Welcome to OAGEE

NEW:  Welcome to our KEYNOTE speaker for our 2020 Virtual Fall Conference!

OAGEE is proud to have Joe Grabowski as our Keynote Speaker for our 2020 Virtual Fall Conference. He is the founder of the non-profit Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, which brings science, exploration, adventure, and conservation into classrooms across North America through virtual speakers and field trips.

Welcome to OAGEE/AEGEO’s website! 

Our goal is to create a “one stop shopping” experience where teachers can find resources, links and the latest happenings in Geography and Environmental Education particularly for those teaching in the Province of Ontario.

Please be patient with us as this is a work in progress by council volunteers as we continue to add to and update our new site.


Looking forward to joining us for our Fall 2020 Conference?  It has been decided we will be offering a Virtual Fall Conference!

Save the date!

Saturday October 17, 2020

Please note this year’s conference is FREE to Members!

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Click on the Conference website link here:




Click on the following for more information

Workshop Proposals:

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OAGEE would like to give a big “thumbs up” and congratulations to some of our own members who have been recently acknowledged for the awesome things they are doing for Geography in Ontario.


August’s GIS Ambassador: Claude Brun del Re

(K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team)

Claude Brun del Re is August’s GIS Ambassador of the month! Discover what this retired teacher has done during her professional career and presently to support the use of spatial technologies in K-12 education for French teachers and learners.

This month’s GIS Ambassador is Claude Brun del Re, a retired teacher from Gatineau, Québec who supports French-speaking teachers in their use of GIS in K-12 through resource development, workshop facilitation and translation support. With a lifetime of experience, we will highlight some of the important work she’s done professionally before her retirement in 2016 and more recently as a GIS Ambassador.

Teaching at both secondary and university levels, Claude’s experiences have given her a strong foundation in understanding how GIS is a tool for student engagement, critical thinking and inquiry. Early in her career, she was an instructor in the geography department at the University of Ottawa and Cégep de l’Outaouais. She taught geography, French and geomatics at various schools in Ottawa and Québec where she influenced students to go into the field of geography in post-secondary studies.

While working as an instructor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa during a partial secondment from the Ottawa Carleton School Board, Claude helped to develop the geographic framework for courses that integrated geotechnologies in both English and French for the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Claude’s assisted the Esri Canada K-12 group to translate the Home Page of the French ArcGIS Online for Ontario Schools subscription and create French versions of ArcCanada content (by/par claudetbr). We thank Claude for her continued support.

Looking ahead, Claude plans to continue working with teachers as schools are planning to reopen next month. She hopes to provide virtual training to teachers and share the power of story maps and some of the cool French basemaps that are available in ArcGIS Online.

Claude (pictured in the first row, far right) was among the new Fellows elected to the College of Fellows on November 1, 2018. Image from the RCGS web site.

We appreciate all the work she has done to ensure Canadian teachers and students have access to French resources for geography. If you would like to connect with Claude, email us at k12@esri.ca.

July’s GIS Ambassador: Jonathan Fletcher

(K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team.)

Jonathan Fletcher from Port Colborne, Ontario is July’s GIS Ambassador of the month. Discover how this teacher has been supporting GIS use in K-12 education in and out of the classroom.

July’s GIS Ambassador of the month is Jonathan Fletcher, a geography teacher from Port Colborne High School in Port Colborne, Ontario. He’s been keeping his students engaged in learning using geographic information systems (GIS) for over 10 years. This blog post will highlight the work he’s done in the last year to provide his students with a range of learning opportunities.

Jonathan’s students get to do “hands-on” geography through fun and interactive activities completed in and out of the classroom using ArcGIS. They do not explore Atlases or colour paper maps. They work on professional level mapping projects that support local organizations and the general public. One such project was completed last year that supported an education centre in Niagara.

Mapping the DSBN Adventure Campus

In the spring of 2019, Jonathan and his grade 11 Introduction to Spatial Technologies students were involved in a project to create maps of the DSBN Adventure Campus for use by staff and visitors. This campus is part of the District School Board of Niagara’s (DSBN) Walker Living Campus – a learning centre that provides a unique opportunity for outdoor and environmental education for DSBN students.

The data collected for the maps included the location of assets, such as trails, buildings, bridges, a boardwalk, staircases and trail markers.

The students used ArcGIS Survey123, and the Trimble Catalyst with ArcGIS Collector for data collection to get high accuracy on the locations of the park assets.  Jonathan and his students collected data on the trails and then cleaned up the data using ArcGIS Desktop back in the computer lab at school.

Collecting data at the Adventure Campus. Jonathan (left) with a couple of his students (Anandi and Aidan).
“I enjoyed getting to learn how to use the equipment. Seeing that I could use the data collected with the Trimble Catalyst in my maps was exciting. I realized how the data our class had been using in other projects would have been collected and I had not understood that before:” – Anandi

Jonathan is part of the small group of Canadian teachers who are avid ArcGIS Desktop users as he has the knowledge and a lab to run the software. Most educators in Canada using GIS in their teaching are using ArcGIS Online, as there is no set up required and it’s easier to pick up.

Nickel Beach Clean-up

In the fall/winter of 2019/2020, Jonathan’s grade 12 Environment and Resource Management class were involved in a beach clean-up that included mapping garbage that they found on Nickel Beach in Port Colborne. Using a survey created by Jonathan, the students collected “the location of 113 pieces of garbage they found, including a photo for each item.” This project was documented in a local newspaper.

Through these learning experiences, students discover the importance of GIS in decision making, data analysis and skills attainment, like critical and spatial thinking and they gain knowledge of how GIS is used in the professional world.

GIS Competitions

Some of Jonathan’s students have been participating in the annual Skills Ontario GIS secondary school competition that’s held every spring in Toronto. This event is an opportunity for the students to test their GIS analytical skills by working on a real-world question that they have to answer using ArcGIS in the span of six hours. They are expected to present their findings on a map poster or a story map to the panel of judges.

The DSBN team that included Aidan Hawkins and Hannah Walker won first place with this map at the Skills Ontario 2019 GIS competition.

For the last four years (2016-2019), the DSBN team has won gold. Jonathan prepares them in advance of the event to ensure they are ready for the challenge. One way is by running a competition at his school board before the final one in May. Students get to not only hone their ArcGIS skills, but their presentation and map making skills, as well.

At the 2020 Esri User Conference, a final map poster created by Hannah Walker and Aidan Hawkins from the DSBN Tech Skill Competition was selected for the Virtual Map Gallery.

Giving his students different learning opportunities is important to him. “I want my students to learn geography as authentically as possible.  GIS provides the means to visualizing the theory or concept to help explain what is going on in the world.  I create assignments that are meaningful and incorporate geographical thinking and geospatial technology. Often, they hook many of my students, as my classes challenge them using the concepts and GIS technology.” – Jonathan

Jonathan has influenced former students to go into the field of GIS in their post-secondary studies. Once such student is Aidan Hawkins, a recent graduate and winner of the Skills Ontario competition from 2017-2019. He shared his thoughts about his former teacher with us.

“I was fortunate to be coached by Mr. Fletcher in preparation for the Skills Ontario GIS competition. I won a gold medal in three competitions at the provincial level, enabling me to meet endless contacts and continue to learn. I believe his passion and real-world approach to teaching has led me to my chosen post-secondary path at the University of Guelph to study Geography where I plan to branch out into the field of GIS. Port Colborne High School is so fortunate to have Mr. Fletcher and his amazing dedication and knowledge of geography and spatial technology which he eagerly passes on to his students.”

GIS Ambassador and OAGEE support

Jonathan supports teachers in and out of his school board who want to adopt GIS in their classroom. He has helped some teachers create projects and activities for students using GIS.  He’s led training workshops at the school board’s professional development days.

In his role as the Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education (OAGEE) Vice-President of Geo-technologies, Jonathan gathers and promotes GIS related resources. He does this by supporting initiatives such as resource development and writing lessons and columns for the OAGEE journal The Monograph.  He also facilitates GIS workshops at teacher education conferences.

June’s GIS Ambassador: Paul Hackl


Paul Hackl, a teacher from Riverdale Collegiate in Toronto is this month’s honorary GIS Ambassador. FindJune’s honorary GIS Ambassador of the month is high school teacher Paul Hackl from Riverdale Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario. He was nominated by a former student, Vai Teng Law, who’s now a GIS analyst in the Geoinfrastructure – Community Maps group at Esri Canada.

Vai approached me a few months ago to tell me how excited she was to see one of her favourite high school teachers – Mr. Hackl at the Esri Canada GIS for Education and Research Conference. She told me his geography classes opened a window into GIS and mapping for her and other students at the school.

This blog post will focus on the work Paul is currently doing with his students and the influence he’s had on some of his past students to study GIS in their post-secondary studies. We had the opportunity to catch up with him and chat with some of these Riverdale alumni.

Paul at the Esri Canada office earlier this year.

It was great to hear that Paul has had such an impact on these young peoples’ lives. We have worked with him for many years through OAGEE Conferences, the Toronto Urban Studies Centre (TUSC), and the Toronto District School Board PD day ArcGIS workshops. He’s always been a pleasure to work with and we know firsthand that he’s been a great supporter of GIS use in K-12 education.

It was great to hear that Paul has had such an impact on these young peoples’ lives. We have worked with him for many years through OAGEE Conferences, the Toronto Urban Studies Centre (TUSC), and the Toronto District School Board PD day ArcGIS workshops. He’s always been a pleasure to work with and we know firsthand that he’s been a great supporter of GIS use in K-12 education.

Paul, what have you been doing this school year with your students?

This year, my grade 12 World Issues students used ArcGIS Online for a large exploratory project on the geopolitical roots of conflict in various countries around the world. The learning curve was steep but short and the results were very good.

A grade 12 student in Paul’s class who chose Yemen for their geopolitical roots of conflict project.

I am hoping to do more assignments like this in the future, as the student feedback has generally been positive and they all liked the creative freedom and layout flexibility offered by ArcGIS StoryMaps.

Why do you think you’ve been successful in influencing your students to go down the GIS education route?

I have been using ArcGIS for years, trying to expose as many students as possible to the technology and its possibilities. Every year, I make a point of taking all of my grade 12 students for a tour of Ryerson University and getting them into the undergraduate GIS lab for a half-day of hands-on experience instructed by a professor. At least one or two students sign up for the Geography Program at Ryerson as a result of the field trip and go on to work in a GIS-related career.

What did you think when I first approached you about highlighting you in a blog post?

I was excited and honoured. Thank you Vai. She was such a great student and her classmates were equally impressive. As a group, they really pushed me to become a better teacher by challenging what we did, questioning common wisdom and improving the assignments and activities we did in class.

Paul’s Influence on past students – Riverdale Alumni


Looking for resources for your classes, check out our new Google Drive  under “Members Only”  Resources

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UPDATE: The following Gr. 9 Textbooks are now available online for FREE 


Pearson:  Making Connections textbook  Free E-book

   Nelson: Geography in Action   (username: on912     password:                                NelsonON123)                         Free E-book


Available now!! the latest Monograph! 

Available online!!

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Thanks to all of our #OAGEE19 Conference Sponsors.   Your support is very much appreciated!
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