WASHINGTON (March 24, 2014)—On Friday, April 4, young geography whizzes across the United States and U.S. territories will participate in state-level Geographic Bees, competing for a spot in the 26th annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. Organized by the National Geographic Society, the 2014 National Geographic Bee is sponsored by Google. 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, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools have qualified for the state Bees. Each state winner will receive $100 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals May 19-21 and the chance to be crowned the 26th National Geographic Bee champion.
The winner of the national competition receives a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $25,000 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 landscapes of the islands on an expedition aboard the National Geographic Endeavour. Travel for the Galápagos voyage is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.
The top 10 national finalists for 2014 along with next year’s top 10 will be eligible for selection for the three-person team to represent the United States at the National Geographic World Championship in 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.
National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary Knell said, “The National Geographic Bee is just one of the many ways National Geographic is fulfilling its mission to inspire people to care about the planet. The Bee expands students’ knowledge of people, places and events around the world, and fosters a lifelong love of learning and exploration, turning today’s competitors into tomorrow’s leaders.”
Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering, Google Earth and Maps, said, “We’re proud to continue our sponsorship of the National Geographic Bee and to encourage the next generation of explorers and innovators. Maps are such an integral part of how we live and do business, and it’s important that we continue to invest in geographic literacy and education. The students who participate in the National Geographic Bee have demonstrated an impressive understanding of the world and its many wonders, and we are proud that young minds across the globe are using Google products to learn and collaborate. This competition demonstrates the power of technology to foster learning and inspire future generations, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it again this year.”
“The Geographic Bee is an outstanding program that provides students with 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 pleased to continue our partnership with the National Geographic Society’s Geographic Bee program to sponsor 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 preliminary rounds of the national contest will take place on Monday, May 19. The championship round featuring the top 10 finalists — moderated for the first time by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien — will be held on Wednesday, May 21, at the National Geographic Society. National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round of the Bee at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Thursday, May 22. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.
O’Brien succeeds “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek as moderator. Trebek moderated the National Geographic Bee for 25 years, from its inception in 1989 to 2013.
O’Brien is not the only new member of the National Geographic Bee team. Earlier this year, National Geographic appointed Daniel Beaupré as the new executive director of geography competitions and student experiences. He is just the second Bee director in the contest’s 26-year history, replacing Mary Lee Elden who retired in 2013. Beaupré will oversee the annual school-, state- and national-level National Geographic Bees and the biennial National Geographic World Championship.
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 Apple® App Store℠ on iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
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.
Note to Editors: 2014 National Geographic Bee press resources can be found at http://press.nationalgeographic.com/geo-bee/.
About the National Geographic Society
Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. With a mission to inspire people to care about the planet, the member-supported Society offers a community for members to get closer to explorers, connect with other members and help make a difference. The Society reaches more than 500 million people worldwide each month through its media platforms, products and events. National Geographic has funded more than 11,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
About Plum Creek
Plum Creek is one of the largest and most geographically diverse private landowners in the nation with approximately 8.4 million acres of timberlands in major timber producing regions of the United States and wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest. For more information, visit www.plumcreek.com.