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TWN's own gets elected into prestigious Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Wednesday, November 18th 2020, 3:31 pm - Making Canada better known to Canadians and to the world, that is the message from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and now The Weather Network's own storm chaser and meteorologist, Jaclyn Whittal, is set to do just that.

The Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS) was founded in 1929 by geologist and explorer Charles Camsell. A society that made their mission statement to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world. RCGS made Alex Trebek an honourary president up until the most recent sad news of his passing. The RCGS started a journal in 1930, which you know today as Canadian Geographic Magazine.

When I got the news from a very good friend — storm chasing partner and RCGS 'explorer in residence', George Kourounis — that he nominated me to become a fellow of the The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, I was deeply honoured. Each year, the society welcomes in a small number of people from around the world that they believe can play a vital role in spreading awareness about this beautiful country we live in.

jac iceberg Photo courtesy: Mark Robinson

At first I thought, "Little old me? Really George? Do I really know enough about the vast land we live in called the Great White North?" The answer I discovered is "yes". While growing up in Canada's hottest location just south of Windsor, Ont., I would watch severe thunderstorms with my dad in our garage every summer — that's where a lot of my love for weather really began.

Once I hit adulthood, I moved to Muskoka, Ont., for several years, where I'd frequent Algonquin Park for treks, swim in pristine freshwater lakes, and experience some of the most intense snow squalls of my life.

After a decade or so in 2010, I ended moving to Saskatchewan to work as a weather broadcaster. While there, I learned what 'Land of the Living Skies' truly meant. It was in Saskatchewan where I also learned how to become a storm chaser — right under the magic of the Prairie sun.

markand me Photo courtesy: Jaclyn Whittal

Since then, I have covered countless winter storms and blizzards on the East Coast that have buried two-story buildings in snow, Canadian hurricanes (yes, they happen here too), and more thunderstorms and potential tornadoes in Ontario for the last decade than I could count! My travels as a storm chaser have also taken me to the Arctic, where I got to explore the harsh atmosphere and changing climate in Canada's north.

polarquest Photo courtesy: Jaclyn Whittal

Most recently, my husband and I had an itch to discover more about what it is to live in Canada. We wanted a taste of the West. I call the Okanagan Valley in beautiful British Columbia home now, along with my husband, cat and dog. We take road trips and explore mountain ranges almost every weekend.

So yes, I'm up for this honour, this journey to become a fellow of the RCGS. I will continue to tell not only weather stories, but all stories about life in Canada to the many Weather Network viewers and friends here and around the globe. Truly humbled.

mark and jacheli Photo courtesy: Mark Robinson

When I visited the Arctic a few years ago, it truly changed me as a person. It put life in the south into perspective. The people I met there were so special. I learned what survival truly means in more ways than one. There are many challenges that come with living in the north though, a big one is the cost of living. I decided that I wanted to give back one day. That day came this past year when I paired up with a few remarkable women to create TAQQIQ. TAQQIQ means 'month' or 'moon' in Inuktitut and is a charity designed to raise money to help provide period products to women of many ages in Pond Inlet, NU. You can learn more here: www.taqqiqwomen.com.

For more information about the Royal Canadian Geographical Society visit rcgs.org.

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