U.S. Students to Partner with African Students to ‘Cause An Uproar’
And Raise Awareness about Declining Populations of Big Cats in the Wild
WASHINGTON (Sept. 6, 2012)—Four public schools in New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Salt Lake City have been selected to participate in a unique cross-cultural initiative, National Geographic’s Big Cats Sister School Program. Beginning in fall 2012, the Big Cats Sister School Program will pair the U.S. schools with schools in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana under the shared theme of big cat conservation.
Students in all four countries will learn why big cats are important to the ecosystem and how they each perceive big cats in their own countries, using photos, letters, essays, stories, virtual assemblies and other forms of digital media to connect. The student groups will also interact with National Geographic conservationists and Nat Geo WILD television channel talent to raise awareness about the severe decline of the big cat population in the wild. The U.S. students will create and conduct high-profile activities in their schools and communities to spread the word about the significance and scope of this crisis.
Big cats are victims of conflict with humans and habitat loss or degradation. National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative is a long-term commitment to halt the decline of these iconic animals in the wild through on-the-ground conservation projects, education and a global public awareness campaign. The Big Cats Sister School Program, launched by the National Geographic Society and Nat Geo WILD, provides teachers and students an ongoing opportunity to “Cause An Uproar” to help save big cats throughout the school year as well as engage in a cultural exchange.
“This program will help connect children around the globe on the important topic of big cat conservation,” said Alexander Moen, National Geographic’s vice president, Explorer Programs. “We need future generations to recognize the importance of saving our planet’s predators so that 40 years from now they won’t look back on lions the way we now look back on dinosaurs.”
The four U.S. schools were selected through an application process in which they highlighted how they would raise awareness of big cats within their schools and communities. The schools are:
- P.S. 205 The Fiorello H. LaGuardia School, Bronx, New York City Department of Education – District 10
- Hill-Freedman World Academy, School District of Philadelphia
- Compton Drew Investigative Learning Center, St. Louis Public School District
- Clayton Middle School, Salt Lake City School District
The four schools in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana were identified by National Geographic field researchers. They are:
- Lpus Leluai Primary School, Westgate Conservancy, Kenya
- Loibor Siret Primary School, Loibor Siret, Tanzania
- Malinzaga Primary School, Ruaha, Tanzania
- Gudigwa Primary School, Gudigwa, Botswana
The Big Cats Sister School Program is a unique interactive, educational and cause-related community service learning project. It is geared toward enhancing school spirit among participating students by connecting children with other children in a faraway part of the world. The program provides much needed school supplies to schools and children in Africa and demonstrates support, charity and goodwill in these regions. Throughout the school year, the Big Cats Sister Schools will utilize free online multimedia activities and education resources provided by National Geographic Education and a variety of programming elements from Nat Geo WILD’s big cats-related films. Students will conduct awareness activities in their schools and communities to “Cause An Uproar” to help save big cats.
“This initiative is the perfect next step in our commitment to this important cause,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo WILD. “Nat Geo WILD is dedicated to family-friendly programming, including our Big Cats programming. We fully expect the Big Cats Sister School Program will enhance student learning about a significant global issue and inspire students to use their collective voice to raise awareness about the dramatic decline of these magnificent creatures.”
The principals of the four newly selected U.S. Big Cats Sister Schools expressed strong commitment to the program. Anthony F. Majewski, principal of Hill-Freedman World Academy, said, “We are thrilled that our school was chosen for this unique and meaningful opportunity. I anticipate our students will be thoroughly engaged in all aspects of the Big Cats Sister School Program. The project is an ideal fit for Hill-Freedman’s core values to make connections with diverse groups of people and become more international minded. The project will provide us all important insights into the plight of students in Africa and will cast a much needed light on the critical issue of the decline of big cats in the wild.”
For more information, visit www.causeanuproar.org.
National Geographic Big Cats Initiative
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’s mission is 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 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. The Big Cats Initiative is a long-term effort to halt the decline of big cats in the wild. BCI supports efforts to save big cats through assessment efforts, on-the-ground conservation projects, education, economic incentive programs and a global public-awareness campaign. Visit www.causeanuproar.org.
National Geographic Education Programs
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. National Geographic Education creates educational materials for young people and the adults who teach them, conducts educational programs for educators and advocates for improved geographic education. Under the auspices of the National Geographic Education Foundation, 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.
Nat Geo WILD
For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. The networks Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD, launched in 2010, offer intimate encounters with nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air that draw upon the cutting-edge work of the many explorers, filmmakers and scientists of the National Geographic Society. Part of the National Geographic Channels US, based in Washington, D.C., the networks are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. In 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) debuted, and 10 years later, Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with Nat Geo WILD currently available in 56 million U.S. homes. Globally, Nat Geo WILD is available in more than 100 million homes in 90 countries and 28 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com.