2010 Recipient - Canadian International Polar Year National Committee
|IPY Committee members at the RCGS Dinner, November 2010 (Photo: Frank Scheme)|
The group that fostered Canada’s leadership role in International Polar Year will be honoured this fall with a Gold Medal from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, for their significant achievements in geography.
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Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea poses with Ian Church and David Hik, who accepted the 2010 Gold Medal on behalf of the Canadian International Polar Year National Committee. (Photo: David Barbour)
The fourth International Polar Year (IPY), in 2007- 2008, was the largest-ever scientific program focused on the Arctic and Antarctic. Canada’s participation was extensive: it involved 1,750 researchers, 900 northerners and more than 1,000 students working on 52 research projects throughout the North. This massive research effort, which brought together the nation’s scientific community, was coordinated by the Canadian International Polar Year National Committee, a body of scientists, academics and government representatives chaired by Ian Church, a retired senior science advisor with the Yukon government. The committee was supported by the Canadian IPY Secretariat, led by David Hik of the University of Alberta. Canada was an international leader in IPY, advocating research on the human dimension of polar regions, says Church. One of our major contributions was the integration of traditional knowledge with western science. “Traditional knowledge wasn’t part of the scientific culture,” says Church, “but by the end of IPY a lot of scientists from a lot of countries were saying, ‘Wow, we’ve learned a lot!’”
— Amy Smart and Monique Roy-Sole