The Qilak Award for Astronomy Communications, Public Education and Outreach

The Qilak award was developed jointly by the Beyond International Year of Astronomy group (a collaboration of CASCA, the FAAQ and the RASC). Established in 2011, these Awards are given, one by each of the sponsoring organizations, with a common purpose and evaluation criteria. The Qilak Award recognizes individual Canadian residents, or teams of residents, who have made an outstanding contribution either to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy in Canada, or to informal astronomy education in Canada. Beginning in 2018, CASCA will separate award cycles to recognize outreach efforts accumulated over a career in odd years and recent and impactful outreach activities in even years. Nominations should carefully outline why a given nominee or group of nominees falls with a specific category. In recognition of the nuances associated with group nominations, the Award can only be received by a specific group once every 8 years. Individual nominees may only win the Award once, and individual Award winners may not be nominated as part of a group award. The Award is open to all CASCA members.

One goal the award is to promote such activities among the members of the sponsoring organizations. The recipient of the CASCA Qilak award will write an invited article for the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (JRASC), and will be offered the opportunity to address the membership at the Annual General Meeting of the Society.

The nomination package must consist of a joint letter of nomination by at least two members in good standing of CASCA. No letter should exceed three pages in length. A letter of nomination should highlight how the nominee, or team of nominees, have distinguished themselves in astronomy outreach or communication, and/or cite exceptional achievements. Additional material such as examples of a nominees work is allowed.

For the 2021 award, letters of nomination and any supporting materials (see nomination guidelines) must be received by the chair of the Awards Committee and the CASCA Business Office, by Dec 31 2020.

2020 Qilak Award


CASCA is pleased to announce Ms. Julie Bolduc-Duval as the recipient of the 2020 Qilak Award.

Ms. Bolduc-Duval serves as the Executive Director of Discover the Universe, a Canadian astronomy training program. For over a decade, Ms. Bolduc-Duval has developed Discover the Universe into an oustandingly effective program for training educators in astronomy. The program has reached thousands of educators from elementary school through university via both in-person workshops and online seminars. Importantly, training is offered in both French and English, thus reaching a bilingual community worldwide (including, for example, participants from Europe and Africa). With trained educators now able to effectively disseminate astronomy material, Discover the Universe’s impact has a multiplicative effect on the community, thanks to the outstanding work of Ms. Bolduc-Duval.

CASCA is delighted to recognize Ms. Bolduc-Duval’s efforts with this award.

Recipients to date have been:
2019 CamiJan Cami Western University Imagination’s gift. Full Citation.
2018 ThackerRob Thacker St Mary’s University Imagination’s gift. Full Citation.
2017 ChastenayPierre Chastenay Université du Québec à Montréal Teaching & learning astronomy in Elementary Schools Full Citation.
2016 MatthewsJaymie Matthews University of British Columbia When galaxies, puppets and Ashton Kutcher collide. Full Citation.
2015 DelaneyPaul Delaney York University Outreach from the York Observatory: 40 Years and Counting! Full Citation.
2014 Trottier_Howard (11)finsmHoward Trottier Simon Fraser University The IYA and Beyond at Simon Fraser University. Full Citation.
2013 James Hesser National Research Council of Canada Provocative Reflections on Communicating Astronomy in 2013 Canada. Full Citation.
2012 John R. Percy University of Toronto “A Half-Century of Astronomy Outreach: Reflections, and Lessons Learned”

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