WASHINGTON (June 21, 2004)—Capturing the sound of America is the focus of Geography Action 2004!, a program for students in grades K through 12. Participants in “Cultures: The Sound of Place” (www.nationalgeographic.com/geographyaction) will create one- to three-minute sound portraits of their communities by recording sounds that illustrate aspects of their local geography, including culture, commerce, environments and change.
The program encourages kids to explore how language, music and other sounds of their hometowns give voice to the history, commerce, culture, movement and interaction of people and place through time.
“Our cultural landscape is changing and many of the sights and sounds we take for granted are quickly disappearing,” said Barbara Chow, National Geographic’s vice president for education
programs. “‘Geography Action: Cultures’ gives students tools to help preserve their own local culture, to understand its relevance to their lives, and to understand the larger issues of the relationship among people, places and environments.”
The audio shorts will be posted on the National Geographic’s Geography Action! Web site with an interactive map, text that explains what the sound portraits reveal about the communities portrayed, local maps and pictures. The sound portraits also will be archived in the Library of Congress, which will hold the auditory time capsules in its permanent audio collection.
Students, teachers and parents who visit the Geography Action! Web site this fall will find a wide range of culture-related information and activities, links to educational Web sites and an interactive forum board where kids and teachers can exchange information and activities. A comprehensive calendar will list cultural activities nationwide, and an extensive resource library will provide links to many Web sites related to the theme of cultures.
The project’s goal is to help students come to a new appreciation of things that make their place unique and to give them the means to create a cultural portrait of lasting value to their communities. They will be able to conduct a firsthand investigation of local culture that will encourage community dialogue and give them a practical application for studies within the field of geography. The students will also gain valuable skills in audio recording, journalism, editing and story creation.
National Geographic Explorer!, the Society’s classroom magazine for kids in grades three through six, and National Geographic Kids, the Society’s multitopic, photo-driven magazine for 6- to 14-year-olds, will publish world culture maps in their September 2004 issues.