WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2014)—Next week, the National Geographic Society will invite the world to celebrate Geography Awareness Week, Nov. 16-22. Established by presidential proclamation in 1987, Geography Awareness Week, also known as GeoWeek, is an annual public awareness program promoted by National Geographic that encourages citizens young and old to appreciate the importance of geography. This year, National Geographic calls on people to celebrate “The Future of Food,” in keeping with the Society’s ongoing food focus.
“GeoWeek annually brings attention to a subject that plays a vital role in every part of our lives,” said Kathleen Schwille, vice president of curriculum, National Geographic Education and Children’s Media. “Knowledge of geography is important for all of us, not just teachers, decision-makers and world leaders. Whether you’re a traveler looking for a hotel near public transportation or a grocery shopper looking to make more sustainable, local food choices, you have to understand the connections that link places and people.”
This year, National Geographic has teamed up with other geography-inclined organizations, including the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the National Council for Geographic Education, Esri, OpenStreetMap, Gamma Theta Upsilon and the American Geographical Society, to celebrate GeoWeek and create activities and events for everyone from armchair geographers to geographic information systems (GIS) professionals.
Online Resources and Activities
The GeoWeek Web page, www.geoweek.org, hosted on National Geographic Education’s award-winning website NatGeoEd.org, offers access to activities, games and other geography-related content. The site provides educators and parents with lists of recommended books, videos, geographer profiles and family-friendly games.
In addition, food-related activities can be found at NatGeoEd.org/food. One example is Planet Food, a new interactive game that explores how food connects us to the rest of the world. The first part of the game allows students to visualize the journey their food takes from its origins. The second part involves critical thinking skills and geographic decision-making in a create-your-own-adventure challenge to make a new chocolate bar. Students can earn badges for making their chocolate in an ethical, environmentally friendly or economically efficient way.
GeoWeek is celebrated on Facebook (facebook.com/GeoWeek) and Twitter (@LoveGeography, #GeoWeek), providing a community for geography lovers as well as interesting, relevant content. GeoWeek can also be found in the BuzzFeed community (buzzfeed.com/geographyawarenessweek).
On Monday, Nov. 17, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST, National Geographic, along with the AAG, the National Center for Science Education, OpenStreetMap and the Rhode Island and Virginia Geographic Alliances, will lead a Twitter chat to talk about food issues as a gateway to appreciating geography. Interested participants can search #GeoWeek on Twitter to join the conversation.
American college students can take part in the first-ever GeoWeek video contest, with a chance to win four student memberships to the AAG. Students wanting to participate should make a video 30-60 seconds long (no music, please!), upload it to YouTube and share the link on the GeoWeek Facebook page any time from Nov. 16 to 30. The winners will be announced Dec. 3.
Events Around the Country
New in 2014, National Geographic, the U.S. Department of State (MapGive), the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and OpenStreetMap US are hosting mapping events at colleges, universities and clubs to map food resources around the globe. A full list of these events can be found at osmgeoweek.org. National Geographic will host the flagship OpenStreetMap mapping party on Friday, Nov. 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., with the goal of putting food resources on the map. Admission is free, but interested individuals should RSVP online.
On the local level, grassroots organizers around the country will host events, workshops and contests at local schools and community centers during GeoWeek. The GeoWeek website offers a toolkit with resources on how to host a local event, such as a community festival or a geography trivia evening.
About the National Geographic Society
With a mission to inspire, illuminate and teach, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. The member-supported Society, which believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world, reaches over 600 million people each month through its media platforms, products and events. National Geographic has funded more than 11,000 research, conservation and exploration projects, and its education programs promote geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.