WASHINGTON (March 15, 2010)—On Friday, April 9, young geography whizzes across the United States and U.S. territories will participate in state-level Geographic Bees, competing for a spot in the national competition in Washington, D.C., in May. The Bee is organized by the National Geographic Society. This year’s Bee is sponsored by Google Inc.; at the state level, the Bee is also being sponsored by Plum Creek.
Up to 100 fourth- to eighth-graders in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, U.S. territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools have qualified for the state Bees. Each state winner will receive $100, the “National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World,” and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals May 25-26 and the chance to be crowned National Geographic Bee champion.
First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively. Additionally, the national winner will travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands to experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of the islands. Travel for the Galápagos trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society.
John Fahey, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, said, “National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. Through the National Geographic Bee and our other activities, we hope to foster a lifelong passion for learning about other cultures and lands and to prepare young people to be responsible stewards of our planet.”
Google Inc. is sponsoring the Bee for the second year. “After attending last year’s National Geographic Bee, I am more pleased than ever to be a part of such an inspiring event. As a company, Google is honored to be able to contribute to the efforts of such brilliant students and dedicated teachers,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of Engineering, Google Earth and Maps. A teacher from the winner’s school district will be invited to attend this summer’s Geo Teachers’ Institute at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
“The Geographic Bee is truly an outstanding program that provides students 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 genuinely pleased to continue our partnership with the National Geographic Society’s Geographic Bee program to 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 more than 12,000 U.S. schools, in which millions of students participated.
The championship round of the National Geographic Bee — moderated by “Jeopardy!”‘s Alex Trebek for the 22nd year — will be held at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters on Wednesday, May 26, and will air that day nationally on the National Geographic Channel. Produced by National Geographic Television, the finals also will be broadcast later on public television stations, presented by Maryland Public Television. Check local listings for viewing dates and times.
The Bee section of the National Geographic Society Web site, www.nationalgeographic.com/geographicbee, gives visitors a chance to hone their geography skills with the GeoBee challenge game.
The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. The problem is not yet resolved. A National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs 2006 Geographic Literacy Study showed that Americans aged 18-24 still had limited understanding of the world within and beyond our country’s borders. Even after Hurricane Katrina, one-third could not locate Louisiana, and almost half could not locate Mississippi on a U.S. map. Only four out of 10 were able to find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
About National Geographic
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 works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 375 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 9,200 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National Geographic Television and FOX Cable Networks Group. It debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001 and is currently available in nearly 70 million U.S. homes.
About the Google Geo Education Program
The Google Geo Education program is made up of a group of Googlers who are passionate about education and who believe that Google Earth and Maps are powerful educational tools. The program aims to make these tools more accessible to educators and to connect educators to each other so that they can share their experiences. The Google Geo Education group has created a Web site, www.google.com/educators/geo, where educators can find classroom activities in a variety of subjects and a discussion group where they can share information.
About Plum Creek
Plum Creek is the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the nation with approximately 7 million acres of timberlands in major timber producing regions of the United States and wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest.
Lists of the 2010 Geography Bee State Qualifiers can be accessed at
(user name: press | password: press)