. Willis was a modern day pioneer in Land Surveying, Land Administration and Surveying Education in New Brunswick, and he made significant contributions in the broad surveying and mapping fields in the province and the Maritimes. Thanks to his vision and dedication, New Brunswick has an outstanding survey and mapping infrastructure and a modernized land information system that has captured the attention of jurisdictions worldwide. Without Willis’ personal drive and commitment, neither the Atlantic Provinces Surveys and Mapping Program (APSAMP) nor the Land Registration and Information Service (LRIS) would have been successfully developed. In addition to other honours, Willis was the 25th recipient of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Massey Medal, the country’s highest honour in the field of geography in 1983. It was awarded “in recognition of his achievement in creating for the Maritime Provinces the world’s most advanced geographical system for land registration and information.”


WINTER (November) 2013-2014 Canadian Geographic Travel
Explore New Orleans’ distinctive cultural neighbourhoods, ski the backcountry slopes of Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park and journey through Sicily to commemorate the sacrifices of our soldiers during the Second World War. Plus, the skinny on the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club, the NHL’s winter classic, Russian Olympic host city Sochi, growing Colombia tourism, the best winter food fests, and more.
DECEMBER 2013 Canadian Geographic
Our annual wildlife issue boasts the best of the best — renowned Canadian wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen shares his favourite images and the stories behind them. Plus, an in-depth look at one of Canada’s most important waterways (the Saskatchewan River Delta), a feature on some of Canada’s best species comeback stories, the first of a three-part series mapping the threats facing a selection of our most-at-risk species and the winners of Canadian Geographic’s annual Wildlife Photography of the Year competition. There’s much more, too, including an exclusive interview with Alexandra Cousteau, Margaret Atwood on her favourite Canadian place, and our exciting new What’s this? and Where’s this? departments.

Canadian Geographic Social Media
The Society’s Facebook page now has over 2,500 likes! Help us grow the community by sending us your latest news, and we’ll share it! To that end, we’ve also started training our expedition grant recipients in social media; our newest adopter is Nick Vieira, who is digging into the Mount Tupper cave system as part of his Raspberry Rising expedition. Check out his caving tips and see behind-the-scenes photos of a caver’s life on twitter (@crazycavernick) or facebook (Crazy Caver).

Canadian Geographic Enterprises
Over the course of Fiscal 2012-2013, CGE began implementing the “Roadmap for Change,” a document outlining the strategic plan for the next three years to transform Canadian Geographic into a fully integrated cross-platform publisher that offers its readers thoughtful and innovative content packages on the platforms of their choice.

When taking into account the magazine’s 3.8 million readers per issue (PMB 2013), the 2.5 million annual unique visitors to its websites, subscribers to its various online newsletters, the membership of the CG Photo Club, as well as its social media network followers, the Canadian Geographic brand touched Canadians 9,393,578 times over the course of the last year.

What is revealing about these numbers is that a little more than a year after initiating “The Roadmap for Change,” Canadian Geographic now connects with Canadians more than twice as much digitally as in print.


13th 9 am RCGS Board of Governors
13th 1-3 pm RCGS AGM
13th 5:00 pm Medal Ceremony
13th 6:00 pm President's Reception
13th 7:00 pm Fellows Dinner
14th 9:00 am RCGS Board of Governors
14th noon CG Education AGM
15th 8:30 am CG Education AGM
17th - 23rd Geography Awareness Week

Louise Maffett
Editor of the Fellows Journal

Deb Chapman
Communications Manager

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