The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) is celebrating Dr. Christopher Burn as one of 16 individuals who truly exemplify the Society’s mandate to “make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world.”

A Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University, Dr. Burn is the 2022 recipient of the prestigious RCGS’s Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership.

“Receiving a medal like this makes me think of all those without whom such an award could not have been made. Of course, the generous people who made the nomination, but also the mentors, some now passed on, who kindly fostered me and still do, the students whose infectious enthusiasm has been an endless source of inspiration, and the people in Mayo (Yukon), other communities, and even highway camps, whose warm welcome, interest, and conversations have been a sustaining force in the work I have been able to continue for 40 years.”

Prof. Christopher Burn, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

The medal was given in recognition of Dr. Burn’s “leadership in long-term permafrost investigations in the Canadian Arctic, as well as mentorship of young scientists and community partnerships with northern communities and organizations.”

Dr. Burn is a passionate champion for Northerners and permafrost research. His inspiring leadership in teaching children and training the next generation of scientists is enhanced by his profound respect for Indigenous Northerners and their traditional knowledge.

“Only others can gauge impact, but it certainly has given me considerable joy to think of the many people I have worked with in the North, the happiness we have shared when bringing projects to fruition, the friendships we have formed, and the encouragement we have given each other to advance our understanding of a wonderful part of the world and the commitment to foster responsible development, guided by those for whom the North is home.”

Prof. Christopher Burn, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Two of his most notable achievements are his exemplary contributions to establishing the Northern Studies Program and the Memorandum of Understanding between the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun and Carleton University to collaborate on multi-disciplinary research projects.

The RCGS Medals recognize outstanding national achievement in the fields of geography, education, science, and exploration.

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