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2019

November 18, 2019

Andrew Young is a self-proclaimed “geovangelist.” Early in his career, Young volunteered for two summers at St. Theresa’s Secondary Technical School in Gambia with the Nova Scotia Gambia Association, a program funded by the Government of Canada. This experience changed his life and taught him about different ways of living, knowing, and learning. Today, Young teaches geography at Georges P. Vanier Secondary in Courtenay, B.C., where he works to connect classroom concepts to real-world issues. For his significant contributions to geographic literacy, Andrew Young has won the 2019 Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy.

November 18, 2019

The road to reconciliation with Indigenous People of Canada is not easy, but with educators like Mary Ellen Gucciardi, creativity may go a long way to developing understanding and mutual respect. Gucciardi’s dynamic approach to teaching has earned her one of Canada’s highest awards in her profession: The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s (RCGS) Innovation in Geography Teaching Award.

November 13, 2019

Many students are unaware that common, everyday activities place a demand on the natural world: from buying and consuming food, to throwing out plastic waste in the trash, to purchasing fast fashion clothing containing hidden plastics, and more. As concerns mount
about the impacts of a growing human population, coupled with the increasing amount of land set aside for dumping sites, students need to learn now more than ever how their lifestyle choices have the ability to change the world they live in. To support this environmental learning, The Anthropocene Project (TAP), and Canadian Geographic Education (Can Geo Education), have partnered to create a travelling, classroom-focused educational initiative called the Anthropocene Education Program (AEP). The Program will explore the complex issues of plastic consumption, waste and pollution, land use management, species extinction and climate change.

November 6, 2019

In a school gymnasium filled to capacity with elementary students, Phyllis Webstad, an Indigenous residential school survivor, recounted her first day at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. It was not a happy story. Her experience of how her brand new shiny orange shirt and the rest of her clothes were stripped from her, impacted her life. The first day of school is a big deal for all children. The students at Ottawa’s Chapman Mills Elementary School appeared to have a lot of empathy for the Secwepemc elder.

October 16, 2019

Indigenous languages are the original languages of this land. They are fundamental to Indigenous identity, worldview, culture and nationhood. Yet no Indigenous language in Canada is safe. A UNESCO report states that three-quarters of the nation’s Indigenous languages are “definitely,” “severely” or “critically” endangered. But there is hope.

September 30, 2019

While residential schools were operated in Canada as early as the first half of the 17th century, the Gradual Civilization Act passed in 1857 and legislated the assimilation of Indigenous People to “no longer be deemed an Indian, but a regular British subject”, using an oppressive education system. By 1920, legislation was passed to make residential school attendance compulsory for Indigenous children between the ages of 7 and 15. Children were forcibly taken from their families by priests, government Indian agents and police officers. Many Indigenous students suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse while attending these schools. The impact of this assimilative system on survivors resulted in the loss of their languages, cultures, identities, self-esteem, and in some cases their very lives, while directly attacking systems of knowledge, child rearing and health. Residential schools continue to have significant negative impacts, both direct and indirect, on generations of Indigenous People.

August 21, 2019

When he moved from Toronto to Halifax for love, Patrick Klein-Horsman already thought he was pretty lucky. Winning the grand prize for The Great Trail Treasure Hunt was luckier than he ever could have imagined.

July 29, 2019

Brian May has received international acclaim as the lead guitarist and song writer for Queen, but he is increasingly for his work popularizing space science.

The rock legend, astrophysicist and author was presented with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Lawrence J. Burpee Medal by Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell (an RCGS Fellow), RCGS CEO John Geiger, and RCGS Vice-president Wendy Cecil, in a ceremony prior to Queen’s July 28th, 2019 performance at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The Burpee Medal recognizes an individual’s contribution to the general advancement of geography. Past recipients include President Jimmy Carter, author Simon Winchester, and the Parks Canada dive team that led the discovery of HMS Erebus.

July 23, 2019

The International Geography Olympiad is the largest and most prestigious annual geography competition in the world for students between the ages of 16 19 years old. Similar to Canada’s Canadian Geographic Challenge, the Olympiad attracts youth from dozens countries and tests their knowledge of geography and environmental studies, as well as cultivates their geographic skills in fieldwork and cartography. What sets the Olympiad apart is its emphasis on creating connections and fostering understanding between nations.

June 27, 2019

It's clear that Canada has a plastic pollution problem. While plastic has become an everyday convenience in so many ways, we are only now beginning to understand its lasting impacts on our environment and health. That's why Canadian Geographic and Recycling Council of Ontario have partnered to launch Canada's commitment to rethink plastics through 10,000 Changes, an innovative plastic engagement program funded by the Government of Canada.

June 19, 2019

Imagine 200 treasure boxes hidden along an epic trail that spans 24,000 kilometres of Canada’s land and waterways, just waiting to be found. Sound too good to be true? Starting today, The Great Trail Treasure Hunt, presented by Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and Canadian Geographic, is back for round two, with more treasure boxes to find and prizes galore to be won!

June 18, 2019

Increasingly, Canadians are learning that our oceans are unable to provide consumers with the seafood they desire on-demand. Many consumers want to learn how they can support marine conservation while still making responsibly-sourced seafood choices. Ned Bell makes these kinds of choices on a daily basis as the culinary director of The Vancouver Club, and he's keen to share what he's learned after living a lifetime by the Pacific Ocean.

June 13, 2019

This fall, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) will bring a unique bilingual education program to teachers across Canada in partnership with The Anthropocene Project from award-winning artists Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal. The education program, to be released in conjunction with Geography Awareness Week in November 2019, will be focused on exploring the extent of human dependency on plastics within Canada.

May 27, 2019

After two days of intense, nail-biting geography testing, David Landry, Grade 10, of Ottawa, Ont., was crowned the Canadian Geographic Challenge national champion. “This has been a fantastic opportunity and took a lot of hard work to reach the finish line,” said Landry after winning and added, “I’m really glad I won because the competition was strong.” Landry accepted his prize with runner-up Ryan Sharpe, Grade 10, of Oakville, Ont., and third place finalist Micah Colman, Grade 9, of Ottawa, Ont., from Jill Heinerth, the world’s foremost female cave diver and The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s (RCGS) inaugural Explorer-in-Residence.

May 14, 2019

Cathy Dykstra, a teacher at Kortright Hills Public School in Guelph, Ont., has been awarded the prestigious 2019 Energy Educator of the Year prize for her ongoing commitment to environmental education. For this 27-year teaching veteran, winning the 2019 Energy Educator of the Year prize is a big deal. “Being recognized for doing something I love to do means the world to me!” says Cathy Dykstra. “Helping my students to thrive as capable and compassionate environmental citizens feels important and gives me hope for our future.”

May 14, 2019

Going an hour without power, calculating your carbon footprint, and teaching your family how to use less water. These are just a few of the 16 energy-related challenges that more than 27,000 students from across Canada took part in during the 8th annual Classroom Energy Diet Challenge. This award-winning program, presented by Canadian Geographic Education and Shell Canada, was created to inspire grades K to 12 students across Canada to better conserve energy. This year, nearly 1,400 classrooms from across Canada participated in the Challenge, one of the highest response rates since the program started in 2011.

May 13, 2019

Today, leaders from Canada’s geography community gathered to officially open the new headquarters of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) at 50 Sussex Drive. Located on the Capital’s ceremonial and discovery route, next to the Rideau Falls overlooking the confluence of three great rivers that were navigated by First Nations and charted by European explorers, the rich geographic setting of 50 Sussex is the perfect location for Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration.

May 10, 2019

The media is invited to the official opening of Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration, the new headquarters of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, at 50 Sussex Drive.

April 10, 2019

One Ocean Expeditions presents Explore; a weekly podcast series featuring interviews with Canada’s modern-day explorers. These exceptional Canadians recount what inspires them to take risks to explore Earth and beyond.

January 23, 2019

Imagine your child coming home from school and turning off all the lights that aren’t in use with gusto. That same child is also on your case for not using reusable bags when grocery shopping. And be careful not to leave the tap running or you might just get a lecture! For Nancy Gillis, an award‐winning Toronto teacher with a passion for environmental literacy, this student sounds like a graduate of the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge. Now in its eight year, this national energy literacy program presented by Canadian Geographic Education and Shell Canada provides K to 12 students across Canada with a fun and engaging competition to help reduce their carbon footprint and become stewards of the environment.

January 22, 2019

Hundreds of local Ottawa students sat quietly in the Canada Science and Technology Museum until the moment when Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques graced the big screen with a smile and excited chatter broke out across the auditorium. This special live stream helped launch Exploring Earth, a web-based educational program designed to give students and the public a new perspective of Earth. Floating against the backdrop of the International Space Station, Saint-Jacques shared with students his experiences from his first month up in space and answered a series of questions about Earth observation from space.

January 18, 2019

The Government of Alberta has taken another step toward honouring its commitment to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by providing all Alberta students with educational resources that reflect the perspectives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit. The province has purchased 1,600 copies of Canadian Geographic’s Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, an excellent teaching resource that will provide both teachers and students with the opportunity to learn about the history and cultures of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. 

January 16, 2019

Canada’s Jill Heinerth is one of the world’s top marine explorers and holds the record for going farther into deep underwater caves than any woman in history. Heinerth, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Explorer-in-Residence, will be visiting St. Martin School and a number of schools in the area to share what it takes to become a modern-day explorer. Heinerth’s curiosity, technical prowess, and fearlessness have taken her inside Antarctic icebergs, and led her to venture into underwater caves and shipwrecks the world over.

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