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Fellows Journal

Spring 2016

Message from the President

This year, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is trying something new. We have changed the format of our annual spring lecture in Ottawa, shifting away from a longer talk by a single speaker, in favour of a series of short TED-style talks. We are calling it Can Geo Talks, and the subject, Inuit Oral Tradition and Franklin, could not be more timely or interesting. We are honoured to have Captain Dave Woodman as the keynote, and by the tremendous list of speakers we have assembled, including Louie Kamookak, Ryan Harris, Karen Ryan and Russell Potter. What is more, we are delighted to have One Ocean Expeditions aboard as our presenting sponsor. The event is on April 12, at the Canadian Museum of History Theatre. I hope those of you in the National Capital Region, or able to visit Ottawa, will join us for a fascinating evening, and I would advise you to get your tickets soon! Harris, Kamookak and the others, together with our own CEO, John Geiger, who co-authored the book, and co-author Alanna Mitchell, will be available to sign copies of the Society’s book, Franklin’s Lost Ship, which will be for sale following the event. For those of you not able to attend in person, stay tuned for news about a live stream. Meanwhile, the Society is working on plans that will see Can Geo Talks held in other Canadian cities.

On March 22, Canadian Geographic won Gold at the Canadian Cover Awards, for our Jan/Feb 2015 cover of a wolf. Silver and bronze medals went to Toronto Life magazine. Congratulations to our outstanding editorial team for their achievement. The cover story itself, about our love-hate relationship with the wolf, is every bit equal to the cover, and was written by Fellow (and Franklin’s Lost Ship co-author) Alanna Mitchell.

I hope you’ll agree with me that this represents the start of what promises to be a tremendous year for the Society!

Paul Ruest, PhD


Can Geo Talks 2016: Inuit Oral Tradition and Franklin

Dave Woodman will be one of the speakers at this year's Can Geo Talks. Credit: Amie Gibbins

Keynote speaker Captain Dave Woodman is the acclaimed author of two books about Sir John Franklin's ill-fated Arctic expedition. Woodman’s work concentrates on the profound importance of Inuit testimony regarding Franklin’s fate, and he was the first scholar to explore the topic in depth. From 1992 to 2004, he led or participated in nine expeditions to Canada’s Arctic in search of Franklin’s lost ships.

Joining Captain Woodman is a panel of experts who share this passion for exploring the connection between Inuit oral knowledge and Franklin. Dr. Russell Potter, an RCGS Fellow and American academic, is recognized globally for his work on 19th-century Arctic exploration. Celebrated Inuit historian Louie Kamookak, an RCGS Fellow and medallist, is a leader in the collection and preservation of Inuit testimony related to Franklin. The Canadian Museum of History’s Curator for Northern Canada, Dr. Karen Ryan, is an RCGS Fellow and an expert on northern historical archeology. Ryan Harris, who since 2008 has been leading the remote-sensing operations for Parks Canada's Franklin searches, was one of the first people to see and dive on the long-lost HMS Erebus after it was discovered in 2014.

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 from 7pm-9pm
Canadian Museum of History Theatre
100 Rue Laurier
Gatineau, QC
K1A 0M8

Get your tickets now!

2016 RCGS College of Fellows Annual Dinner

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is pleased to announce that the College of Fellows Annual Dinner 2016 will be held at the Canadian War Museum on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. Proceeds from the evening support the Society's vital programs. The society will also be celebrating the 175th Anniversary of the Geological Survey of Canada.
We are thrilled to welcome Simon Winchester as one of our guests of honour.

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, Ottawa, ON
Medal Ceremony: 5pm
Cocktail Reception: 6pm
Dinner: 7pm

Get your tickets now!


2015 College of Fellows Annual Dinner

The 2015 Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s medal ceremony and College of Fellows Annual Dinner returned to the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., on November 18th, 2015. Over 400 attended the star-studded evening that celebrated those that help to make Canada better known.

Missed the dinner? Visit the Dinner’s webpage to learn more about the evening’s highlights, watch Margaret Atwood sing “Canada’s Really Big” and visit the evening’s photo gallery.

Society Notes

Update on Fellows Committee

New 2015 inductees to the RCGS College of Fellows (Photo: Matt Zambonin/CRA Events/Canadian Geographic)

The Fellows Committee will be meeting in June to begin reviewing new nominations for the College of Fellows. All Fellows are encouraged to help grow the College by submitting nominations.

If you know someone who is helping to make Canada better known to Canadians and can contribute to the Society, please fill out the nomination form by clicking here.

The Fellows Committee is chaired by Fellow Joe Frey (Toronto, ON). Members include Fellows Jean Marie Beaulieu (Chelsea, QC), Brad Faught (Toronto, ON), and Brian Hodgson (Calgary, AB).

Fellows Neck Badge

Want to make an impression at special occasions? Consider buying the gold plated and sterling silver Fellows Neck Badge to wear at ceremonial events. The price is $435.00 which covers the cost of this impressive medal. The deadline for orders is fast approaching. For more details and/or to order a Fellows Neck Badge, please contact Sandra Smith.

Your Society in the News
Janet Ruest is the 2015 recipient of the 2015 Innovation in Geography Teaching Award. (Photo: Aura Banda/National Geographic Naturalist)

Geography teachers and Ondaatje medal winner make the news

The efforts of our 2015 award-winning geography teachers not only impressed the Society but Canadians and the media as well. Janet Ruest, a teacher at Chemainus Secondary in Chemainus in B.C., the proud winner of the Innovation in Geography Teaching Award, attracted a lot of media attention. The BC Teachers Federation newsmagazine featured a story about Janet’s award-winning year. Janet’s win also received a lot of local media coverage including Shaw Cable’s great documentary about this wonderful teacher and her approach to teaching geography. Janet’s local MLA delivered a statement in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia recognizing Ruest for her incredible contribution to teaching.

Zach Vanthournout with his faithful service dog In’sha by his side, received our Geography Literacy Award from the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Govenor of Ontario and Paul Ruest, President of the RCGS. (Photo : Matt Zambonin/ Canadian Geographic)

Moncton High School teacher, Zach Vanthournout, won our 2015 Geography Literacy Award and created a regional media storm with his win. CBC Radio’s Daybreak Maritimes and CTV Atlantic’s 5 p.m. news both covered his win along with numerous newspapers across New Brunswick. Zach’s hometown newspaper, the Chatham Daily News also featured a story about his win. The New Brunwick Teacher’s Association also recognized Zach in their newsletter on page 10 for winning our award and his tireless efforts to promote geographic literacy in the Maritimes. The media coverage had the Hon. Serge Rouselle, New Brunswick’s Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development wanting to meet with Vanthournout and discuss New Brunswick’s proposed 10-year education plan. Zach hopes to discuss how the use of technology in geography education and literacy can give students the necessary 21st century skills necessary to compete in today’s job market.

Jill Heinerth (Photo: Wes Skiles)

Jill Heinerth, our inaugural Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration winner, has earned international media coverage for her work and promoted the Society in every interview she does. She attracted BBC coverage for her expertise on underwater cave diving and was recently featured in a TED Youth Talk which has more than a million views. Heinerth is also heading the Bell Island Newfoundland expedition, our Expedition of the Year, and earned regional coverage on CBC Newfoundland and this story on Radio Canada. Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet program has also done two news segments on the expedition.

Finally, the Society and it's 2015 Malerualik Expedition featured prominently in the New York Times Magazine on March 18. Fellow Louie Kamookaka, and RCGS CEO John Geiger both appear in the major article, 'Artifacts of a Doomed Expedition', written by Leanne Shapton. It is wonderful coverage of the important work the Society is doing, featured prominently in one of the world's most prestigious publications.

Strategic Partnerships

Guests begin to arrive at a reception on Parliament Hill for Canadian Museums Day and explore The Royal Canadian Geographical Society's Parks Canada giant floor map. (Photo: Gilles Gagnier/Canadian Geographic)

Strategic partnerships continue to provide an important avenue for extending the Society’s profile and impact across Canada.  Over the past several years, the Society has built a broad network of partners amongst like-minded organizations, resulting in a number of key collaborative projects and initiatives that have helped connect Canadians with their geographical heritage.

Recently the RCGS has formed three new partnerships which have already begun to bear fruit.  In November, as part of our College of Fellows Annual Dinner, the RCGS signed an MOU with the Trans Canada Trail.  This agreement has led to the elaboration of a series of events and projects designed to build awareness of the Trail, and connect Canadians with their immediate environment, and the scope of Canadian geography.

CEO John Geiger with The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, at Canadian Museums Day.

Secondly, we have recently signed an MOU with the Canadian Museum of History.  This agreement has facilitated the museum’s involvement in our upcoming CanGeo Talks in April, and also opened the door for future collaboration with Society events and projects.

Finally, the Society began 2016 by signing a third MOU with the Canadian Museums Association.   Under the auspices of this partnership, the RCGS collaborated with the CMA to celebrate Canadian Museums Day on January 26th, on Parliament Hill.  As part of this program, the RCGS participated in a well-attended reception in Centre Block, where one of our giant floor maps was featured.

We will continue to look for partnership opportunities with organizations that share our interest, values, and commitment to Canadian geography. 

Travel Partnerships

Meet these Sable Island celebrities up close and personal (Photo: Michelle Valberg/ Adventure Canada)

Adventure Canada’s Sable Island 2016
9 DAYS | JUNE 11 - 19, 2016

When you step off your Zodiac and on to Sable Island, you’ll be surprised just how much this pristine, windswept 40-kilometer length sandbar has to offer. Along the sand dunes you’ll see the island’s protected wild horses, as they graze on marram grass. The horses live in family bands alongside the world’s largest colony of 50,000 grey seals. The expedition is perfectly timed for the return of the island’s shoreline birds as they prepare for nesting season. On the return trip back to St. John’s, the Ocean Endeavour will make a stop at the picturesque island of St. Pierre, France. Learn more at Adventure Canada’s Sable Island webpage.

Explore the remote corners of Labrador like never before (Photo: Mike Beedell/ Adventure Canada)

Adventure Canada’s Greenland and Wild Labrador 2016 Expedition
13 DAYS | JUNE 29 - JULY 11, 2016 

Sail the Ocean Endeavour and witness some of the most dramatic, untouched coastlines in the world. The cruise’s course is designed to showcase the incredible geographic diversity of Newfoundland’s rugged northeast coastline with stops at Notre Dame Bay and the ancient Viking settlement site of L’Anse aux Meadows. The ship crosses the Labrador Sea and heads north along the remote, wild coastlines of Labrador. The expedition then crosses the Davis Strait to Greenland to visit its fiords, coastal glaciers and see Arctic wildlife. This tour makes frequent Zodiac stops so that you can get up close and personal with some of the most breathtaking spots. See more at Adventure Canada’s Labrador and Greenland Expedition webpage.

These polar bears are what you can expect to see on this expedition. (Photo: Nathan Small/ One Ocean Expeditions)

One Ocean Expeditions’ Polar Expeditions Series: Arctic 2016
Northwest Passage Wildlife Encounter
8 NIGHTS/9 DAYS | AUGUST 12 - 20, 2016
Join RCGS Ambassador André Préfontaine on this adventure above the Arctic Circle with world renowned experts in history, culture, ornithology, marine biology and polar photography. Zodiac excursions in groups of 8-10 let you see polar bears, seals, muskox, and whales in their natural environment. This expedition includes an enhanced photography program with two professional photographers that will help you document the highlights of this fabulous trip. Visit Canadian Geographic Photo Club for more details about this exciting cruise. Your participation will benefit the RCGS’s work to make Canada better known.

A blue footed booby breeds and rears its young on the Galápagos Islands. (Photo courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions)

Lindblad Expeditions’ Galápagos and Peru's Land of the Inca
15 DAYS | OCTOBER 14 - 29, 2016

Explore the Galápagos volcanic islands and see the rare and usual species unique to this archipelago. Then it’s off for a tour of Peru culminating with a journey to the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu set high in the Andes Mountains. Bring your camera because a photo instructor will be on hand to help you document this incredible adventure. Learn more about this cruise at Lindblad Expeditions Galápagos and Peru webpage.

Program Notes

Advancement Committee

The Advancement Committee continues to provide strategic advice on the Society’s overall fundraising strategy, as it helps guide the Society towards a fundraising model with a primary emphasis on major and designated gifts. 

A key component of this year’s fundraising approach is a commitment to encouraging all Fellows of the RCGS to become donors, in a way that they are most comfortable. This commitment was echoed in a presentation given by RCGS President, Dr. Paul Ruest, at the Society’s 2015 AGM, where Paul announced the ambitious goal of a 100% donor participation rate for Fellows. To support this goal, the RCGS has created a number of new tools to make it easier for Fellows to support their Society.

In March, the Society launched its first crowdfunding project, Mission Wild Wolverine, to support our search for magazine quality photos of the elusive Canadian Wolverine. The campaign is currently running, and can be found here.

In addition, the RCGS has now been invited to join the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling Program. This program allows supporters of the RCGS to donate their Aeroplan points, to help support Society programs and initiatives. If you’d like to give a gift of Aeroplan points, you can do so here.

Finally, with this year’s Fellows Campaign, the Society is also encouraging Fellows to become monthly donors to the RCGS. For as little as $10 a month, Fellows can strongly support the Society, without ever feeling a significant hit on the wallet.

To learn more about what donation options are available to you, or for more information about how to join our exclusive Compass Rose Club Program, please contact Jason Muscant, Director of Advancement at (613)745-4629 ex. 139, or via e-mail at

The Advancement Committee is chaired by Governor David Mitchell (Ottawa, ON). Members include Fellows Glenn Blackwood (St. John's, NL), Amy Boddington (Toronto, ON), Wendy Cecil (Toronto, ON), Allen Clarke (Toronto, ON), Tony Hendrie (Toronto, ON), Jim Hole (Edmonton, AB), Paul Klein (Toronto, ON), and Bob Page (Calgary, AB).

Awards Committee

The Awards Committee met in January to recommend the 2016 recipient of the Massey Medal. The Committee was pleased to select Dr. Steve Blasco as this year’s recipient. Dr. Blasco has recently retired from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Geological Survey of Canada, after a career of more than 39 years focused on scientific research in marine environments of Canada. His studies have included scouring and conical shoals that create hazards to pipelines on the Beaufort Sea floor, the sediments of the Lomonosov Ridge, geophysical surveys of Georgian Bay, and shipwrecks as time markers (HMS Bredalbane in the Arctic and RMS Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean). During his research, Dr. Blasco has had the ability to bring together resources of government, academia, and industry to advance the knowledge and public interest in these aspects of Canada’s geography; he has shown his remarkable communication skills and shared his passion with Canadians. He led the scientific team during the IMAX filming of the wreck of the Titanic, he has been a strong proponent of community involvement (as in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region), has had an impact on environmental assessment for oil and gas exploration, and provided scientific support for Parks Canada’s establishment of Fathom Five National Marine Park. Dr. Blasco has promoted the transfer of technology to universities and the exploration industry, and designed innovative equipment for seabed studies. He has been a tireless explorer in the field of marine geophysics, developing a public interest and greater understanding of the geography of Canada’s offshore regions.

Fellows are strongly encouraged to assist with soliciting new nominations of deserving candidates for Society Medals. Here are the deadlines for the remaining 2016 Society medals and award nominations.

Sir Christopher Ondaatje Exploration Medal — September 5
3M Environmental Innovation Award — September 12
Martin Bergmann Arctic Medal — June 30
Geographic Literacy Award — September 15
Innovation in Geography Teaching Award — September 15

The Awards Committee is chaired by Fellow Helen Kerfoot (Ottawa, ON). Members include Fellows Richard Berthelsen (Toronto, ON), Glenn Blackwood (St. John's, NL), Dianne Draper (Calgary, AB), Alison Gill (Burnaby, BC), Phil Howarth (Dundas, ON), Chris McCreery (Halifax, NS), and Wayne Pollard (Montréal, QC).

Canadian Geographic Education

Canadian Geographic Education has all national contests underway, more giant floor maps than ever in circulation and lots of promising proposals in the works - not a bad start to 2016. Can Geo Education’s programs continue to grow with numbers significantly higher than the 14,000 teacher members signed up at this time last year:

The 2016 Canada's Coolest School Trip winners will visit Jasper National Park. (Photo: Lin Lyle/Can Geo Photo Club)

Current Membership: 16,600
Classrooms participating in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge: 1,285
Schools registered for the Can Geo Challenge: 614

Grade 8 classes registered for Canada’s Coolest School Trip contest: 69 videos submitted - a record!
Giant Floor maps circulating currently: 32
New giant floor maps to be produced by March 31: 16
Tiled maps available for download: 20
Can Geo in the Classroom Activities: 10 (more with each issue)
Inquiry workbooks: 4 (one new and one to be added each month)

The Canadian National Standards for Geography were originally written in 2001 and revised in 2003. Since its creation this document has guided the development of all of Canadian Geographic Education's resources and continues to support geographic education across Canada. In February of 2016 a committee was formed to spearhead a revision and update of the National Standards to ensure that it reflects current pedagogy.

The GeoOlypiad will use cutting edge technologies as part of this competition. (Photo: PYXIS Innovation Inc.)

Canadian Geographic Education is developing a national geography competition to select students in grade 10-12 to be part of a Team Canada to participate in the International Geography Union's International GeoOlympiad. This competition is in partnership with PYXIS Innovation and, sponsor dependent, will launch in October 2016.

Can Geo Education continues to develop and deliver a number of professional learning workshops and school presentations. Needless to say, 2016 brings lots of excitement within Can Geo Education. If you have any questions or are interested in getting involved in any of these great projects, please contact Ellen Curtis, Director of Education at

The Canadian Geographic Education Executive Committee is chaired by Fellow Connie Wyatt Anderson (The Pas, MB). Members include Fellows John Trites (Berwick, NS) representing the Atlantic region, Chantal Dery (Laval, QC) representing Québec, Kim Wallace (Burlington, ON) representing Ontario, Rob Langston (Brandon, MB representing Manitoba, Andrew Kitchen (Saskatoon, SK) representing Saskatchewan, Don McLaughlin (Calgary, AB) representing Alberta, Jozsef Budai (Burnaby, BC) representing British Columbia, Catherine Pak (Cambridge Bay, NU) representing the Territories and Lynn Moorman (Calgary, AB) representing Post-secondary education.

Expeditions Committee

The Expeditions Committee met in January to discuss 18 applications for funding for the 2016 season. The following Expeditions were awarded funding:

Team mate Cas Dobbins explores the Bell Island mines. (Photo: Jill Heinerth)

Expedition of the Year was awarded to Bell Island Newfoundland.
Few people know that Bell Island, Newfoundland was attacked by the Germans during World War II. In 1942, German U-boats twice raided the island in an attempt to disrupt the flow of high grade iron ore being transported from the island’s mines. The Germans knew that if they could disrupt the flow of ship building materials, even temporarily, the Allied war efforts would be seriously affected. In two separate attacks, U-boats sunk the SS Saganaga and SS Lord Strathcona followed by the SS Rose Castle, Free French vessel PLM 27 and the Bell Island loading wharf. Experienced technical divers will document the remarkable war graves of the 70 men that were killed and explore the WWII shipwrecks now resplendent with colorful marine growth.

Jill Heinerth, an RCGS Fellow and the inaugural recipient of the RCGS’s Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration, will lead the expedition to Bell Island. The exploration site is spread over 16 kilometers and has 100km of tunnels plunging beneath the sea floor of Conception Bay where the WWII wrecks reside. Abandoned decades ago, these mine passages are now flooded. Jill and her team will explore new areas of the submerged mine tunnels that contain mining relics, pipes, heavy equipment and remarkable graffiti that tells the story of miners who died and document their findings. The story of the Bell Island shipwrecks and mines is an important chronicle in Canada’s history.

The first phase of the expedition commenced in mid-February 2016 with the next phase scheduled for June 2016.

For more information about this expedition:
Expedition website
RCGS Expeditions page

Additional funding was awarded to the following Expeditions:

The sun setting on the Bugaboo Spire and North Howser Tower. (Photo: Lyle Grisedale/Can Geo Photo Club)

Bugaboo Spire Centennial Climb
In 1916 Austrian mountain guide Conrad Kain led Alpine Club of Canada members J. Vincent plus Albert and Bess MacCarthy to become the first known climbers to ascend the Bugaboo Spire of BC’s Purcell Mountains. The spire was no easy climb. The granite spire rises up to an elevation of 3,204 meters and rests between the Vowell and Crescent Glaciers. To celebrate the centenary of this historic climb, a group of climbers will scale the Bugaboo Spire in July.

For more information about this expedition:
RCGS Expeditions page

Dave and Adrien Green from Route Blanche. (Photo: Stephen Ferguson)

Route Blanche 2016
Québec’s Lower North Shore region has long been one of the least explored areas of Canada. The region is so remote that it was one of the last regions in Canada to get electricity and that didn’t happen until the early 1970’s! Sixteen isolated communities dot the 418 kilometers of the Lower North Shore’s rugged coastline. Like many remote communities in Canada, no navigable road connects these isolated communities of between 100 to 1200 inhabitants. The Ministry of Transport of Québec does maintain a snowmobile route in winter to connect the communities with the rest of the province. The expedition team travelled the seasonal “Route Blanche” by snowshoe by day in February/ March and overnighted in a canvas tent.

For more information about this expedition:
Expedition website
RCGS Expeditions page

Celebrated filmmaker, Frank Wolf will lead the Maskwa Nanook Expedition. (Photo: Courtesy Maskwa Nanook)

Maskwa Nanook
The Maskwa Nanook Expedition is a 1600 km wilderness canoe journey beginning in the Cree community of Lac La Ronge, SK and finish in the Inuit community of Arviat, NU on the western Shore of Hudson Bay. Starting in July 2016, the team will embark on a 40-day expedition traveling a difficult and unique route through the wildest, most remote regions of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nunavut. Maskwa Nanook will produce written features, a public talk, and film about the journey that will intimately showcase this remote landscape to Canadians and the world.

For more information about this expedition:
Expedition website
RCGS Expeditions page

Know the North team member Sydney Toni and Kira Burkett on the Bloodvein River’s Shangri La Rapids in 2015. (Photo: Louise Riou)

Know the North
Know the North is four women and four men team on a 50-day paddling expedition from northern Saskatchewan to Hudson Bay. The group is made up of a group of educators, outdoor enthusiasts and friends. They will be exploring a major part of Canada’s North by canoe in July and August of 2016, covering nearly 1400 km across four provinces and territories.

For more information about this expedition:
Expedition website
RCGS Expeditions page

Louie Kamookak setting up tent at Peabody Point in 2015. He will lead the Humahuk Expedition this summer. (Photo: Jason Fulford/Canadian Geographic)

Humahuk Expedition
For well over 30 years, famed Inuit historian Louie Kamookak has been fascinated by the mystery of Sir John Franklin and his ill-fated expedition. His interest was inspired by a story told to him by his late, great-grandmother. In her youth she came across artifacts and a grave she believed were connected to the Franklin Expedition. The drive to find these artifacts and grave, and connect his great grandmother’s story has drawn Louie Kamookak to King William Island several times. In the summer of 2016 Louie will return to the island to try and find the artifacts and grave his great-grandmother told him about and maybe discover another clue to what happened to Franklin and his crew, one of Canada’s greatest mysteries.

For more information about this expedition:
Expedition website
RCGS Expeditions page

Natalia Martinez, will lead Womens Logan Traverse Expedition. (Photo: Courtesy Womens Logan Traverse)

Women’s Logan Traverse
Mount Logan is the highest peak in Canada, towering at 5,956 m at the heart of the Saint-Elias range in the Kluane National Park. It is a remote mountain located in the middle of what is probably the largest non-polar ice field on the planet. An experienced two-woman team will attempt to become the first female team to climb this legendary mountain in alpine style via the aesthetic technical route: The East Ridge. When they arrive at the Saint Elias Range in July of 2016 they will traverse the Logan Massif from East to West, climb the beautiful East Ridge and then ski down to the West by the King's trench. This demanding route features two exciting knife-edge ridges, a high level of exposure, and breathtaking views and has yet to be conquered by a female team.

For more information about this expedition:
Expedition website
RCGS Expeditions page

The Expeditions Committee is co-chaired by Fellows Michael Schmidt (North Saanich, BC), and Bernard Voyer (Montreal, QC). Members include Fellows Jean-Marie Beaulieu (Chelsea, QC), Lisel Currie (Calgary, AB), Judith Kennedy (Ottawa, ON), David Pelly (Ottawa, ON) and Steve Smith (Canmore, AB).

Research Grants Committee

The Research Grants Committee will be meeting soon to discuss the 31 funding applications. Funding results will be posted to our website when they become available.

The Research Committee is chaired by Fellow James Boxall (Halifax, NS). Committee members include Christine Duverger-Harrison (Ottawa, ON), Alison Gill (Burnaby, BC), Peter Lafleur (Peterborough, ON), Sarah de Leeuw (Prince George, BC), Pat Maher (Halifax, NS) and Robert Summerby-Murray (Halifax, NS).
Fellows in the news

NOTE: Contributions from the Fellows are published in the language in which they are submitted.

Robert Bateman of Salt Spring Island, BC has released his memoir, Life Sketches, with Simon & Schuster. Full of never-before-seen illustrations, the book is an “inspiring and elegant portrait” of Bateman's life as an artist and of his belief that "nature is an infinite source of reason, imagination, and invention." Bateman's vast body of work--spanning species as large as the buffalo and as small as the mouse--has touched millions of hearts and minds. Best known, perhaps, for his gorgeous depictions of birds in flight, Bateman's images stir a deep appreciation of colour, form, and spirit in his viewers.

Liane Benoit was appointed to the Defence Advisory Board (DAB) by the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in June 2015. DAB is a strategic-level advisory board reporting directly to the DM/CDS. Originally established in 1987 as the Defence Science Advisory Board (DSAB), the Board's mandate was expanded in 2014 to include broader matters of policy and procurement in addition to science. The Board provides a linkage between the collective resources, knowledge and connections of the Canadian scientific, industrial and research communities-at-large and the senior leadership of the Department in delivering independent external advice on a broad range of scientific, strategic and technical issues.

Chris Cran will have an exhibition of his work at the National Gallery of Canada this spring. The opening is May 19th.

Wade Davis of Bowen Island, BC was appointed to the Order of Canada in December 2015 for his efforts to promote conservation and for his work as a writer and scholar.

RCGS Fellows: Mike Farley, John Geiger, Anne Smith Mansfield, Lew French, Kim Wallace, Paul Van Zant

Mike Farley of Toronto reports that RCGS Fellows played a key role at the Fall 2015 OAGEE (Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education) Conference on November 13-14 hosted by the University of Toronto Schools. The Conference brought together over 200 educators for two full days of activities such as workshops, field trips, and presentations. RCGS Fellows played a big role in making the Conference such a success. John Geiger gave a powerful Keynote Address on the Friday morning about Franklin and discovering the Erebus wreck. Mike Farley was the Conference Lead Coordinator, while Lew French was in charge of finances. Kim Wallace and Paul VanZant delivered engaging workshops to packed rooms, and Anne Smith Mansfield was given the 2015 OAGEE Award of Distinction. In addition to the Fellows, Canadian Geographic employees Sara Black and Mary Jane Starr facilitated outstanding sessions on the Geographic Challenge and the ‘Energy Production & Transmission’ Giant Floor Map.

Brad Faught’s latest book is to be published in April, a biography of Lord Kitchener, the British late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century military statesman: Kitchener: Hero and Anti-Hero (London and New York).

Dominique Forget, journaliste scientifique et auteur du livre Perdre le Nord?, a quitté la rédaction du magazine Québec Science pour se joindre à l'équipe de Découverte, une émission de science diffusée sur les ondes de Radio-Canada. Son premier reportage s'est attardé aux dessous de l'affaire Volkswagen. On peut le visionner en ligne sur le site de Radio-Canada.

Jean Fournier

Jean Fournier received the Meritorius Service Medal (civil division) from His Excellency the Governor General of Canada on December 11, 2015. Jean was awarded the medal for 12 years of dedicated service and leadership as a director and subsequently chair of the Quebec Council of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council.

Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto, was appointed to the Order of Canada in December 2015 for his research in urban geography, notably for his influential studies of innovation, technology and development in cities.

Norman Hallendy has donated his entire archives representing 46 years of ethnograhic work in the eastern Arctic. His third and he claims his last book An Intimate Landscape attracted various publishers to bid on the work with Greystone Books of Vancouver being chosen. Dr. Wm. Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies Centre, Smithsonian Institution stated in the foreword of the book: “Hallendy’s explorations have made him something of a modern ‘Rasmussen’ of the Canadian Arctic. Rasmussen was more interested in Inuit mythology, religion, and oral history, whereas Hallendy focuses more on lexical matters like names, meanings, and states of being. Like Rasmussen, he travelled and lived with Inuit, winter and summer, exploring the words Inuit use to describe weather events, ice conditions, or geographic and cultural features.” An Intimate Landscape: Arctic Voices in a Land of Vast Horizons is expected to be published in 2016.

In 2015, Richard Harris received the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, for his book, Building a Market. The Rise of the Home Improvement Industry, 1914-1960 (University of Chicago Press). The Hitchcock award is given “to recognize annually the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of architecture published by a North American scholar.”

Also in 2015, Richard Harris was nominated and chosen President-elect of the Urban History Association.

Jill Heinerth, recipient of the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration recently spoke at TEDYouth in New York. The underwater explorer spoke about her work to an audience in the Brooklyn Museum while the conference was simulcast in three languages worldwide.

Jill Heinerth, Steve Lewis and Rick Stanley are working on underwater exploration in Bell Island, Newfoundland. In February they visited Bell Island with an impressive team of scientists and cave divers to survey and document Bell Island Mine #2 which was abandoned and flooded in 1966. They are joined by a team from Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Duke University lead by prominent Canadian Dr. Neal Pollack who will be conducting research on decompression stress on the diving team. In addition, samples of the bacterial mats covering much of the abandoned mine equipment will be studied by Dr. Ann Cheeptham, and graduate students from the microbiology department of Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia. Further scientific research will be conducted by Dr. Dawn Kernagis from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).

Few people know that Bell Island, Newfoundland, Canada was directly attacked during World War II. In 1942, German U-boats twice raided the island in an attempt to disrupt the flow of high-grade iron ore being transported from mines on the island. In two separate attacks, U-boats sunk the SS Saganaga and SS Lord Strathcona followed by the SS Rose Castle, Free French vessel PLM 27 and the loading wharf on Bell Island. In all, 70 men were killed. The sheer temerity of the attack awakened North Americans that they were now on the front line of the Battle of the Atlantic. This summer, teams continue work documenting the WWII shipwrecks to support Stanley’s ultimate mission to have them designated as a national historic site.

The story of the Bell Island shipwrecks and mines is an important chronicle in the history of Canada. Newfoundland may not have been part of a Canadian sovereign nation when the Battle of the Atlantic came to her shores, but these tragic activities ushered in a new bond with Canada that strengthened and built a better sovereign nation.

Jack Ives’ new book Baffin Island: Field Research and High Arctic Adventure, 1961-67 will be published this spring. In the 1960s, scientists from the Geographical Branch of Canada's Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources travelled to Baffin Island to study glacial geomorphology and glaciology. Their fieldwork resulted in vastly increased knowledge of the Far North - from its ice caps and glaciers to its lichens and microfossils. Drawing from the recollections of his Baffin colleagues as well as from his own memories, Ives takes readers on a remarkable adventure, describing the day-to-day experiences of the field teams in the context of both contemporary Arctic research and bureaucratic decision making. Along the way, his narrative illustrates the role played by the Cold War-era Distant Early Warning Line and other northern infrastructure, the crucial importance of his pioneering aerial photography, the unpredictable nature of planes, helicopters, and radios in Arctic regions, and of course, the vast and breathtaking scenery of the North.

Jennifer Kingsley will begin the Canadian phase of her international project, Meet the North, this spring. Meet the North is a circumpolar project that builds cultural understanding through compelling journalism. Kingsley will spend the spring season in Clyde River, at the invitation of the Inuit Cultural Program, Piqqusilirivvik. Between trips out on the sea ice she will study an environment where hunting, sewing, fishing and survival traditions blend with snowmobiles, videography, social media, and other aspects of modern northern culture. Follow the journey at or on Instagram @meetthenorth.

Lorie Karnath, Captain Norm Baker, Burmese Jungle, Chindwin River Expedition.

As chair of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Molecular Frontiers Foundation, Lorie Karnath is co-chairing a symposium on Creativity and the Discovery Process: Insights into the origin of life and other elusive questions, to be held in conjunction with The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences at the Academy in Stockholm, May 20th, 2016. Lorie is also co-authoring a new book on Burmese folk stories and a selection of her photos of Burma will open at the Cultural Museum in Cascais, Portugal next year.

Lorie Karnath also reports that on June 24-25th 2016, The Explorers Museum will be holding their annual explorers summit at Charleville Castle Ireland, TEM Global Expedition Base. The events will include a film festival “Defining Exploration” and lecture series on “The Essence of Water”. A gala event honoring explorer Captain Norman Baker, Celestial Navigator of Thor Heyerdahl's Ra Expeditions will be held. Captain Baker will be awarded The Explorers Museum's Exploration Achievement Award. Ticket information is available via the organizations website and Facebook page.

Charleville Castle Courtyard, location where explorer Charles Howard-Bury tested his equipment prior to leading the first expedition to Everest.

George Kourounis has been busy in vastly different environments. In December, he made a 200 meter descent into the active crater of Benbow Volcano in Vanuatu, his 4th expedition to the country. More recently, he was in the middle of the record-smashing blizzard along the Eastern Seaboard from Washington D.C. to New York City. He and Fellow Mark Robinson were filming this extreme event for The Weather Network and CNN.

Brent Liddle reports his life has been busy since "retiring" from Kluane National Park in 2002 with assignments to help developing countries in parks and protected areas around the world, including Mexico, Tibet, Galapagos and most recently Tanzania. He has worked on interpretive plans for exhibits and displays at Saadani National Park near Dar es Salaam and the proposed World Elephant Centre en route to Serengetti National Park. Meanwhile back at home he feels privileged to live beside a World Heritage Site enjoying excursions into the back country. Please visit me at

His career has been one of firsts, but Joe MacInnis became only the fourth person ever to receive the William Beebe Award for exceptional contributions to underwater exploration from the New York City-based Explorers Club at the club’s annual awards dinner on March 12.

Among the modern trailblazer’s accomplishments: leading the first team to explore the waters beneath the North Pole, leading the team that discovered, explored and filmed the wreck of the Breadalbane (the world’s northernmost known shipwreck), and being among the first to dive on the wreck of the Titanic. MacInnis joins Graham Hawkes (2004), Anatoly Sagalevitch (2008) and fellow Canadian Phil Nuytten (2012) in the ranks of those who have received the award.

Akaash Maharaj was invited to address the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in his capacity as CEO of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC). Drawing on the experience of Afghanistan, he spoke on what seemed at the time to be a distant question: how should NATO conduct a future expeditionary campaign, which might be precipitated by an attack on one of its members? A few weeks later, the terrorist killings of 129 people in Paris gave the NATO deliberations a terrible new urgency. An account of his address to the Assembly was published by the National Post.

Dr. Austin Mardon and Dr. Catherine Mardon gave a presentation entitled “Treating Mental Illness Aggressively: A Patient’s Perspective” on January 27, 2015 at the University of Alberta.

Shawn Marshall, a glaciologist at U. Calgary and his PhD student Samira Samimi will be in Greenland this coming Apr 15-May 15, then again in July, as part of a US-German-Canadian team (they are the Canadian reps) looking at meltwater runoff processes from the Greenland Ice Sheet. They will be up at Dye2, 2100 m, in south-central Greenland, doing some ice core work and measurement of meltwater percolation, refreezing, and storage in the Greenland snow and firn. You can follow their progress on Shawn’s blog.

Dr. Gordon McBean with his wife Patricia at the UBC Awards.

Gordon McBean was awarded the University of British Columbia Alumni Award of Distinction in October 2015. A leader in climate science, Dr. McBean has led global efforts to raise awareness about climate change impacts and played a key role in the development of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in 2007, with his IPCC colleagues and Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He is now President of the International Council for Science.

Gordon McBean has also been been selected as an American Geophysical Union Ambassador Award for 2015. The Ambassador Award is given annually to one or up to five honorees in recognition for “outstanding contributions to the following area(s): societal impact, service to the Earth and space community, scientific leadership, and promotion of talent/career pool.” The award includes AGU Conferred Fellow. More information can be found at

Dr. McBean has also been awarded the Cleveland Abbe Award for Distinguished Service to Atmospheric Sciences of the American Meteorological Society. The citation is: For exceptional service to the meteorological community through leadership of national and international programs aimed at advancing the atmospheric and related sciences and their application.

Paul Miller (DJ Spooky) in India.

Paul Miller (DJ Spooky), National Geographic Emerging Explorer, was in India taking a bunch of ideas about art and data to different logical extremes. He was working on a group of compositions about water, cities, climate change, and the evolving role of the artist and composer in a data-driven society. His composition is called “The Heart of a River” because rivers are networks and they amplify network effects. From the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of Mesopotamia to the Yangtze of China, from the Danube to the Thames, from the Mississippi to the Hudson, from the Amazon to the Yukon, we’ve seen over and over that where we have rivers, civilizations evolve beyond almost anything we can predict.

David Mitchell’s new book Convening: A Guide for Dialogue and Collaboration is being published this spring. The book offers a useful introduction to the art and science of effective convening. Bringing diverse groups of individuals together for dialogue on a specific issue often requires special skills, focused preparation and a spirit of hospitality. In an age of complexity, when partnerships and collaboration are increasingly necessary, convening is now becoming an essential leadership competency.

Fritz Mueller’s production company Sagafish Media Inc. are busy with two film projects. Last summer they shot Into the Light, a documentary that follows eight characters in Yukon’s First Nation arts and cultural community, and they’re working on a new documentary about the lure of the northern lights Aurora Love. They’re in post-production with Into the Light this winter, with a target launch in spring 2016. To receive news about Into the Light, follow the film’s Facebook page for updates and release information.

Brandon Pardy, aboriginal land claims consultant, participated in the celebrations surrounding Nunatsiavut’s 10 years of self-government in December 2015.

David Pelly’s new book Ukkusiksalik, The People’s Story tells the remarkable history of a pocket of remote Arctic wilderness, and the oral testimony of the last Inuit elders to live there. Ukkusiksalik is now a national park in Nunavut, established to preserve a beautiful and historic piece of wilderness. Since the 1980s, David Pelly has been exploring this region both physically — by foot, or by sea-kayak, and with Inuit companions — and by documenting traditional knowledge of the land. In this book, Pelly weaves together the people’s stories with historical accounts to provide the complete history of Ukkusiksalik.

Aaju Peter received an Arctic Inspiration Prize in January 2016. Peter was recognized for her involvement in the team nurturing Inuit performing arts in the Arctic. This annual award recognizes teams who are moving forward with innovative plans that benefit the Arctic and its peoples.

Russell Potter’s book Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-year Search, is being published by McGill-Queen's University Press this year. Finding Franklin recounts the essential details of the Franklin mystery, and the questions raised by early searchers such as Rae, Hall, and Schwatka. A focus throughout is the Inuit testimony, widely credited for helping to find HMS “Erebus” in 2014, but seldom discussed, or understood in detail. The book also showcases the new ways in which old evidence is being freshly examined, from the question of lead poisoning to that of identifying specific human remains.

Doreen (Larsen) Riedel attended the annual Amundsen Memorial Lecture Series in December 2015 at the Fram Museum in Oslo. She was an invited speaker and gave a presentation entitled “Wooden Ships and Iron Men” about the RCMP MV St Roch and the men who were her crew during the two NWP voyages in 1940-42 and 1944. She was honoured to be invited to speak about the most famous Canadian vessel in Arctic exploration, the RCMP MV St Roch. Her father was the late Norwegian born Henry Larsen who was captain of St Roch during the ship’s entire Arctic career from 1928 to 1949. During 1940 and 1942, St Roch, had been the second vessel to transit a Northwest Passage route after Amundsen’s historic voyage 30 years earlier. In 1944 it was the first vessel to complete the Atlantic to Pacific passage through the long searched for more northerly route. The RCGS awarded the Massey Medal to Henry Larsen in 1952.

Scene from the documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo where Abraham (Charles “Saali” Keelan) writes his diary.

France Rivet’s research on Abraham Ulrikab’s story was the subject of three magazine articles: The long journey home in Up Here magazine (Nov-Dec 2015), Abraham Ulrikab: The Filming of the Documentary in Above & Beyond (Nov-Dec 2015), and Inuit in Zoos, an 8-page feature article in the Feb-March 2016 issue of Canada’s History. The world premiere of the documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo attracted more than 250 people at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa during the Northern Lights trade show. The television premiere of the documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo will air on February 11 @ 8 p.m. on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. In summer 2016, France Rivet will accompany travellers who want to follow the footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab through Northern Labrador. She will be a guest speaker on Adventure Canada’s Greenland and Wild Labrador cruise, and will take part in the new 4-day package “Following Abraham” (August 17-20, 2016) presented by the Torngat Mountains Base Camp and Research Station.

La première mondiale du documentaire Piégés dans un zoo humain aura lieu le 25 février 2016 à Gatineau dans le cadre du Salon du livre de l’Outaouais. Il sera diffusé à l’antenne de TV5 le 29 mars 2016.

At 93 years young, Fred Roots accompanied the Students on Ice (SOI) expedition last summer. He is a favorite with the SOI students.

Fred Roots of BC received the Explorers Medal from The Explorers Club on March 12, 2016. He joins the ranks of Sir Edmund Hillary, Roald Amundsen, Robert Peary, Jane Goodall, Neil Armstrong, etc. The Explorers Club highest award, it is awarded for extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity. Fred Roots is also a RCGS Massey Medal recipient.

Wally Schaber recently released his book The Last of the Wild Rivers: The Past, Present, and Future of the Rivière du Moine Watershed. Published by Burnstown Publishing House, it retails for $30. After fifty years of exploring the Du Moine Valley, Wally Schaber took on the task of passing on its story, told to him by the people who related and created some of its history. The history of man’s relationship with the Du Moine watershed and the gateway village of Rapides-des-Joachims is a snapshot of Canada’s history. Today that history is being written by the Quebec government as a proposed future aquatic reserve with strict conservation guidelines surrounded by an existing outdoor playground of Quebec Crown land, half of which is in two ZECs (zones d’exploitation contrôlée) managed by not-for-profit boards to enhance recreational opportunities, especially hunting and fishing. Whitewater canoeists among others seek to preserve what they love about the Du Moine, one of the best and last wild rivers within a days drive of half of Canada’s population.

Mary Simon, Canada’s first ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and recipient of the RCGS Gold Medal in 1998, provided the following update on Inuit education:

There are 2 things that you have to understand about Inuit education in Canada today: The first point is the historical reality of formal education for Inuit: Our roughly 80 year history with formal education can be divided in 2 parts: 50 years of colonialist education policies designed to erase our language and culture, followed by 30 years of re-claiming and rebuilding our education systems — an enormous task that we are in the middle of managing. Our vision is this: to graduate bilingual students with a 21st century education.

Knowledgeable in who they are as Inuit. It is as important for us to speak and be educated in our language as it is for English and French speaking Canadians to be educated in their mother tongue. The second point is both demographic and economic: Unlike the rest of Canada our population is YOUNG! Over 60% of our population is under 25 years old so the bulk of our population is now school age, but right now only 25% are graduating.

Governments are looking at the great untapped economic wealth in the region but we need to educate our way to sharing in this prosperity. So, there is both a demographic and economic imperative to graduate more of our children. Inuit want their education systems to graduate more students and at a standard equivalent to the rest of Canada. We believe that the legacy of residential schools should be about reconciliation, but also about rebuilding our education systems.

That's why we are being proactive about taking our message of rebuilding to Canadians. Here's what we have done.  

1) We have developed a national vision and plan for Inuit education: the recently released National Inuit education Strategy called First Canadians-Canadians First

2) We developed a new model for leading change in Inuit education involving a collaborative partnership between 2 provinces, 2 territories, Inuit organizations, school boards and the Government of Canada.

3) We embraced a new model for funding educational initiatives involving collaborations with NGO's, Inuit organizations, corporations and governments.

I firmly believe from years of working on policy issues, that external forces can really influence the pace of change. We want the National Strategy to be an external force of change for education in the Arctic.

Getting it right in the Arctic has never been as important as it is right now because change is arriving at dizzying speed. Inuit want to participate in the economic growth of our country, and even lead the change, but we can't if our educational system and institutions remain far behind the rest of Canada in terms of resources, success and above all innovation. A hallmark of Inuit participation in Canada's social and economic goals is that we have always worked collaboratively with partners, and this is how we are approaching education. We have identified the gaps in our education systems, and we are seeking out, and working with, partners on closing those gaps. We view Canada's education system as being only as strong as the weakest link, and frankly we are the weak link wanting to get stronger.

It's a matter of nation building.

Anne Smith Mansfield received the 2015 Award of Distinction from the Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education (OAGEE) at the Fall conference in Toronto. The OAGEE Award of Distinction is presented to an Ontario Educator who is passionate about and exemplifies great geographic education within the province of Ontario. Many RCGS Fellows attended the conference and recognized Anne for her contributions to geographic education in Ontario. Only two years ago, the RCGS recognized Anne Smith Mansfield for her significant contributions to geographic literacy in Canada with the 2013 Geographic Literacy Award.

Denis St-Onge was profiled in a two-page spread published in the Winter 2016 issue of ‘Le magazine de l'Université de Saint-Boniface’ formerly le Collège de Saint-Boniface, his Alma mater.

Cedar Swan speaking on behalf of Adventure Canada at the Corporate Nature Inspiration Awards.

Cedar Swan, Adventure Canada CEO, is pleased to report that Adventure Canada won the Canadian Museum of Nature's 2015 Corporate Nature Inspiration Award. This award recognizes organizations that, through their work or specific projects, encourage Canadians to take an interest in natural history, create links with nature, and contribute to its preservation.

Morley Thomas, awarded the RCGS Massey Medal in 1985 for his work in Canada’s climatology, has just published his earlier memoires, MKT The Earlier Years.

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

Canadian Geographic Notes

Can Geo cover wins gold

The cover of the January/February 2015 Canadian Geographic nabbed a coveted gold award in the general interest category at the latest Canadian Cover Awards on March 22. Presented by the Circulation Management Association of Canada and Magazines Canada, the program judges entries based on newsstand sales and design.

APRIL 2016

In the April 2016 issue of Canadian Geographic: celebrating Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary, B.C.’s Khutzeymateen Provincial Park, highlighting the 2015 RCGS-funded expeditions, exploring the railway history of Stratford, Ont., and an exclusive photo essay on the traditions of the spring maple syrup harvest. Plus, parks guru Gil Penalosa on connecting Canadians to nature, an exclusive infographic on the winner of the 2015 3M Environmental Innovation Award, hockey broadcaster Ron MacLean shares his favourite place and much more.


Hit the road this summer with Canadian Geographic Travel’s picks for the nation’s best road trips. Then explore eastern Arctic communities virtually with our exclusive release of new Google Street View imagery and hike the Yukon’s legendary Chilkoot Trail. Plus: summer skiing in Whistler, Canada’s best wines, St. Pierre and Miquelon celebrate 200 years, the country’s best swimming pools and more.

JUNE 2016

An exclusive special issue dedicated to climate change. The June 2016 issue of Canadian Geographic explores how hydro power may also be a key part of powering our fossil-fuel-free future; how government, scientists and northerners are collaborating on the new Canadian High Arctic Research Station to further our knowledge of climate change in the North; how young Canadians are committed to creating innovation and lasting change to address global climate issues; and how scientists are redefining part of the current geological period based on human influence and what that means for the future of our planet. Plus much more.


CanGeo digital declared February 8 to 14 #FoxWeek. We prepared stories, photos and fact cards/infographics celebrating Canada’s fox species and mounted a social media campaign around the hashtag. This was very well-received by our social audience, who responded with their own fox photos and by engaging with our content. We had pickup from other organizations including Ontario Parks, Pacific Wild, Nature Conservancy of Canada and NWT Tourism. Plans are in the works for another wildlife themed week in the near future.

Our social media traffic over the past 14 months from the February report.

Canadian Geographic’s social media feeds continue to grow as demonstrated by the graphs. The top graph shows the total number of visits to that came from social sites; the bottom graph shows those visits broken down by social platform. As you can see, most of our traffic comes from Facebook, with Twitter, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn rounding out the top 5. 

Why does the graph take a downward turn in February? It's important to note that monthly fluctuations are normal. January was almost a record-breaking month for us in terms of traffic, almost entirely because of a Canadian Geographic story about the purest water in the world that went 'viral.' That kind of success is difficult to replicate from month to month. Our traffic for February 2016 was still up 25% from the previous February, which is what we want to see as an indicator of a healthy, growing community of fans.

Meanwhile follow us on:

Canadian Geographic Twitter
RCGS Twitter
Canadian Geographic Facebook
RCGS Facebook

Society Calendar
May 2016
10 10 am CGE Management Board
12 10 am Finance Committee
12 12 pm Executive Committee
June 2016
14 10 am CGE Management Board
21 10 am Finance Committee
21 Noon Executive Committee
23 2 pm RCGS Board Conference Call
Louise Maffett
Editor of the Fellows Journal

Deb Chapman
Communications Manager

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