WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2006)–Exploring the natural and manmade wonders of Africa is the focus of Geography Awareness Week 2006, Nov. 12-18. A rich menu of online resources at www.mywonderfulworld.org/gaw.html offers a practical and in-depth understanding of Africa. Geography Awareness Week, part of the National Geographic-led public awareness campaign My Wonderful World, is an annual conservation and awareness program for students in grades K through 12, designed to educate and excite people about the world’s natural, cultural and historic treasures.
“Through compelling stories, a wealth of informative resources and fun activities on Africa, our lively Web site will help students learn about this extraordinarily diverse continent,” said Barbara Chow, National Geographic’s vice president for Education Programs. “It gives students tools to understand African culture and history, the continent’s importance to their lives, and the larger issues of the relationship among people, places and environments.”
The Web site includes a Web-cam monitoring an animal watering hole in Botswana, firsthand accounts of major expeditions, interactive maps, downloadable photographs and a host of National Geographic magazine stories. Teaching materials tailored to national standards are also available online. Suggested community activities during Geography Awareness Week include creating a “Celebrate Africa” event in which youngsters can experience the foods, languages, music and clothing — the cultural diversity — of the continent.
My Wonderful World has teamed with Google Earth technologies to feature Geography Awareness Week and the importance of knowing about our planet’s people, places and natural wonders. From Sunday, Nov. 12, a My Wonderful World geography quiz (“Test Your Africa IQ”) is being featured on Google Earth’s showcase page (http://earth.google.com/showcase/), allowing users to zoom in and explore Africa while answering questions about the continent’s geography.
Google’s blog (googleblog.blogspot.com) will discuss Geography Awareness Week and the importance of geographic literacy, and Google’s educator’s page (www.google.com/educators) will include a link to My Wonderful World.
Special preview screenings for teachers of a National Geographic Films/LBS Production, “God Grew Tired of Us,” will take place in selected cities around the country during Geography Awareness Week. The film, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of three young Sudanese men who, after wandering around Africa and its refugee camps for 10 years, make new homes in the United States, adapting to a new culture and working for the benefit of their compatriots still in Africa.
Students ages 9-14 and their teachers can enter a contest to join a National Geographic Kids magazine-sponsored 2007 expedition to South Africa. Team members will go on a wildlife safari, explore plant and sea life at a nature reserve, and experience local culture and traditions. The expedition will be led by National Geographic experts. For full contest and entry details, visit www.hands-onexplorer.com.
My Wonderful World is a National Geographic-led, five-year, multimedia campaign designed to give U.S. students tools to become more informed global citizens. Twenty-five leading businesses and nonprofits are partners in the campaign coalition, working to motivate parents and educators to expand geographic offerings in school, at home and in their communities.