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St. John’s Declaration (Help Improve Geographic Literacy in Canada)

Last month at the Canadian Association of Geographers conference in St.John’s, Newfoundland, a group of concerned geography educators came together to discuss deficiencies in geographic knowledge, work on a strategy and create an action plan to help geographic education in Canada. The group are concerned that people do not understand that geography is not just about maps, but the ability to understand and analyze spatial related issues and approach them from a geographic perspective. Knowing more about geography and the world around us can help us cope better with flooding and natural disasters and use the power of location to help make better decisions. The St. John’s Declaration is a document that resulted from the meeting that will be sent out to all the major educational institutes and professional organizations to seek their endorsements for the cause.

“The Canadian GIS & Geomatics website has been a long standing supporter of Geography & GIS Awareness in Canada, and in support geographic learning, teaching and research that is the foundation of the Canadian geomatics sector,  supports the St. John’s Declaration for Advancing Geographic Education.”

I am sure that over the next few months you will be hearing much more about the  St. John’s Declaration and you may also be asked to endorse and show your support for better Geographic education in Canada.

Below is the exact content from the St. John’s Declaration (download PDF version) about the  St. John’s Declaration.


St. John’s Declaration (Help Improve Geographic Literacy in Canada)

ADVANCING GEOGRAPHIC EDUCATION FOR CANADIANS

St. John’s DeclarationAt 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