WASHINGTON (March 6, 2012)—The National Geographic Education Foundation announced today that it awarded grants totaling $2.8 million for geography education in 2011. These grants, aimed at increasing geographic literacy for students in kindergarten through high school, support work to improve the quality of teaching, to establish an appropriate place for geography in the K-12 curriculum and to implement curricula that adequately prepare U.S. students for an increasingly globalized world.
The Foundation’s primary program is to support the National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education, partnerships between university faculty, K-12 teachers and others that connect educators, offer professional development opportunities and promote educational innovation at state and local levels. In 2011, the Foundation awarded grants to Alliance partners in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada for activities that included encouraging students and the public to explore Heritage Trails in our nation’s capital; hosting seminars on agriculture in Minnesota; leading workshops focused on human rights issues in Iowa; and coordinating a workshop in partnership with the Humanities Council and others focused on “The Changing Face of the Arizona Border” in Arizona.
For the past 25 years, the National Geographic Education Foundation has been supporting geography education and highlighting the necessity of geo-literacy in today’s world, engaging hundreds of volunteers in each state to lead efforts to improve geo-literacy.
“This has to be a state-by-state program. You could not lead an education improvement program like this one from Washington,” said Bob Dulli, deputy director of the Foundation. “We are fortunate to have universities in each state that support this kind of effort; professors who are willing to give up much of their personal and professional time to guide our Alliances; and teacher leaders who are selfless with their time, generous with their knowledge and inspirational with their leadership.”
“Geography education, and by extension geo-literacy, are at the core of understanding how the world works,” said Danny Edelson, vice president for education at the National Geographic Society. “Grasping how our world is interconnected and realizing the implications of those connections are crucial to informed decision-making. The National Geographic Education Foundation is committed to ensuring that each new generation of American schoolchildren is equipped with a greater understanding of the world and is able to make those decisions that will affect all of us for years to come.”
In addition to the Alliance programs, the National Geographic Education Foundation holds endowments to support place-based education in specific locations. In 2011 the Foundation awarded $77,190 to support NatureBridge, a provider of residential learning experiences in national parks to support their efforts to increase diversity. The Foundation also awarded $56,004 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for its educational efforts in the Bay and work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed focused on environmental exploration and citizen science using field exploration and some of the latest technological tools for the classroom.
About National Geographic Education
National Geographic Education is the educational outreach arm of the National Geographic Society. National Geographic Education brings the rich resources of the Society to its audience of educators and learners as part of its mission to prepare young people to care for the planet by creating educational materials for youngsters and the adults who teach them, conducting educational programs for educators and advocating for improved geographic education. Since the National Geographic Education Foundation was established in 1988, it has awarded more than $80 million in grants to support efforts to improve geography education in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit NatGeoEd.org