Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy
2006 Recipient - Paul VanZant
The footloose geographer
Paul VanZant recalls a moment last Christmas when he "really
got a sense of [his] place in the world." Chaperoning
students in Antarctica and sitting atop an icy hill overlooking
a bay jammed with glaciers, he heard nothing but the wind.
The moment truly emphasized for him his lifelong passion
for all things geographic.
(Photo: Students on Ice)
The head of geography and history at Mayfield Secondary
School in Caledon, Ont., northwest of Toronto, VanZant
has also organized class trips to Italy and Costa Rica.
Paraphrasing American geographer Carl O. Sauer, he says, "It's
wonderful to see children experiencing geography through
the soles of their feet."
Outside the classroom, his involvement in the Ontario
Association for Geographic and Environmental Education
has helped shape the provincial curriculum. He also
recently co-authored a textbook that promotes hands-on
learning. It is for these reasons, among others, that
VanZant is receiving the Canadian Council for Geographic
Geographic Literacy Award.
|CCGE Ontario Representative Wayne Andrew (left) presented Paul VanZant (right) with the 2006 Geographic Literacy Award.|
During almost two decades of teaching, he has helped
his students understand and appreciate the world around
them and the place they have in it. "Canada is
such a remarkably diverse country," he says, "and
a lot of us don't get to see it."
— Maria-Lucia Castillo