WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2007)–Fifteen kids ages 9-13, who have demonstrated a passion for exploring, have been selected as members of the second annual National Geographic Kids Expedition Team — sponsored by the makers of PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer — scheduled to go on safari in South Africa in August. In addition to the young explorers, two teachers also have won this exciting trip of a lifetime.
The winning students are Madeleine Boudreaux, 13, of Theodore, Ala.; Charles Dotzenroth, 11, of Wayzata, Minn.; Katie Homa, 11, of Las Cruces, N.M.; Aric Kampschaefer, 13, of Edmond, Okla.; Maggie Marshall, 13, of Elk Rapids, Mich.; Caitlin McCormick, 10, of Plandome, N.Y.; Meghan McMahon, 10, of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; William Miles, 12, of Franklin, Va.; Gary Oster, 13, of Fairfield, Conn.; Luke Peterson, 13, of Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Brian Phan, 12, of Olivette, Mo.; Douglas Riccobono Jr., 11, of Lockport, N.Y.; Jocelyn Takahashi, 12, of Saratoga, Calif.; Maria Tomasso, 10, of San Marcos, Texas; and A.J. Ware, 9, of Versailles, KY.
The winning teachers are Lisbeth Uribe, a third- and fourth- grade science, robotics and geography instructor in New York City, and Joan Romine, teacher/coordinator of first through sixth grade in Lake Oswego, Ore. The trip to South Africa takes place Aug. 6-15, 2007.
The eight boys and seven girls were chosen from more than 4,000 entries nationwide in the National Geographic Kids magazine “Hands-On Explorer Challenge.” Kids were asked to submit a photo showing how they are a hands-on explorer in their world. They had to describe in a 100- to 200-word essay how they explored this place and what they discovered, why it’s interesting and what they’d like to explore in South Africa. A panel of National Geographic experts selected 15 kids whose essays and photographs expressed the most interest in and passion for exploring, while adhering to the judging criteria.
The winners include a student who explored the mysteries of the sea through the Junior Lifeguard program, another who explores the world and cultures through food found at the local kosher deli and beyond, and a child who had her family’s yard certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. One boy traveled to China to meet his newly adopted sister, while a young conservationist helped rebuild a wood duck habitat destroyed by hurricanes. Also among the winners are a budding entrepreneur who explores her world by raising chickens and a vegetable garden; and a young writer who poetically described her journey of “10 Days, 12 Stream Crossings, 50 Miles.”
The National Geographic Hands-On Explorer Teacher Challenge is new this year. An extension of the Kids Challenge, this separate competition exclusively for teachers was launched in conjunction with Geography Action 2006!, a conservation and awareness program designed to educate and excite young people about natural, cultural and historic treasures. Africa was the focus of this past year’s Geography Action program.
Team members will fly South African Airways to Johannesburg, then embark on a 10-day safari to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve and Grootbos Nature Reserve to explore some of the most amazing wildlife and ocean wonders in the world. Accompanying the group will be National Geographic personality and host of public television’s “Wild Chronicles” Boyd Matson, National Geographic Kids Editor in Chief Melina Bellows, National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths Belt, local experts, and a parent or guardian for each young team member.
Expedition Team members will learn how to observe and not disturb the places they visit. As part of their prize, all explorers will be equipped with their own digital camera and will receive tips from National Geographic experts on capturing their discoveries in pictures and words.
“Kids are born to explore,” said Matson. “I can’t wait to lead them through two amazing South African reserves and see how they respond to the wonders of the natural world. This will be a life-changing adventure for all of us.”
“It’s a germy world, but no true explorer can resist getting their hands a little dirty,” said Dawn Kidd, product director for the PURELL® brand instant hand sanitizer. “Outdoor learning can lead to wonderful new experiences, and using PURELL® to kill germs you may pick up on your hands gives you the freedom to explore and really be hands-on.”
“National Geographic Kids is all about getting kids excited about their world,” said Bellows. “National Geographic has a long tradition of identifying and supporting young explorers early in their research, many of whom have become household names like Jacques Cousteau, Dian Fossey and Robert Ballard. I can see no greater opportunity than this to seed the next generation of explorers.”
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve will take the Expedition Team on a one-of-a-kind safari, introducing team members to unparalleled game viewing with instruction and guidance from Sabi Sabi’s world-class rangers. Team members will learn about 300 bird species and 200 animal species, including the “big five,” South Africa’s most popular and exciting animals — elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, lion and Cape buffalo.
At the Grootbos Nature Reserve the Expedition Team will discover the fascinating relationships among the insects, birds, mammals and flowering plants of South Africa’s diverse ecosystem. The reserve boasts more than 650 species of indigenous plants and conserves 4,369 hectares of pristine fynbos, the Cape’s unique vegetation. Grootbos Nature Reserve is also home to the great white shark.
National Geographic Kids, a multitopic, photo-driven magazine for 6- to 14-year-olds, empowers its readers by making it fun to learn about the world. It has received numerous industry awards, including the Periodical of the Year award in 2005 and 2006 from the Association of Educational Publishers. Published 10 times a year, National Geographic Kids has a circulation of 1.3 million and is available by subscription for $19.95 a year and on newsstands for $4.95 a copy. Its Web site is at nationalgeographic.com/ngkids.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company, division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., develops and markets skin care, wound care, and baby care products that address the needs of the consumer and health care professionals and incorporates the latest innovations. The portfolio now includes the recent addition of market-leading brands such as PURELL® and NEOSPORIN®, as well as heritage brands such as JOHNSON’S® Baby and BAND-AID® Brand, and skin care brands such as AVEENO®, and CLEAN & CLEAR®. PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer, which kills 99.99% of most common germs that may cause illness, can be used when soap and water are not available and when hands are not visibly dirty. PURELL® products are distributed by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company, division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.
Founded in 1978, the five star luxury Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is situated in the world-renowned, 160,615 acre Sabi Sand Wildtuin in the southern section of the Kruger National Park. Sabi Sabi’s conservation philosophy is based on two principles: the need to conserve rapidly dwindling areas and to provide a sanctuary for fauna and flora as part of South Africa’s heritage and the belief that this environmentally distinct destination must be a true example of eco-tourism effectively linking luxury tourism with conservation and the community.
Less than two hours from Cape Town and overlooking the spectacular Walker Bay, Grootbos Nature Reserve is a unique environment of conservation and human development. Fundamental to this ethos is the amazing diversity of flowering plants on Grootbos. Protecting 4,369 acres of unique Cape Floral Kingdom, with over 660 species of indigenous flowering plants, a walk, horse ride or 4×4 drive through Grootbos Nature Reserve offers young and old an introduction to nature’s more subtle nuances. The gourmet cuisine is crafted from the finest and freshest local ingredients, including seafood specialties and excellent South African wines. Guests choose from accommodations in the Garden or New Forest Lodge. Suites are spacious with sweeping views across the dunes and ocean, private wooden decks, bathrooms, finest bedding and separate living rooms with cozy fireplaces. Whether one’s interests are birding, gardening, wild flowers, whale watching, diving with great white sharks or relaxing on spectacular unspoiled beaches, Grootbos has it all. For more information visit www.grootbos.com.