WASHINGTON (Nov. 16, 2011)—Today, the National Geographic Education Foundation awarded its Geography Legislator of the Year Awards to key congressional leaders for their commitment to making high-quality geography education available for all K-12 students, preparing young Americans for success. Recognized for their commitment to geographic education were Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.).
National Geographic Education Foundation Executive Director Danny Edelson presented the awards — a citation on a framed photograph of the recipient’s home state or district made by a National Geographic photographer. Cleaver and Petri were on hand to accept their awards, delivering remarks to a crowd of 50 D.C. schoolchildren who had been invited to the event. Before the awards ceremony, the school groups had a chance to play (and learn) on one of National Geographic’s giant traveling maps. After the ceremony, the members of Congress joined the schoolchildren on the maps to discuss what they learned.
The award presentation was a highlight of Geography Awareness Week, an annual public awareness program to draw attention to the importance of geography education. Each year, more than 100,000 Americans take part in Geography Awareness Week activities. The National Geographic Education Foundation is also leading a letter-writing campaign, Speak Up For Geography, which aims to get 10,000 letters sent to Congress by the end of this week. The letters urge members of Congress to join Collins, Leahy, Cleaver, Petri and others in supporting geography education in U.S. schools through the Teaching Geography is Fundamental (TGIF) Act.
About the National Geographic Society
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.
NOTE: Images of the Geography Legislator of the Year Award event can be found on the ftp site (user name: press; password: press)