Press Release

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and National Geographic Society Join Forces to Launch The Trebek Council

The National Geographic Society and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society announced today a renewed partnership to increase impact through a unified grant-making process for Canadian scientists, explorers, storytellers and educators, working in and outside of Canada.

In building upon decades of collaboration, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the National Geographic Society announced today a renewed partnership to work together toward common goals and increase their impact and influence. The two iconic organizations realize that they cannot empower the next generation of planetary stewards alone. To truly engage individuals and youth in the wonders of the natural world and create tomorrow’s leaders, each needs the support and partnership of like-minded organizations.

The first phase of this strengthened alliance: establishing the The Trebek Council, a grant-making fund that will support the innovative and ambitious work of Canadian scientists, explorers, storytellers and educators who are revealing, examining and celebrating the natural world. An expert panel will be selected to assess each application. The objective: give people engaging stories that inspire a greater appreciation of nature.

Internationally recognized and admired as host of TV quiz show Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek is also highly regarded for championing geographic literacy. Trebek currently serves as Honorary President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and was the face of the National Geographic Bee for 25 years.

“The study of geography helps us gain an appreciation for the natural world around us and how to interact with, and better utilize, our planet and its resources,” says Trebek. “It provides a framework for how we care for the Earth. Most importantly, because it encompasses both the social and natural sciences, the study of geography helps us build a deeper understanding of how we live together, providing us a clearer and necessary sense of direction for the future.”

By expanding on recent partnership efforts that led to the creation and building of Canadian Geographic Education 25 years ago, both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the National Geographical Society aim to dramatically increase the public’s awareness of geography on both sides of the border. Ultimately, the Trebek Council aspires to make lasting positive changes to the health of the planet.

“Canada has a quarter of the world’s wetlands and vast tracks of boreal forest that allow species migration,” says John Geiger, RCGS CEO. “With resources from the Trebek Council, our wilderness areas can be further investigated so these lands can be valued and preserved — not just for Canadians, but for the important roles these landscapes play in global environmental health.”

“The National Geographic Society’s first fieldwork project in Canada occurred more than a century ago, and we have since awarded hundreds of grants to both Canadian citizens and international awardees performing fieldwork in the country,” said Michael L Ulica, president and COO of the National Geographic Society. “We are honored to renew our partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and excited to help explore, protect and tell stories about Canada’s vast wilderness areas. We are also proud to work with RCGS on the Trebek Council, named after the man who was the face of the National Geographic Bee for 25 years and continues to be a familiar, friendly voice for geography to millions.”

About The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

The RCGS is dedicated to imparting a broader knowledge and deeper appreciation of Canada — its people and places, its natural and cultural heritage and its environmental, social and economic challenges. The Society is one of Canada’s largest non‐profit educational organizations comprising more than 23,000 members from across the country. The RCGS is funded primarily by membership fees and donations. The Society’s Board of Governors and its program committees are comprised entirely of volunteers.

The Trebek Council

Named in recognition of Alex Trebek's long standing support of geographic education at both The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (where Trebek serves as Honorary President) and the National Geographic Society, this joint grant-program will empower the next generation of planetary stewards. The Council will be led by Honorary Chair, David Court, a Fellow of the RCGS and an important donor to the NGS. Funding provided by the Council, will support ambitious Canadian explorers, or explorers whose work focuses on important Canadian stories.

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.