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He has our vote

What do geographers and politicians have in common? A lot, says Robert Twerdoclib, an Alberta teacher and town councillor and the winner of the Canadian Council for Geographic Education’s 2007 Geographic Literacy Award.

“A sense of place is so important,” says Twerdoclib. “As a councillor, you’re looking at human interactions and opportunities in the places that we live. It’s truly geography in action.”

For more than 20 years, “Mr. Geography,” as he’s affectionately called by his peers, has worked tirelessly to advance geographical studies in the Alberta curriculum, which does not offer a dedicated course in the subject.

Twerdoclib, who teaches grade-nine social studies in Spruce Grove, says his most rewarding experiences have come from his students.

“Sometimes we take trips to the Rocky Mountains, and for some of them, it’s their first visit,” he says. “They stand in awe of the things I’ve tried to describe in the classroom.”

— Geoff Dembicki

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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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