Field Trips at the 2022 International Geography Championships

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 2022 IGC will be a chance to visit Montreal, Canada – one of the world’s great cities. The center of French-Canadian culture for the past 500 years, Montreal is less than two hours from Burlington, and makes for a perfect full-day outing.

On the bus en route, we’ll start by showing a video about Montreal’s geography, history, and culture. After crossing the border and passing through customs, which should likely take 30-45 minutes, we’ll then offer the 75-question Montreal Cultural Geography Exam as an official medal event for those who are interested. by a quick lesson on some French (and specifically Canadian French). words and expressions to say during the day. Upon arrival in Montreal, we’ll be met by our tour guides who will take us around Montreal. We’ll visit all of the major sites, including Vieux-Montréal (Old Montreal), the Old Port on the St. Lawrence River, Mont Royal, Notre Dame Basilica, and the McCord Museum.

Winners of the Montreal Cultural Geography Exam will be awarded their medals in a special ceremony with local dignitaries in attendance later in the day. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy some French-Canadian specialties for dinner, and then return to Burlington. On the bus ride home, we’ll offer a range of movies and documentaries about Montreal to watch as well. Upon arriving back, it should be about 10-10:30pm, so there will not be any further activities that day.

Planning Notes

  1. The Canadian border is currently open, but Canada has strict requirements for visitors regarding proof of negative Covid-status, proof of vaccination, recent testing, as well as having a valid passport. We will proactively be in touch with all attendees both before and during IGC to ensure compliance.
  2. If someone is unable to enter Canada, or if the border is closed, IAC will organize an alternate full-day excursion in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
  3. If your country of citizenship does not permit visa-free entry to Canada and/or a return visit to the USA, we will have our immigration attorneys work out a plan for you. This will not cost extra, but will require your cooperation and sufficient time.

Mt. Mansfield is the tallest mountain in the state of Vermont, and is situated some 45 minutes from Burlington, from which you can easily see it on a clear day. If you’re eager to get out and experience Vermont’s most famous mountain up close and have a day you’ll never forget in the Green Mountains, this is your chance!

Two separate options will be available for IGC participants. First, for those who are interested in a true adventure, there will be a chance to climb Mt. Mansfield on a full-day hike from its base to summit and back. This circuit of 8 miles or so round trip will take approximately 8-9 hours, so hikers will have an early breakfast, be hiking by 9, and be back for dinner at the university that evening. On a clear day, the summit provides beautiful views of Lake Champlain, Burlington, and the majority of the state of Vermont, as well as the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Adirondacks of New York, and Southern Quebec.

The second option is a half-day excursion taking a drive on the Toll Road at Stowe Mountain Resort (a ski area in winter) to the top of Mt. Mansfield, and then do an hour or so of simpler hiking along the ridgeline at the summit. Then we’ll drive down and there be a chance to visit the classic New England town of Stowe at the base of Mt. Mansfield (and a quick ice cream) prior to returning to the UVM campus. This option allows students to take part in that day’s morning (or afternoon, depending on the time) activities while still getting a chance to hike and experience Mount Mansfield.

Note that this trip is subject to weather conditions, and may be limited or cancelled due to heavy rain and/or thunderstorms. The chances of this happening are low, but we will keep a close eye on the weather from the start of IGC. If the weather is not conducive to a full-day hike then participants will have a chance to select an alternate program of events for the day (including the Toll Road half-day trip).

The ECHO Leahy Science Center is Burlington’s own science museum which focuses on the ecology and environment of Lake Champlain (on whose shores in Burlington Harbor the museum is found), as well as the city of Burlington and Vermont more broadly speaking. The ECHO Leahy Science Center is less than a 10 minute drive from the UVM campus, and students will have a chance to visit the museum several times during IGC, depending on when their personal schedule allows for it. Depending on interest levels and space availability, there might be special programs or activities centered at the museum as well. For further information on the ECHO Leahy Science Center, please see their website at

On Departure Day, July 10, many participating students will be driving back to points south. Directly en route for families returning to points in the Washington DC – New York City corridor (and just 20 minutes out of the way for anyone heading to Southern New England), is the unique Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes. This unique museum details the extensive history and ecology of Lake Champlain. For sixty years from the outbreak of the French and Indian War to the end of the War of 1812, Lake Champlain was one of the most heavily fought-over spots on earth as four nations (Britain, France, the USA, and the Republic of Vermont) tussled for control. Numerous battles and shipwrecks took place on the lake including the siege of Ft. Ticonderoga, the Battle of Valcour Island, the Battle of Plattsburgh, and the shelling of Burlington, while the US Navy itself was founded at the southern end of the lake in Skenesboro, NY. The museum provides a window into this fascinating history, along with detailing the challenges of maritime archaeology when many shipwrecks are being destroyed by invasive zebra mussels.

After the visit to the museum, there will be an optional lunch gathering at the Red Mill Restaurant, which is next door to the museum. Interested families must make their own lunch reservations; price is not included in the IGC costs. For students and families who are interested in waterskiing, motorboat rentals, 2 hour long lake cruises, golf, or some family vacation time at a 140-year old classic resort, Basin Harbor Club, which is directly adjacent to the museum and restaurant, offers all of this and much more.

20 minutes south of UVM, Shelburne Farms is a unique Northern Vermont institution. A working farm and nature preserve, Shelburne Farms aims to introduce students to the importance of sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, and Vermont’s cultural heritage. Students will learn about Vermont’s leading role in organic farming, the farm-t0-table movement, and agricultural supply chain management, all of which can benefit farmers, consumers, and the environment at the same time. Real world applications of the study of geography will be stressed during our visit. Further details will be available later in Spring 2022.