On April 8, 2014, Peter Adams of Peterborough addressed The Arctic Circle’s meeting in Ottawa. Since 1947 the Arctic Circle has brought together friends who share a lively interest in the Canadian north for monthly presentations by members and guests. April 8 marked the Circle’s 500th meeting. There was entertainment, a northern menu, and Peter’s address on " The Arctic Circle and polar science: seven decades and onwards."
Julie Angus of Victoria, BC reports that her newest book Olive Odyssey - Searching for the Secrets of the Fruit that Seduced the World will be released this May by Greystone Books. It covers the history of the olive tree from early domestication to modern day issues such as corruption in the olive oil industry and its prominent role in centenarian diets. Her book is based on research she did on a National Geographic sponsored expedition which she organized.
On June 10, 2014, Shawn Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations will receive an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario - Doctor of Laws, Honorius causa (LL.D.). As a hereditary Chief of the Ahousaht First Nation, Atleo has been a negotiator, facilitator, mediator, educator, strategic planner and community activist over the past 20 years, working tirelessly for the rights and freedoms of First Nations.
Selma Barkham receives the Lagun Onari from the Basque President.
In March, Selma Huxley Barkham of Ottawa (now retired in England) received the highest honour for foreigners and most prestigious distinction of Lagun Onari (“To a Good Friend”) from the President of the Basque Country. Selma dedicated much of her life to the study and investigation of the presence of Basque fishermen on the Atlantic coast of Canada in the 16th and 17th centuries, making important archival, historical and archaeological discoveries and exposing an unknown part of Canadian and Basque history. The title Lagun Onari recognizes individuals or entities which, despite not being Basque, in the performance of their activities have contributed significantly to the benefit of the Basque Country, its economic promotion and to the historical and cultural dissemination of all things Basque abroad. Typically presidents and countries are the recipients.
Selma Barkham specialized in the maritime history of Canada and the Basque Country. In the 1970s, she found thousands of manuscripts, mostly in Basque and Spanish archives, about the Basque cod and whale fisheries especially in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 16th century. She discovered the existence of a Basque whaling industry in southern Labrador and adjacent Québec, their whaling ports, archaeological remains of their bases including at Red Bay, and the presence of Basque galleons sunk in those ports, such as the San Juan (1565). Red Bay was declared a National Historic Site in 1979 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.
Selma Barkham received the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Medal, its highest honour, in 1980. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1981 for having made: "one of the most outstanding contributions, in recent years, to the story of this nation". In his speech the Basque President stated that "Selma Huxley Barkham's helm has marked new routes for the Basque Country" and that the Basque Country wanted to recognize "one of the most outstanding contributions to the history of our nation." Last year, Selma Barkham received the Gold Medal of the Oceanographical Society of Gipuzkoa (one of the Basque provinces) "in recognition of her pioneering research and discoveries".
|Jules Blais (left) and John Smol will share the $250,000 Brockhouse Canada Prize. |
(Photo: Linda Kimpe).
Brothers Jules Blais
and John Smol
, biology professors at the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University respectively, have won the top prize for interdisciplinary science research in Canada, the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering.
Jules is an environmental toxicologist who studies the effects of industrial pollutants on ecological systems. His toxicological work helps define past environmental stressors, while John’s ecological work characterizes the ecosystem responses to these stressors. Both Dr. Blais and Dr. Smol were recognized as Environmental Scientists of the Year by Canadian Geographic magazine in June 2008. Together they have produced over 40 papers on how pollutants move through the water, soil, plants and animals of Canadian ecosystems, and what effects they have. Much of their work is in the Arctic.
, Lab Director of the Mountain Hydrology Research Group at the University of Lethbridge, is a founding member and the Editorial Manager of a new Canadian science blog aggregator: Science Borealis: Blogging from Canadian Perspectives
Science Borealis is a volunteer-run initiative supported by Canadian Science Publishing and Genome Alberta. It brings all Canadian science blogs together in one location, from physics and stats, to science history, policy and art. For educators, the public, policy makers and scientists — find out what's going on in Canada and around the world! Sarah has written a series of posts on the Canadian Science Publishing blog that will be of interest to RCGS members. The first is about Scientific Societies in the Internet Age, and will be followed by posts on science communication and citizen science. Stay tuned to the CSP blog for more!
Dr. Boon also extends her congratulations to Dr. Dan Smith, Professor of Geography at the University of Victoria, for five excellent years of his GeogNews newsletter. Started on 23 Dec 2008, it comes out as often as Dan had enough to make a full issue, and contains many tidbits on geography research, papers, projects, people and fun across the country. Dan's been an excellent ambassador for geography across the country, and his keen personal interest in the field has been a benefit to many.
Christina Cameron, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage at the Université de Montréal, hosted the 9th Montreal Round Table from 12 to 14 March 2014 on the theme Exploring the Cultural Value of Nature: a World Heritage Context. Some thirty experts in heritage conservation and related disciplines from Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America gathered to discuss how or if the World Heritage system can recognize the indissoluble bond between people and nature in large protected areas. The purpose of the meeting was to foster an exchange of research, experience and observations in order to clarify how the cultural value of nature might be better understood.
Christina also took part in an expert meeting to assess the impact of the Nara Document on Authenticity (1994) on cultural World Heritage Sites. This preparatory meeting took place at Kyushu University, in Fukuoka, Japan, from 21 to 23 February 2014. The Japanese Government will later take the lead in celebrating the 20th anniversary of this influential doctrinal text.
Christina and postdoctoral researcher Mathieu Dormaels are organizing a day-long conference as part of ACFAS 2014 (Association francophone pour le savoir). The session on “Local Development and World Heritage: attract tourists or integrate people?” will be held on May 13, 2014 at Concordia University in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair in Culture, Tourism, Development and EIREST (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).
Christina has been appointed Chair of the Advisory Committee on Official Residences of Canada from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2017.
Arthur Philemon Coleman (1852-1939), Founding Honorary Vice President of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, in 1884 achieved the first ascent of Castle Mountain, and in total led eight exploratory trips to the Canadian Rockies. He is remembered as "one of Canada's great glacial geologists", and Mount Coleman and the Coleman Glacier in Banff National Park are named for him. This widely honoured geologist, explorer and founder of the Society is now featured in various articles and in tours of Toronto's historic Mount Pleasant Cemetery (also final resting place of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best, Glenn Gould, Northrop Frye, Sir Oliver Mowat, etc.), for his unusual grave marker — a large granite boulder.
In late Fall 2013, Kirstin Evenden
was appointed Executive Director, Lougheed House and Gardens in Calgary, Alberta. Kirstin has worked in diverse aspects of the museum sector for two decades, being with the Glenbow Museum for a number of years, most recently as its President and CEO. The Lougheed House was originally built in 1891 and is a National and Provincial Historic Site. Designed by Ottawa architect James R. Bowes for Senator James and Isabella Lougheed (Peter Lougheed’s grandparents), it is one of the earliest surviving mansions of its kind on the Canadian prairies today. Located in the Beltline District of Calgary amid several acres of heritage gardens and green space, it is a premier destination site in the city.
Mike Gill of Whitehorse, YT was nominated and elected as Vice-Chair of the Group on Earth Observations — Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). GEO BON is one of nine ‘Societal-Benefit Areas’ of GEO focused on developing an integrated, interoperable global biodiversity observation network. As Vice-Chair, Mike will be focused on providing overall leadership of GEO BON with the new Chair, Dr. Henrique Pereira, as well as on working with national and regional governments and institutes to facilitate the establishment and/or enhancement of harmonized biodiversity observations.
In March, Allen Gordon of Kuujjuak, QC participated in Ivakkak 2014, a 400 km sled dog race through the tundra with 11 other teams. The race down the western coast of Ungava Bay started at Kangiqsujuaq and finished in Tasiujaq (for more information, see www.ivakkak.com). It was Allen’s 5th entry and this year he succeeded in capturing 1st place after running his team of Inuit sled dogs 600 km. It is a very special cultural event that brings many emotions to the villages along the way. After the teams arrived in Tasiujaq, a community feast was hosted at the Ajagutak School where community members came to congratulate the mushers, their partners and support crew. After the meal, a slide show of past Ivakkak races was displayed for all to see. The medals and cash prizes were handed out by Vice President of Makivik Michael Gordon and Ivakkak coordinator Charlie Alaku.
Mark Graham, Vice President, Research and Collections, Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) reports that the 2014 Brock Prize was awarded to CMN palaeontologist Dr. Xiao-Chun Wu for his work in identifying Qianxisaurus chajiangensis a new fossil species of sauropterygian, an amazing long-necked reptile that swam through the depths with paddle-like limbs. Click here to learn more this new discovery. The CMN Award is named after Reginald Walter Brock (1874-1935) who was the Director of the Geological Survey of Canada from 1907-1914 and an important figure in establishing the natural history collection within Canada's first national museum. Amongst many other talents, he was an active field researcher.
Dr. Xiao-chun Wu (right), a palaeontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and this year’s Brock Award recipient, and his co-author Dr. Tamaki Sato, an associate researcher at the museum, proudly display their winnings in the CMN fossil collection. (Photo: Paul Sokoloff © Canadian Museum of Nature)
Through Ice and Time, a 20-minute film depicting a poetic journey through Jasper National Park’s Columbia Icefields, and co-produced by Rogier Gruys of Jasper, AB, was recently awarded best Canadian film at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
Local Jasper actor Dylan Skinner stars in Through Ice and Time. (Photo: Parks Canada/Rogier Gruys)
Norman Hallendy of Ottawa has completed season two of his winter project documenting Anasazi petroglyphs in Nevada and Arizona.
Anasazi Petrogyph of a shaman
Inuit artist Pitaloosie’s drawing of a shaman
The manuscript of Norman’s journal "An Intimate Wilderness" documenting his life and experience with the Sikusiilarmiut of southwest Baffin is completed, edited and ready for publication. American film maker C. Wyland and French film maker A. Maigre-Touche have separately produced one hour film documentaries on Norman's experiences in the Arctic. Currently, Norman is creating a huge database for his entire Arctic archives consisting of field notes, films, drawings, research, sculptures, graphics, maps and books. The purpose of this undertaking is to prepare his entire Arctic Archives to be donated to the McMichael Gallery of Canadian Art currently possessing his entire photographic collection as well as his substantial collection of Inuit Art.
John Houston and Ree Brennin Houston presented to two grade 6 classes at Sir Charles Tupper School in Halifax, Nova Scotia on February 25, 2014 at the invitation of their teacher Andrea Fader. The classes are studying Inuit culture and one of their student teachers will soon head off to Cape Dorset for her practicum in teaching. John shared his knowledge of Inuit art, Inuktitut, and fun stories about growing up in Cape Dorset, while Ree shared her wildlife biology knowledge including letting the students feel and lift her heavy 7-foot narwhal tusk (pictured). The sylabics on the whiteboard read “Welcome”, which John taught the class to say in Inuktitut.
John Houston of Halifax is one of three authors of a new book In Predatory Light: Lions and Tigers and Polar Bears. The hardcover book features stunning duotone images by Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson of some of Earth's most fearsome predators — lions, tigers and polar bears, with engaging texts by anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, naturalist Sy Montgomery and film-maker John Houston. This beautiful book will appeal to all fans of wildlife photography. John met Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson on an Adventure Canada voyage made with John’s godfather, the late Kananginak Pootoogook. John translated for some interviews Cyril made with Kananginak, and then one day he called to offer John the privilege of contributing the piece on the polar bear to the book.
From late May through mid June 2014, Ray Hyland
of Hope, BC will be joining an expedition to climb Mt Logan in Canada's Yukon. Based in the St Elias range, Mt Logan is North America's second highest peak at 5959 m (19,551 feet), Canada's tallest peak, and the world's largest peak by mass. The remote northern location results in very little human traffic on Mt Logan. Ray plans to do a repeatable photo survey of ice and snow levels on the mountain. He would like to hear from other RCGS Fellows who may have interest in the data he plans to collect. He can be contacted at email@example.com
In January, Hester Jiskoot, Associate Professor at the University of Lethbridge, was interviewed by GlobalTV Lethbridge about rare frozen foam pillars near Pincher Creek, Alberta. These foam pillars are caused by mild, thawing temperatures that are followed by a flash freeze resulting from a drastic drop in temperature. Organic matter in the water causes the creation of the foam and a crack or hole in the ice allows the foam to push through.
On Wednesday, April 9th, Alberta Premier Hancock announced that Martin Kennedy will be joining the Alberta Public Service to lead the Public Affairs Bureau as Deputy Chief, and sit on the Executive Council. Mark is leaving behind his position as Vice President of External Affairs for Capital Power Corporation. He has also resigned from his positions on the Premier’s Council on Culture and Alberta’s Results Based Budget Panels, and no longer holds any membership in a provincial or federal political party. His term on the Edmonton Historical Board ends April 30th. His new position will give him the opportunity to take on an executive leadership challenge, and to make a difference on some key policy files he cares deeply about.
|George Kourounis in Antarctica. (Photo: Mark Robinson)|
explorer/adventurer and TV presenter best known for his television series Angry Planet, has recently returned from Antarctica on a filming mission in which he teamed up with One Ocean Expeditions, documenting some of the weather, wildlife and ice conditions found on the frozen continent. This expedition will be featured in new episodes of a brand new television series entitled “Unearthed” which will be broadcast on The Weather Network in the coming months.
Tim Leslie, Supervisor of Flying Operations and Training, Flight Research Laboratory at the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa, oversees Canadian experiments in microgravity. The NRC operates a specially modified Falcon 20 aircraft in support of microgravity research that affords researchers the opportunity of microgravity exposure (near zero gravity) of approximately twenty seconds. The NRC has hosted Rick Mercer aboard the Falcon 20.
Nik Lopoukhine of Ottawa serves on the boards of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Wildlands Network and is active in the planning of the "Inspiring a New Generation" segment of the upcoming International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia in Nov. 2014.
Dave MacLean of the Centre of Geographic Sciences at the Nova Scotia Community College took advantage of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games to lead his students in the Advanced GIS course in developing an online map tour of twitter feeds by broadcasters around the world. A few of the many things the students learned: 1) Olympic content differs among countries, 2) style of coverage by various news organizations, 3) provides an online atlas for students at any school, 4) shows variation in twitter/technology use/integration around the world, 5) popularity of the Winter Olympics, and 6) that there are many twitter hashtags for #Sochi: #sotchi . The map has been viewed over 1,100 times in over 25 countries. Technically, the map required twitter widgets, HTML coding, use of dropbox, Esri ArcGIS Online account. To see the map in action, either type bit.ly/TwitterSochi into any browser (works on iPhone/Android/iPad, too) or click bit.ly/TwitterSochi
of Cape Breton University has been awarded a 2014 3M National Teaching Fellowship. This award is considered one of Canada’s top teaching honours.
“This recognition speaks volumes about Dr. Maher and his capacity to bring innovative and engaging practices to the classroom at Cape Breton University (CBU). He represents a generation of university educators who are delivering an outstanding education to our students,” says Dr. David Wheeler, CBU president and vice-chancellor. Previously a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, Dr. Maher is thrilled to be back on the East Coast as an associate professor of Community Studies. He hopes to continue the tradition of teaching problem based and experiential learning. Dr. Maher adds, “Much of my nomination focused on my use of experiential learning, and it’s great to see that style of teaching and learning recognized. I’ve been a long-time advocate of this philosophy/method.” As a new 3M Fellow, Dr. Maher is the only 2014 award recipient from Nova Scotia.
Lynn Moorman of Calgary attended a presentation by author Robert Kaplan who was speaking about his new book, The Revenge of Geography: What the Map tells us about Coming Conflicts and the Battle against Fate. Kaplan is among the world's foremost advocates for geography. Also attending the presentation was the Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi.
Left to right: Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, RCGS Fellow Lynn Moorman and author Robert Kaplan.
Privateers will be the focus of Lunenburg’s new Marine Archaeology Centre (MAC), which will open later this year. Its founder is marine archaeologist and RCGS Fellow, Rob Rondeau
Efforts to locate the wrecks of two privateer vessels will be part of MAC’s focus this summer. One is from the American Revolution, the other the War of 1812. Rob is no stranger to studying Colonial-era shipwrecks. He was a marine archaeologist in Florida for many years before returning to Canada. And, he’s worked on other shipwrecks around the world. MAC will operate in partnership with the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation, which is located in the former residence of Angus Walters, the captain of the famed Bluenose.
Olav Slaymaker, Professor Emeritus of the University of British Columbia, will be giving an invited lecture at a special session (SS22) of the Geological and Mineralogical Associations of Canada’s annual meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick, May 21-23. The special session celebrates the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Geomorphological Research Group which is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Geographers, the Canadian Geophysical Union, the Geological Association of Canada, the Canadian Quaternary Association and l’Association Québecoise pour l’étude du Quaternaire.
of Canmore, AB has spent most of his life amongst the human and wildlife inhabitants of the remote polar regions. Originally trained as a biologist, he has three decades of experience in polar wildlife research, including four months in Antarctica studying the diving behaviour of Emperor penguins. He has led more than 50 expeditions in the High Arctic. Drawing upon insights from a lifetime of polar explorations, his 2012 feature Vanishing Point
bears witness to the challenges facing indigenous hunting culture in the 21st century Arctic.
Vanishing Point is a human and wildlife story set in the wild reaches of the Northwest Passage. The film's narrative is observational and inquisitive in tone: just what does it mean to make a life in today's Arctic? The vision of its creators was to draw attention to climate change and sustainability issues without clubbing audiences over the head with expert testimonials. Vanishing Point has received a number of awards and award nominations around the world. In 2013 the film picked up Best Production Reflecting Cultural Diversity at the Alberta Film and Television Awards and was shortlisted in the top feature documentary category by the Directors Guild of Canada. It was most recently nominated by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for Best Feature Documentary in the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. The film has been officially selected at festivals nationally and internationally, and is presently available for home viewing on iTunes and Netflix. Next year Toronto's PanAm Games will be including the film in its cultural event programming.
Matthew Swan of Adventure Canada reports that on the heels of their twenty-fifth anniversary last year, 2014 marks another milestone for Adventure Canada: twenty years of operating in Newfoundland and Labrador. And to mark the occasion, Adventure Canada has won the 2014 Cruise Vision Award, "presented to leaders who demonstrate a meaningful commitment to the provincial cruise industry". The Tourism Excellence Awards, held recently in Gander, Newfoundland, celebrates achievements and commitments to the region’s booming tourism industry.
of Old Chelsea, QC has been appointed as artist in residence at Carleton University's Faculty of Music for the academic year 2014- 15.
This appointment will include teaching a songwriting course as well as concerts, production and recording seminars and sessions on music for film and drama.
Ian has recently released a CD called Connected — a collection of Inuit student songs which were written by the students while he was on the Students on Ice expedition last summer. He is currently working on the last album of his Four Coast Project: The Labrador. Many of the songs for this album were written on Adventure Canada trips. The release date for this CD is set for April 6th at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, QC.
NB. Items for “Fellows in the News” are welcomed and should be sent to Louise Maffett at Maffett@rcgs.org.