• Meet Jennifer

Jennifer is a National Geographic Explorer and a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

In 2015, she founded Meet the North, a project that shares personal stories from some of the four million people who live in the global Arctic. By sharing different perspectives from these places, Jennifer’s work transcends stereotypes. She has published and presented extensively on her travels through Iceland, Greenland, Nunavut, Alaska, and Norway. Jennifer was sponsored by the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Alliance and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.

With support from the National Geographic Society, Jennifer traveled to small communities in Russia’s Far East in 2017.

In 2018, she expanded her work to include communities in French Polynesia.

Jennifer holds degrees in both biology and fine arts. She is a winner of the National Outdoor Book Award for Paddlenorth, the story of one of her 50-day canoeing expeditions across the Canadian Arctic. Her radio documentaries have been broadcast internationally and recognized by the New York Festivals, the Gabriel Awards, and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Her writing has appeared in various outlets including National Geographic Magazine, the BBC, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

She lives in Ottawa, Canada.

Jennifer Kingsley in orange jacket

2020 Jennifer chooses Scotland’s Inner Hebrides to begin this year. She spends two months walking, writing, and looking for the best scones in the town of Tobermory.

She visits Paris, a lifelong wish, before the world begins shutting its doors, and she heads home for a long pause.

2019 The Marquesas Islands become a focus for Jennifer. She visits her favourite home away from home in the village of Hapatoni and tries her hand at making films. She also learns about crab hunting on the island of Makatea, returns to Chukotka to eat cloudberry jam, and ends the year in a minefield in the Falkland Islands.

2018 Jennifer returns to Svalbard, Norway to celebrate the third anniversary of Meet the North where it all began in 2015. She also begins a new chapter of her work as a cultural storyteller … this time in French Polynesia.

2017 Jennifer becomes a National Geographic Explorer and travels to Russia’s Far East with photographer Eric Guth. For 50 days, they travel between small communities in Chukotka and Yakutia, learning from hunters, herders, journalists, and entrepreneurs. They try many new foods.

2016 Antarctica is where the year begins. Jennifer bookends 2016 with trips to “The Ice” and also makes extended trips to northern Baffin Island and western Greenland for Meet the North. In Pond Inlet, Nunavut, she enjoys ice cream outside, even when it’s -20C.

2015 Meet the North is born. Jennifer embarks on a round-the-Arctic journey to learn about the north from the people who live there. The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Alliance sponsors her, and her collaboration with photographer Eric Guth begins.

Paddlenorth, Jennifer’s first book, wins the National Outdoor Book Award. Jennifer also becomes a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

2014 Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild is published by Greystone Books. At her book launch, Jennifer serves bannock and gorp.

Jennifer also returns to the Banff Centre to make some radio, and she returns to the National Geographic Explorer, a ship that takes her to Ellesmere Island.

2013 Writing, writing, writing … Jennifer buckles down to complete her first book. She also travels to the West African country of Cameroon and studies audio production at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Her audio documentary, “The Whale’s Choice” is selected as a Top Pick by the Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

2012 An extraordinary encounter with a humpback whale in southeast Alaska becomes the subject of Jennifer’s radio documentary “The Whale’s Choice.”

From a listener: “Just heard the story of the woman who climbed down into the zodiac and touched the whale. It was one of the great moments in radio. Not only the story itself — so moving, remarkable, haunting — but the narrator’s impeccable delivery … I was simply knocked out.”

Jennifer also receives an Emerging Writer’s Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

2011 Jennifer gets her first job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and then gets fired from it. This gives her time to travel, as a freelancer, to the Northwest Territories and make her first radio documentary, New Tribe, for CBC’s The Sunday Edition. She realizes she’ll probably never have an office job again. At least not for a long time.

2010 Jennifer completes her Masters of Fine Arts in Writing at the University of Victoria. Her thesis, “Something Like Wilderness,” becomes the basis for a book. She moves away from the coast and leaves Vancouver Island in British Columbia for the Ottawa Valley in Ontario. A piece of her heart stays behind.

2009 In the middle of her graduate degree, Jennifer takes off for the Spatsizi and Stikine rivers of northern British Columbia with her partner and best friends. It is the highlight of a year dense with marking, reading, and writing.

2008 Jennifer returns to the Arctic to work as a naturalist with Lindblad Expeditions aboard their brand new ship, the National Geographic Explorer. Little does she know, this company will play a major role in her life in the next few years.

She returns from Greenland to begin a master’s program in Victoria, British Columbia. She’s only a few days late.

Before this… There are other milestones, of course. Jennifer paddled the Back River in 2005 and the Hood River in 2002. She worked on sailboats throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and spent an enormous amount of time watching bears. She worked as a naturalist for Parks Canada in the Canadian Rockies and spent countless days on the trails. One summer, she tromped through the bush with her best friend for 40 days straight. She also planted a lot of trees—but not nearly as many as other people. She went to India when she was 20 and Thailand when she was 11 (without her parents). These are the adventures, but they are only part of the story.

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