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Inaugural Ondaatje Medal awarded to Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth, the World’s Leading Female Cave Diver to receive inaugural RCGS’s Ondaatje Medal for Exploration

What: The Royal Canadian Geographic Society Awards Ceremony
When: Wednesday, November 13th, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Canadian Museum of Civilization, Southern Salon (lower level), Gatineau, Quebec
Who: Jill Heinerth, considered to be the foremost female cave diver on the planet

More people have walked on the moon, than have been to some of the places that Jill Heinerth’s exploration has taken her right here on earth. From diving through Antarctic iceberg caves to deep tunnels within the Floridan Aquifer, Heinerth is a pioneering underwater explorer and filmmaker whose life has been devoted to exploring dangerous underwater passageways to learn more about our watery planet. Heinerth holds the record going farther into deep caves than any woman in history. To allow her to extend her exploration into the world’s icy depths, she has become an international expert on rebreather technology. Heinerth is considered to be one of the world’s leading technical divers and has directors like James Cameron calling on her to collaborate on difficult underwater scenes. Her award-winning filmmaking has documented her underwater adventures so the rest of us can see, learn and hopefully protect the sensitive ecosystems she explores. It is for her work to chart our planet’s unknown underwater places that Jill Heinerth will be awarded the first Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration.

Jill Heinerth was born, raised and started her career in Toronto.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is Canada’s centre for exploration, and operates an expeditions program. Founded in 1929, the Society is dedicated to promoting geographic literacy through its education program, Canadian Geographic Education, and to making Canada better known to Canadians and the world through its publications, awards, lectures and research and expedition grants. Please visit for more information on our awards and programs.

For more information, please contact:
Deborah Chapman
Communications Manager
Royal Canadian Geographical Society
O (613) 613-745-4629 ext. 160
C (613) 299-8995

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