Kim Wallace: A true geography heroine in Canada

December 11, 2018 Angela Alexander

Meet Kim Wallace, a recipient of the inaugural Louie Kamookak Medal from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Discover how she’s helped to strengthen geography education in her home province of Ontario and in Canada.

Kim Wallace is a passionate educator, author and consultant who’s been committed to increasing the importance of geographic education in Canada. In this blog post, you will discover the contributions of this geography heroine.

For the last 12 years, the Esri Canada K-12 group has had the privilege of working with Kim. We first met with her when she was a Curriculum Coordinator of Social Studies, History and Geography at the Halton District School Board (HDSB) in Burlington, Ontario. She invited us to judge the regional Skills Ontario geographic information system (GIS) competition that she helped to organize. Since 2006, Kim has supported the work we do to help educators integrate GIS in their teaching, as she understands the value of using mapping technology to increase spatial literacy in the classroom.

Kim Wallace, a geography heroine in Canada

Ontario Curriculum

From 2009-2013, on secondment from the HDSB, Kim worked as an Education Officer at the Ontario Ministry of Education (MOE), where she was the project lead for the Canadian and World Studies (CWS) curriculum review. During her time there, “she created a framework, including writing a vision for goals and curriculum policy expectations” that were introduced into the curriculum. In 2014, she worked as a consultant, writing grades 9-12 courses for the Ontario CWS curriculum.

Our group had the opportunity to work with Kim while she was at the MOE, supporting her review of the curriculum and collaborating with her on resource ideas for geography. When the curriculum review was completed, we were thrilled to see GIS included in the curriculum as a tool for inquiry and mapping skills.

Author

Kim has co-authored three textbooks that have been used in geography classes across the province: Canadian Geography:  A Sense of Place, Physical Landscapes of the Earth, and This Earth. She was also a consultant for the book Teaching About Geographical Thinking. Its purpose is to assist teachers across Canada with a framework for critical inquiry and geographic problem solving.

In 2013, Kim participated in the development of the St. John’s Declaration with the purpose of advancing geographic education in Canada. This meeting took place in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, with the intention of setting a goal to make geography education a priority. Other participants included geographic educators from various organizations across Canada.

Picture from Canadian Geographic: The drafters of the St. John’s Declaration, August 2013. Kim Wallace is the fifth person from the right.

Geography Leader in Canada

Kim’s a leader in geographic education and she’s been recognized by geographic organizations in Canada. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS) in 2012 because of her “outstanding contributions to geographic education at the classroom, school board, provincial and national levels.”  She was the Ontario representative for Canadian Geographic Education, the educational committee of the RCGS until recently.

As an active member of The Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education (OAGEE), Kim received the Award of Distinction earlier this year “for her commitment and outstanding contribution in advancing, promoting, and improving the quality of geography education in the province of Ontario." She’s been part of the OAGEE committee for many years, acting as the Halton representative and the Ontario Geography Consultants Association representative. Kim has also facilitated workshops at OAGEE conferences covering topics ranging from CWS revised curriculum updates to fostering a deeper understanding of the concepts of geographic thinking.

Most recently, Kim has been recognized at a national level, as she was a recipient of the RCGS inaugural Louie Kamookak Medal on November 1st for her support of “RCGS’s educational mission to strengthen geographic education in the classroom and to increase public awareness of the importance of geographical literacy.”

Kim accepting her Louie Kamookak Medal at the RCGS’s College of Fellows Annual Dinner in November 2018.

Through the years, Kim has worked in many areas of education. From writing and revising curriculum to supporting professional development for teachers to authoring books.

We thank you, Kim, for your commitment in making geographic education a priority in this country and for being so wonderful to work with! We look forward to continuing our journey together to ensure geography is not forgotten.

We encourage you to share your stories of Kim by leaving a comment below, as we believe she has connected with many educators and professionals in the geography community in Canada.

About the Author

Angela Alexander

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

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