Polar Bear Blog

Churchill Wild travel bloggers, photographers, win big at NATJA Awards

A Quintessential Canadian moment. Photo courtesy of thePlanetD.com. Click image for more.
A Quintessential Canadian moment. Photo courtesy of thePlanetD.com. Click image for more.

by George Williams

Four travel bloggers/writers and photographers who were recent guests at Churchill Wild’s Seal River Heritage Lodge and Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge were big winners at the 2015 North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards.

Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil of thePlanetD, who were at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for the Hudson Bay Odyssey last summer, won Gold at the NATJA Awards for best Independent Travel Blog and for Overall Excellent Photography in an online publication for Discover the Beauty of Ontario in Photos. Dave also won two Silver and three Bronze awards for photography in an online publication.

The Canadian couple had earlier won three prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards, sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation (SATWF), two for Best Travel Blog (2014, 2015) and another for Best Photo Illustration of Travel 2014, for 23 Epic Photos of Remarkable Arctic Ice.

“We now understand how the young actresses feel when they win that Oscar fresh out of the gate,” said Dave and Deb on thePlanetD blog. “What now? Where to next? When you beat National Geographic in a category, it’s sort of like beating Meryl Streep in your first starring role. So you can imagine our shock when we woke up one morning and saw our Twitter feed filled with congratulations. We were giddy with excitement!”

Award-winning author and photographer Jad Davenport, who was at Seal River Heritage Lodge for Birds, Bears and Belugas in 2014 and again in 2015 as a Churchill Wild Photo Leader, won Gold at the NATJA Awards in the Special Focus Travel Articles – Print: Luxury Travel category, for his story Reeling In The Years, which appeared in Celebrated Living magazine.

Christine Kassar, who was on the Polar Bear Photo Safari at Seal River Heritage Lodge in 2014, won Gold in the Special Focus Travel Articles – Internet: Eco, Environmental or Special Purpose Travel category for her story Veterans Climb North America’s Tallest Peak to Heal Wounds of War which appeared in National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Christine also won Silver in the Special Focus Travel Articles – Internet: Cultural, Educational, Self-Improvement Travel category.

Dual Photographer of the Year (2013 NATJA, 2014 SATWF) Gary Arndt of Everything-Everywhere.com, who was at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for the Hudson Bay Odyssey in 2012, was awarded the Grand Prize in the Photography category at the NATJA Awards, while also winning Silver in the Travel Broadcast – Podcast category, and four additional Gold awards for photography in an online publication.

Polar bears certainly warmed travel bloggers and photojournalists at Churchill Wild’s Arctic lodges last year. Travel4WildLife‘s Hal Brindley and Cristina Garcia, who were at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for the Hudson Bay Odyssey last summer, won the Silver Award for the Best Responsible Tourism Blog at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 at World Travel Market in London.

“They (Hal Brindley and Cristina Garcia) promote conservation through responsible wildlife travel,” said Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the judging panel, on the Travel4Wildlife Web site. “Each of their articles is intended to communicate to readers how to see wildlife in an ethical manner, without disturbing them or their habitat, and in a way that benefits local communities.”

That seems to be a common thread not only among our guest travel bloggers, writers and photographers, but also among our valued guests.

Congratulations to all the deserving winners!

And thank you.

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