WASHINGTON (Feb. 21, 2007)–My Wonderful World, a geographic-literacy campaign led by National Geographic, announced today that Connie Ratcliffe, principal at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Roanoke, Va., is the winner of a complimentary 10-night voyage to the Galápagos Islands from Lindblad Expeditions, a founding member of the geography campaign.
Ratcliffe and three companions will travel from May 4-13 through the 3,000-square-mile Galápagos archipelago, home to an amazing variety of unique animal and plant species.
“I am so excited about bringing the world of the Galápagos to my school kids through this trip,” said Ratcliffe. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to link learning and real life together. Many of my students have never had the chance to experience anything like this before, except in picture books.”
During the voyage Ratcliffe and fellow educators will come face-to-face with some of the world’s most unusual flora and fauna. The Galápagos archipelago, made up of 13 large islands and over 100 smaller ones, is home to giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, penguins and boobies, among other species. Charles Darwin’s study of the wildlife of the Galápagos helped lead him to his theories about evolution and biology.
Ratcliffe’s students are designing scientific experiments for their principal to perform during the expedition. In addition, Ratcliffe also will develop activities to link ecology issues to analytical thinking and writing skills, and several of her teachers are creating geography, science and Spanish-language lesson plans around the islands. Rafcliffe will chronicle the voyage with photographs and a diary, and her traveling companions will help with the educational projects.
“We are thrilled an educator has won this expedition; it is a great opportunity to show students that there’s more to geography than just places on a map,” said Jill Monk, acting executive director of the National Geographic Education Foundation and vice president of Education and Children’s Programs. “We thank Lindblad Expeditions for this reminder that learning about the world can be a fun adventure, as we help our children gain a better understanding of our complicated world.”
The My Wonderful World campaign (MyWonderfulWorld.org) is designed to give U.S. students tools to become more informed global citizens. The goal of the five-year, multimedia program is to improve the geographic literacy of young people ages 8-17 by motivating parents and educators to make geography more available and accessible in school, at home and in their communities.
Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition travel company providing voyages in Galápagos, Antarctica, Baja California, Alaska, the Arctic and beyond. Sven Lindblad has received many environmental awards, including the U.N. Programme Global 500 Award and, most recently, recognition by His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg for Lindblad’s dedication to the conservation and environmental stewardship of the Galápagos archipelago. The company has also received numerous awards, including the #1 Small-Ship Cruise Line (Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Value Awards 2006); #2 Tour Operator (Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Value Awards 2006); “The Best Ships in the World” and “The Best Itineraries” (Conde Nast Traveler: Truth in Travel Awards 2006).
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society today works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 350 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and four other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; radio programs; films; books; DVDs; maps; and interactive media. National Geographic has funded more than 8,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.