WASHINGTON (April 30, 2009)–Fifteen kids ages 10-14, who have demonstrated a passion for exploring, have been selected as members of the fourth annual National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge Expedition Team. The expedition to Peru, which also includes two teachers, is scheduled for May 23-June 3, 2009. To be considered for the Expedition Team, kids were asked to submit an essay of 300 words or less and a photograph they took themselves that told how they actively explore their world and the most exciting and/or inspiring things they have found in it. The winners include a musician who explores the world through Mother Nature’s melodies; a kid who learns about world cultures through food and trade routes; an avid rock climber inspired by the ease with which lizards navigate the most difficult routes; young fossil hunters; and budding herpetologists and ornithologists. To see the winning photographs and excerpts from the essays, go to kids.nationalgeographic.com.
The winning kids are Lucy Anderson, 11, of Wellesley, Mass.; Laura Beth Andrews, 14, of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Ian Baer, 12, of Spokane, Wash.; Rebecca Buxbaum, 12, of Lansdowne, Pa.; Rachel Day, 12, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Lijah Hanley, 13, of Cumming, Ga.; Wyatt Jordan, 10, of Briggsdale, Colo.; Nellie Kassebaum, 12, of Burdick, Kan.; Grace Kennedy, 12, of Castle Rock, Colo.; Peter Meehan, 14, of White Hall, Md.; Elliot Schoenig, 13, of Davis, Calif.; Dewey Sheehan, 13, of Pembroke, Maine; Grace Tredinnick, 14, of Wapwallopen, Pa.; McKenna Tucker, 14, of Eads, Tenn.; and Cady van Assendelft, 11, of Staunton, Va.
The winning teachers are Sharon Andrews, a fifth-grade teacher in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Carissa Lloyd, a sixth-grade teacher in Hollywood, Fla.
The Expedition Team will travel on a 12-day expedition to Peru, courtesy of PromPeru, Apotur, LAN Airlines and selected hotels and service providers. As part of their prize, all explorers will be equipped and outfitted with expedition essentials: a D60 digital SLR camera to document their journey with stunning photographs, courtesy of Nikon®, and rugged yet versatile Columbia Omni-Shade sun-protective shirts and tees, hiking pants that can be converted into shorts, a colorful wind- and rain-resistant jacket and wide-brimmed hat, courtesy of outdoor apparel sponsor Columbia.
Highlights of the expedition include exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu, voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; visiting Tambopata Reserve deep in the Peruvian rain forest, where the team will have the opportunity to help in a research laboratory; touring the elegant colonial architecture, vibrant modernism and traces of pre-Inca and Inca civilizations in the capital city of Lima; learning about Peruvian culture and ancestral Inca rituals and customs; seeing and experiencing how local people still use ancestral methods for daily activities like weaving and cooking; and spotting wildlife such as giant river otters, caimans and tropical birds.
Throughout the expedition, the Hands-On Explorers will receive tips from National Geographic and local experts on how to capture this fieldtrip-of-a-lifetime and new discoveries in pictures and words. Accompanying the winners on the trip will be National Geographic personality Boyd Matson, host of the radio program “National Geographic Weekend,” National Geographic Kids science editor Catherine Hughes and National Geographic photographers Amy Toensing and Bruce Dale.
The six boys and nine girls were chosen from thousands of entries nationwide. A panel of National Geographic experts selected kids whose essays and photographs expressed the most interest in and passion for exploring, while adhering to the judging criteria. Each young winner will be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
For the Teacher Challenge, educators were asked to conduct a hands-on activity related to Peru in an innovative manner that actively engaged students, and to write an original essay of 500 words or less describing what best practices were used to increase students’ knowledge and appreciation of the geography of Peru.
“Daring readers to explore, National Geographic Kids magazine aims to excite kids about their world,” said National Geographic Kids Editor in Chief Melina Bellows. “The National Geographic Society has a long tradition of identifying and supporting explorers early in their research, and I can see no greater opportunity than the Hands-On Explorer Challenge to seed the next generation of explorers. The expedition to Peru provides an unmatched hands-on learning environment that continues our mission of inspiring people to care about the planet.”
“Peru is excited to host the winners of the National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge. This unique program will offer young explorers the opportunity to discover Peru’s many archaeological and natural wonders, including some of the 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites,” said Mara Seminario, PromPeru’s tourism director. “As one of the most diverse and family-friendly countries in South America, Peru combines a wealth of exciting adventure activities for youth across its varied landscape — from the Andean mountains and Amazon rain forest to the desert and vibrant coastal regions — with rich educational experiences exploring Peru’s ancient history, cultural traditions and award-winning cuisine.”
“Columbia Sportswear salutes the 15 National Geographic Kids who have been chosen to participate in this expedition to Peru. We’re thrilled to be outfitting these young adventurers with Columbia apparel that is perfectly suited for the diverse outdoor activities and climates they will be facing,” said Mandy Rutkowski, senior manager of promotions, Columbia Sportswear. “We are confident that the members of the expedition will enjoy their travels more comfortably and safely with Columbia’s Omni-Shade collection of sun-protective shirts, pants and hats.”
NOTE: Hi-res photos of winners and their entries are available:
Or contact photo editor Kate Baylor, firstname.lastname@example.org
About National Geographic Kids Magazine
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 1.2 million and is available by subscription for $19.95 a year and on newsstands for $4.99 a copy. Its Web site is at kids.nationalgeographic.com.
Peru Export and Tourism Promotion is the public entity in charge of recommending, directing, evaluating and implementing policies and strategies to promote domestic and international tourism as well as marketing the image of Peru for both tourism promotion and exports. For more information on Peru, visit www.peru.info.
Apotur (www.apoturperu.org) — Peruvian Association of Incoming Tour Operators — founded in 1987, is a nonprofit organization conformed by the most important and experienced Peruvian Tour Operators; 45 companies that together receive and assist around 80% of the organized travel to Peru.
About Columbia Sportswear Company
Founded in 1938 in Portland, Ore., Columbia Sportswear Company is a global leader in the design, sourcing, marketing and distribution of active outdoor apparel and footwear. As one of the largest outerwear manufacturers in the world and a leading seller of skiwear in the United States, the company has developed an international reputation for quality, performance, functionality and value. The company manages a portfolio of outdoor brands, including Columbia Sportswear, Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Pacific Trail and Sorel. To learn more about Columbia, please visit the company’s website at http://www.columbia.com.
Columbia’s sportswear includes a wide variety of styles with UPF-30 and greater sun protection and is endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation. In addition, Columbia Sportswear offers a set of curricula for kids and their teachers with tips on how to stay safe in the sun while enjoying outdoor adventures at http://www.columbia.com/rays-awareness.aspx.
Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; COOLSCAN® digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. For the second consecutive year, Nikon D Series digital SLR cameras are recognized as “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with digital SLR cameras, Two Years in a Row, Tied in 2008.” according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 and 2008 Digital Camera Usage and Satisfaction StudiesSM. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its legendary F-mount lens-mounting system. Only Nikon has sustained an original lens mount for such an extraordinary period, ensuring that photographers can continue to leverage their previous investments while still taking advantage of new innovations. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-UX or visit http://www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers to the Web’s most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.
About LAN Airlines
LAN Airlines is one of the leading passenger airlines in Latin America. The company and its affiliates serve over 65 destinations around the world through an extensive network that offers full connectivity within Latin America, while also linking the region with North America, Europe and the South Pacific, as well as 63 additional international destinations through its various alliances. LAN Airlines and its affiliates have a leading position in their respective domestic markets of Chile and Peru as well as an important presence in the Argentinean domestic market.
Currently, LAN Airlines and its affiliates operate one of the most modern fleets in the world, with 84 passenger aircraft, and its cargo subsidiary, LAN CARGO and its respective cargo affiliates, own 9 dedicated freighters. The company recently completed its short haul fleet renovation process by acquiring new aircraft from the Airbus A320 family, enabling LAN to improve its efficiency and to reduce significantly its CO2 emissions. The fleet renovation is part of the company’s commitment to the protection of the environment.
LAN is one of the few Investment Grade airlines in the world (BBB). The company’s world-class quality standards enabled its membership in oneworld™, the global alliance that encompasses the best airlines in the world. For more information, please visit www.lan.com or www.oneworldalliance.com.
National Geographic Kids Magazine
Caryn Davidson, National Geographic Society, (212) 610-3808, email@example.com
Ethan Fried, National Geographic Society, (202) 857-7037, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elisabeth Hakim, PromPeru, (+51) 224-3131 Ex. 1380, email@example.com
Columbia Sportswear Company
Leslie Constans, Columbia Sportswear, (503) 985-4183, firstname.lastname@example.org
Geoff Coalter, MWW Group, (201) 964-2477, email@example.com
National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society