People & Culture

Introducing the inaugural Trebek Initiative grantees

The new RCGS program supports emerging environmental storytellers
  • Mar 08, 2022
  • 313 words
  • 2 minutes
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Launched in 2021, the Trebek Initiative is a new grant program to help promote and shape emerging Canadian explorers, scientists, educators and photographers into storytellers who will ignite “a passion to preserve” in all Canadians. In its inaugural year, the initiative awarded eight grants totalling nearly $365,000.

Caver Christian Stenner was awarded funding for a project exploring the Mount Meager volcanic complex, Canada’s only active volcano. Stenner and team will survey the extent of the caves in the mountain’s glacial ice and help deploy a NASA rover originally designed to study icy bodies in the solar system.

Environmental activist Kehkashan Basu now has the opportunity to study how best to include environmental education in schools to teach students to become stewards of the environment, while professor Jessica Kolopenuk received support for an Indigenous science and technology research and training program that builds and supports Indigenous-driven and Indigenous-controlled technoscience projects. 

Photographer Pat Kane was funded to create a photo essay exploring food insecurity and its impact on people living in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, while photographer TJ Watt received support for a project documenting B.C.’s old-growth forests — their incredible grandeur and ongoing destruction.

Also on the West Coast, Rhiannon Kirton got a grant for a research project on ungulate populations in B.C.’s Columbia Valley, while back in the North, Shelly Elverum received support for a mentorship program for Inuit youth to help reshape the narrative of Arctic exploration. Finally, photographer and educator Sara Hylton received a grant for a multimedia project exploring the significance of water to four Indigenous communities in three provinces.

The late Alex Trebek had a passion for geographic literacy and supported both the RCGS (where he served as Honorary President until his passing in 2020) and the National Geographic Society. Applications for 2022 grants will open this spring. For more information, visit


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