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St. John’s Declaration

August 10, 2013

ADVANCING GEOGRAPHIC EDUCATION FOR CANADIANS

At a special meeting organized by the Canadian Association of Geographers and The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a community of geographic educators came together to create an agreement and action plan for geographic education for Canadians.

Our goal is to advance geographic education in Canada.

We affirm that spatially literate citizens are essential to the future of Canada, and in particular

  • the development of a coherent and relevant geographic education is essential to understand and address the issues faced by a rapidly changing world;
  • geographic education is built upon the fundamental elements of location, interaction, community, people, place, space and environment;
  • there is an urgent need to improve, update and advance geographic education in the context of economic, social and environmental issues facing Canadians and Canada in a global arena;
  • studying the world, its people, communities and cultures with an emphasis on relations of and across space and place are crucial;
  • spatial thinking increasingly informs scholarship in the natural sciences, social sciences, health sciences and humanities; it is also closely associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics;
  • Canada will remain a leader in science and technological innovation with the development of geography in areas related to geospatial technologies and Earth observation.

We have therefore agreed that we will

  • inspire Canadians to value geography and spatial thinking;
  • promote geography as a discipline that integrates the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities;
  • provide leadership in geographic education across Canada;
  • enhance support for geographic educators; and
  • support geographic education research.

James Boxall, Canadian Geomatics Round Table
Norm Catto, Memorial University
Laura Power Crawley, Memorial University
Rodolphe Devillers, Canadian Institute of Geomatics
Karl Donert, European Association of Geographers
Dan Duda, Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives
Darryl Fillier, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Lew French, Ontario Association of Geographic and Environmental Education
Al Friesen, RCGS Literacy Award recipient
Brent Hall, Esri Canada
Amanda Hooykaas, Canadian Association of Geographers
Niem Tu Huynh, Association of American Geographers
Peggy March, Canadian Geographic Education
Lynn Moorman, Canadian Geographic Education
Stuart Semple, Mount Allison University
Bob Sharpe, Canadian Association of Geographers
Mary Jane Starr, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Kim Wallace, Educational Consultant

 

Read more about the declaration in the December 2013 and October 2013 issues of Canadian Geographic.

Download:
Adobe PDF download Download a copy of the declaration (Adobe Acrobat document)

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Did you know that a 2005 National Survey determined that one-third of adult Canadians can be considered “geographically illiterate”?

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“Geography is the lens for the soul of the earth. With the knowledge of geography, one can examine the earth’s past, assess the present and predict future situations. You can literally be ‘lost’ without geography!”



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