• Janet Ruest is the 2015 recipient of the 2015 Innovation in Geography Teaching Award. (Photo: Aura Banda/National Geographic Naturalist)

“I want them to never look at the world the same way” says Janet Ruest, a teacher at Vancouver Island’s Chemainus Secondary School. Ruest’s dynamic teaching approach recently earned her The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s (RCGS) 2015 Innovation in Geography Teaching Award, Canada’s highest geography K-12 teaching award.

“I strive for students to truly see, hear, smell and feel the world around them. I want them to understand the interconnected and interdependent relationships between humans and the environment.”

The Innovation in Geography Teaching Award is consists of a medal and $2,500 prize, split evenly between the award winner and a donation in their name to support geographic education in Canada.

“Janet teaches geography in a way that harnesses teen energy and curiosity to better appreciate the world we share,” says Connie Wyatt Anderson, Chair of Canadian Geographic Education. “She deserves the recognition this award can bring.”

Ruest’s students have gone on to become urban planners, hydrographers, and engineers. Former pupil Jane Kaiser, now working as a GIS consultant, says: “Janet was one of those few teachers that you remember for the rest of your life. I feel she has always made an effort to go the extra mile by innovating and finding new ways for her students to connect with the geographic field of study.”

The Honourable Nellie Taptaqut Kusugak, Commissioner of Nunavut, will present Ruest with her medal at the Canadian Museum of History on November 18.