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NASA Astronaut, Parks Canada among those to be honoured by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

OTTAWA (Oct. 31, 2011) – On Thursday, November 3rd, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society holds its annual College of Fellows Dinner in Ottawa at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Retired NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger, the keynote speaker, is receiving the Gold Medal for his work in furthering geographical knowledge throughout the world, and for his spirit of adventure. Captain Linenger is famous for his long-term stay on the Russian Space Station Mir in 1997. At the time he held the record of the longest duration in space for an American male at 132 days, four hours and one minute.

The Honourable Peter Kent, P.C., M.P., Minister of the Environment, will accept the Gold Medal jointly being awarded to Parks Canada, Dehcho First Nations and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for expanding and preserving of the Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories.

Nahanni is one of the crown jewels of our national parks system and our recent expansion of the park has been hailed as one of the greatest conservation achievements of our generation,’’ said the Minister, who will be accepting the award. The Nahanni reserve protects more than 30,000 kilometres and is almost the size of Vancouver Island.

Michel Séguin, an independent Canadian Tire dealer in Laval, Que., will accept the 3M Environmental Innovation Award for his work in developing the company’s Go Eco program to reduce automotive waste going into Quebec landfill sites and waterways. Mr. Séguin is chair of Canadian Tire’s Environmental Committee.

This program was initially launched in 10 stores in Quebec City, Thetford Mines and Dolbeau, where more than 6,200 kilograms of empty plastic oil containers were collected and properly disposed of. Séguin set the goal of making the program province wide, which it was in May 2011. Under Go Eco, Canadian Tire customers can return used auto consumables to the store for recycling and environmentally friendly disposal.

Multimedia artist Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society for his commitment to the polar regions. He will perform while being accompanied by a string quartet from the University of Ottawa School of Music. During the performance, images will be projected from his book on Antarctica, The Book of Ice.

In addition, 40 new and two honourary Fellows of the Society will be inducted at the event. Fellows act as the voting body of the Society and have the ability to approve reports distributed at the annual general meeting. They also elect Officers and Governors of the Society. “There is more to geography than just places on a map,’’ said Society President John Geiger. “It is important for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to honour those who are making our planet better for all its inhabitants.’’


6 p.m. EDT               President’s Reception (Open to Media)

6:50 p.m.                  Photo Opportunity (Open to Media)

7 p.m. – 9:45 p.m.* Gold Medal Presentations including remarks from
Captain Jerry Linenger
The Honourable Peter Kent, P.C., M.P.
John Geiger

Musical Performance by Paul Miller a.k.a. D.J. Spooky
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
11 Aviation Parkway
Ottawa, ON
K1K 4R3

Founded in 1929, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society is the largest not-for-profit educational organization in Canada. It has more than 200,000 members and has the mandate of making Canada better known to Canadians and to the world. First awarded in 1972, the Gold Medal is awarded to recognize a singular achievement in the general field of geography. 

On-site interviews with the award recipients will be facilitated.


Gord McIntosh
Media Coordinator

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