WASHINGTON (March 15, 2011)—On Friday, April 1, young geography whizzes across the United States and U.S. territories will participate in state-level Geographic Bees, competing for a spot in the national competition in Washington, D.C., in May. The Bee is organized by the National Geographic Society. This year’s Bee is sponsored by Google Inc.; at the state level, the Bee is also sponsored by Plum Creek.
Up to 100 fourth- to eighth-graders in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, U.S. territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools have qualified for the state Bees. Each state winner will receive $100, “The Complete National Geographic” on DVD and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals May 24-25 and the chance to be crowned National Geographic Bee champion.
First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively. Additionally, the national winner will travel (with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands to experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of the islands. Travel for the Galápagos trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.
The top 10 national finalists from both 2010 and 2011 are eligible to be selected for the three-person team to represent the United States at the National Geographic World Championship to be held at various locales in the San Francisco area in July 2011, with the finals taking place at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
John Fahey, chairman and CEO of the National Geographic Society, said, “National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. Through the National Geographic Bee and our other activities, we hope to foster a lifelong passion for learning about other cultures and lands and to prepare young people to be responsible stewards of our planet.”
Google Inc. is sponsoring the Bee for the third year. “The National Geographic Bee continues to be the best competition in education. The winners I’ve seen have consistently had incredibly broad and deep knowledge of geography and the world around them. As a company, Google recognizes teachers as leaders in the field of geography education and the students as the future of this country,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of Engineering, Google Earth and Maps.
“The Geographic Bee is truly an outstanding program that provides students a unique opportunity to better understand our world and the events happening around them,” said Bob Jirsa, president, Plum Creek Foundation. “Education is one of the focal points of our Plum Creek Foundation, so we’re genuinely pleased to continue our partnership with the National Geographic Society’s Geographic Bee program to state Bees across the United States.”
The state Bees are the second level of the annual National Geographic Bee. The first level began last November with contests in nearly 12,000 U.S. schools, in which millions of students participated.
The championship round of the National Geographic Bee – moderated by “Jeopardy!” quizmaster Alex Trebek for the 23rd year – will be held at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters on Wednesday, May 25. Programming on the Bee produced by National Geographic Television will air the week of June 13 nationally on the National Geographic Channel. Bee programming also will be broadcast later on public television stations, presented by Maryland Public Television. Check local listings for viewing dates and times.
Visitors to the Bee section of the National Geographic Society website, www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee, can hone their geography skills with the GeoBee Challenge game.
The National Geographic GeoBee Challenge app, with more than 1,000 questions culled from past Bees, is available from the App Store on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, or in the Android Market.
National Geographic developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.
About National Geographic
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 works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,600 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.
Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National Geographic Television and FOX Cable Networks Group. It debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001 and is currently available in nearly 70 million U.S. homes.
About Plum Creek
Plum Creek is the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the nation with approximately 6.8 million acres of timberlands in major timber-producing regions of the United States and wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest.
NOTE: The complete press kit for the 2011 National Geographic Bee is available online at http://bit.ly/GeoBee2011 (username & password: press)