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Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy

2003 Recipient - Lew French

Geography booster
A retired high school teacher who lobbied in the 1990s to keep geography as a distinct school subject in Ontario has won the 2003 Geographic Literacy Award from the Canadian Geographic Education.

Lewis French dedicated 34 years to geographic education. He co-authored textbooks, helped write geography curricula and now instructs aspiring teachers at the University of Toronto.

French received $2,500 (U.S.) from the National Geographic Society's Grosvenor Canadian Geography Education Fund. Another $2,500 will be donated in his name to the Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education. He hopes the donation will be used for teacher resources and student awards.

Top of the Class
“Lew French is an ideal candidate for this award,“ notes Dr. Stuart Semple, Chair of the Canadian Geographic Education. “His passion for teaching, his love of geography and his strong commitment to the environment has inspired students and teachers for over 30 years. And today, Lew — a lecturer with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education — continues to ensure that geography remains relevant, challenging and exciting for students of the next generation.”

A gifted educator and textbook author, Mr. French is well known for the way he encouraged students to experience geography first-hand through field trips, research projects and the study of local geographic features. He made significant contributions to geographic education as a member of the team that developed the current high school geography curriculum; through his work with the Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education (OAGEE) executive; by conducting teacher workshops and more. Mr. French has also received several awards in the past, including the OAGEE’s Award of Distinction in 2001.

As winner of the 2003 Geographic Literacy Award, Mr. French receives a $5,000 US cash prize from the National Geographic Society and a bronze medal from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. The award is being presented to Mr. French on October 25, 2003 during a luncheon taking place at the Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education’s fall conference.


Adobe PDF download Press Release, October 21, 2003 (Adobe PDF document)

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