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2005 James W. Bourque Studentship in Northern Geography - Rebecca Turpin

Photo: Colin Izod
The next generation of northern scientists
When biogeographer Rebecca Turpin (right) took her first trip to the Arctic in 1999, it was love at first sight. “The Arctic is Canada’s secret paradise,” she says. “Spending time in an untouched landscape is a pretty spectacular experience.”

Turpin is one of many scientists whose early career development was supported by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS). In 2005, she received the $5,000 James W. Bourque Studentship in Northern Geography, sponsored by the Society and awarded by the Canadian Northern Studies Trust, for her doctoral study on the influence of climatic changes on caribou populations in Canada’s Low Arctic. This year, she is one of 80 new Fellows to be inducted in honour of the Society’s 80th anniversary.

Turpin works at Parks Canada in Gatineau, Que., developing policy for Canada’s new northern national parks. She has also served as the manager of the Climate Change Programme for the British Council in Canada, leading their Cape Farewell Youth Expedition to the High Arctic (Canadian Geographic July/Aug 2008).

As an RCGS Fellow, Turpin is excited to be given the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of Arctic geography. She is particularly passionate about mobilizing students on climate change. “The best way to protect something,” she says, “is to get people to become passionate about it.”

— Mary Vincent
First published in Canadian Geographic, Inside Story, December 2009

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