When you touch youth in the heart,
that is when commitment and change begins.
Geoff’s vision for the SOI Foundation began in the 90s during an Antarctic expedition he led for adult participants. This was a turning point for him as he realized what an important impact this experience could have on youth in their formative years to shape their perspectives, and to motivate and inspire them as globally minded leaders and polar ambassadors.
As a former schoolteacher, this was the moment when Geoff’s educational background and his passion for the Polar Regions collided. Thanks to the incredible support and mentorship he received, Students on Ice became a reality and in January 2000, Geoff organized and led the world’s first student expedition to Antarctica.
Today, Geoff ‘s experience as an Expedition Leader and Polar Educator spans three decades and more than 130 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as numerous journeys to other fascinating and remote corners of the planet.
Geoff ‘s experience as an Expedition Leader and Polar Educator spans three decades and more than 130 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as numerous journeys to other fascinating and remote corners of the planet.
Geoff has received numerous awards and recognitions over the course of his career. Most notably, he was appointed to the prestigious Order of Canada in 2012, the country’s highest civilian honour. This was in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service to his community and to his field “for his contributions as an environmental educator and explorer, notably his commitment to conservation issues in the Arctic and Antarctic.” The Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes outstanding achievement and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large. Most recently, Geoff was awarded the l’Ordre national du Québec in 2019 and the Stefansson Medal in 2020, The highest honour given out by The Explorers Club Canadian Chapter.
He was selected as one of the Top 25 Transformational Canadians by The Globe and Mail, CTV and La Presse. Outpost Magazine chose Geoff as one of the “Top 5 Canadian Explorers” to watch. The Globe and Mail called Geoff “the man who revolutionized polar and environmental education”.
Other awards and recognitions include:
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal;
- Honorary Doctorate of Education from Nipissing University;
- Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. Congress;
- Canada’s “Top 40 under 40”;
- The Citation of Merit for outstanding feats of exploration and service by the prestigious Explorers Club in New York City;
- Bestowed the Inuktitut name “Pitsiulak” by the Commissioner of Nunavut;
- Recipient of the Michael J. Smith award for Science Promotion;
- Chosen as one of the Top 25 Transformational Canadians by CTV, Globe & Mail, and La Presse;
- Fellow, The Explorers Club;
- Fellow, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
In addition to Geoff’s work with Students on Ice, Geoff is involved in a variety of advisory roles:
- Chair, Board of Directors, Ottawa Riverkeeper
- Goose Person Ambassador, Canada Goose
- Advisory Board Member, Ocean Elders
- Advisory Board Member, Oceans 2050
- National Council Member, Canadian Canoe Museum
Advisory Board Member, Global Environment Media