The McNeil Medal is awarded to a candidate who has demonstrated outstanding ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public within Canada. Previous winners include David Suzuki, Jay Ingram, and Bob McDonald.
“The award is a great honour,” said Welch who enjoys introducing the sky to everyone he meets. “There are so many people who have mentored me and shared my journey that I realize this is an award for them, too.”
Welch’s love of astronomy began in the mid-1960s, and he has been a professional astronomer for more than two decades. In that time, he has revived and directed the largest planetarium program in southern Ontario, which educates both the public and trains generations of new scientific explorers. He is the author of the successful children’s book Amazing Facts about Australia’s Southern Skies, now in its sixth printing, and is co-host of the popular Slacker Astronomy  podcast.
A popular speaker at many RASC Centres, Dr. Welch is well-known in the amateur community as the co-creator of the Sky Quality Meter  which allows astronomers to make accurate measurements of sky brightness.
Welch will receive the Medal at an Induction and Awards Ceremony Nov. 27 at the National Gallery in Ottawa.