Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy
2003 Recipient - Lew French
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
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