Every year our medals and awards recognise geographers who have made a significant contribution to the discipline and the geographical community.
The Geographical Award is awarded to a company or individual who has provided support for learning through scientific expeditions, or for an expedition itself that has had a significant impact in inspiring and increasing understanding of geographical issues among schools and the wider public.
We caught up with two of our previous Geographical Award recipients, Dwayne Fields and Mark Evans MBE, to discuss what the award meant to them.
What did receiving the Geographical Award mean to you?
Dwayne Fields (DF): Simply being nominated for the Geographical Award was a great confidence booster for me, it gave me a sense of being respected for the work that I'd done in regard to shining a light on the outdoors and the wealth of career options within it. To go on to be selected as the recipient of this award was something completely unexpected and at the time almost overwhelming and has left me with a greater appetite to continue with my efforts to get more people enjoying the outdoors more of the time.
Mark Evans (ME): A great deal; as for many RGS-IBG members and friends, the Society has been my spiritual home for several decades, so to be formally recognised by a society that sets such high standards in all that it does was humbling.
Did the award have an impact on your career or open up any opportunities to you?
DF: Receiving this award meant who I am, what my goals are and what I stand for were all instantly seen by many more people both on the night of the ceremony and in the time since. As a result, I still have educators, leaders and organisations reaching out to me.
ME: Receiving the award (that has pride of place on my study wall here in Muscat) inspires and motivates me not to ease up, and to search harder for the opportunities to do more to encourage and shape the thinking of others about what matters.
What would you say to our Fellowship to encourage them to nominate a special geographer for the 2021 Geographical Award?
DF: I think I'd ask anyone who's read the criteria for the Geographical Award to nominate the person that comes to mind. Receiving this award is a great honour and a thing of pride and if you think this person fits the criteria you must have been impacted/inspired by them. As such, I can't think of a better way for you to support their efforts than by associating their name and work to an award such as this.
ME: I’m yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy a pat on the back; there are many people out there doing great work at a grassroots level in all geographical fields. Nominating someone can not only be a catalyst to inspire an individual to go on to do more, but it also provides the platform to have their work shared with a wider audience, which in turn may inspire others.
Dwayne Fields received the Geographical Award in 2018 for inspiring young people to explore the world. He is a presenter, naturalist, adventurer, explorer and OS Get Outside Champion. Mark Evans is Executive Director of Outward Bound Oman, the first Outward Bound school to be established in an Arabic speaking country. He received the Geographical Award in 2019 for encouraging young people to explore the Middle East.
Any Fellow or member can make a nomination and the deadline is 5.00pm on Monday 8 February 2021. So what are you waiting for? Let us know who you think has made a difference in the geographical community and make a nomination.