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Klippeneck 2015 - Day 1

Booker High Wycombe - Mon, 05/25/2015 - 21:13

Day 1 saw the clubs 2 seaters being rigged (and a few private owners single seaters) ready for site checks on the long but slightly more tricky runway 02. The 2 seaters were kept busy with over 20 flights between them and a few single seaters flying. GA took off to do some local flying and familiarisation but was tempted by a convergence line and flew a 200k o/r. It was a long day with the gliders only landing around 19:30 but was completed with dinner at the nearest restaurant down the hill. More to follow tomorrow. 


Categories: Gliding

Final results from Saltby

Booker High Wycombe - Mon, 05/25/2015 - 06:59
All to play forDavid drew the short straw on Friday morning and was the first to fly. Following an interesting tow through a cloud, he managed to perform all 11 figures in the correct order (which he himself declared as an achievement...!) for a reasonably good score.
The cloud then rolled in, and no more flights were flown that day.
Ready to rollSaturday was a much better day and flying started early. Graham made a good job of his Advanced class Unknown sequence. The rest of the Sports class flew their Known 1 sequences, and the two beginners flew their single sequence. Flying continued into the evening with the Sports class flying a truncated Known 2 sequence from around 3000ft. David fell out of the top of his chandelle and suffered what can politely be described as brain fade for the rest of his sequence....

Final results, Graham 3rd in class, David 5th in class. Charles Baker from Lasham was 3rd in the Intermediate class.
Graham with yet another medal
Categories: Gliding

A little "trailer" (well line of) for Klippeneck 2015

Booker High Wycombe - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 09:47
Ready to rig the two seatersEvery one and the gliders have arrived safely. The convoy of Booker's gliders stayed together in spite of the best efforts of the peage stations on the motorways and traffic lights in Strasbourg. One glider trailer is rumoured to have got stuck (wheels off the ground) on a ramp in their overnight stop hotel but details are sketchy.

More updates on food and flying to follow 
Categories: Gliding

Aeros update from Saltby

Booker High Wycombe - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 04:39
The first day of the competition started to a gorgeous early morning, but the low cloud quickly slid in to delay the start. At midday, with a cloud base of 2800ft, a decision was made to fly split sequences for the Unlimited/Advanced/Intermediate known programs. The cloud base rose throughout the afternoon, and all of the free programs were flown in one go.  Graham made a nice job of his first flight, but a strengthening wind caught him out a little and he finished low and downwind. After the two sequences he is in 2nd place in the advanced class with 74.37%, just behind George Rizk on 74.81%. David spent the day working as a judges scribe. Hard work but interesting!
Categories: Gliding

Booker pilots at the Aeros Championships

Booker High Wycombe - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 09:24
Today is the start of the British Glider Aerobatics Championship at Saltby airfield in Lincolnshire. Booker is represented by Graham Saw at Advanced level and David Humphreys at Sports level. Waiting for the tug Yesterday's practice day saw the pilots dodging rain showers and threading their way through cloud. Graham spent the day finely polishing his sequences and David had some last minute instruction from George Rizk. Today sees Graham flying his Known 1 sequence. Graham performing his pre-flight dance Details of the contest, including results, at: British Glider Aerobatics Championships 2015
Categories: Gliding

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz Blended Best of Western Science with Traditional Hawaiian Culture

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 18:18

HAWAII NATIONAL PARK, Hawai‘i (May 20, 2015)—After two intensive days of exploration and documentation, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz held on May 15 and 16, 2015, captured a vivid snapshot of the unique plant and animal biodiversity in the park. The event brought together more than 170 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners (alakai‘i), more than 850 students and thousands from the general public. Together, they conducted a comprehensive inventory of the plants, insects, mammals, birds and other species that inhabit the 333,086-acre island park. Under the theme of I ka nānā no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns”), alakai‘i were integrated into the survey teams for a more holistic approach to the research and exploration endeavor.

Highlights:

  • More than 6,000 people, including more than 850 schoolchildren, participated in the BioBlitz and the concurrent Biodiversity & Cultural Festival.
  • With a scientist-to-student ratio of 1 to 5, students were able to truly work side by side with top scientists.
  • Twenty-two new species were added to the park’s species list, and sightings were documented of 73 species at risk, including the Kamehameha butterfly and the federally endangered nēnē. The BioBlitz survey substantially increased the number of fungi species on the park’s list, with 17 new fungi documented at the close of the event. Scientists predict up to 60 new fungi species could be added to the park’s list in the coming weeks.
  • The initial scientific species count as of the afternoon BioBlitz closing ceremony on Saturday, May 16, was 416, with 1,535 observations recorded over the course of the two-day event. Organizers expect this number to increase significantly over the next several months as cutting-edge testing of the collected samples continues.
  • The park’s 35th annual Cultural Festival was moved from July to the BioBlitz weekend and was expanded to include biodiversity booths and activities. The festival showcased how Hawaiians are true ecological experts and I ka nānā no a ‘ike principles continue today. The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival featured hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and top Hawaiian music and dance performances.

 

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz was part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture. Participants combed the park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible in 24 hours. Activities included catching insects, spotting birds, observing plants and fungi, and using technology to better understand the diverse ecosystems across the park.

“We’ve known for many years that Hawaii is a hotspot for fungal diversity, but it’s rare to have as many eyes on the ground hunting for mushrooms as we did for the BioBlitz. With this concerted effort, it’s no surprise that in just 24 hours we documented almost 10 times the number of previously recorded fungal species in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. We look forward to partnering with the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society on future public outreach and scientific inventories. It is only with these types of collaborations that we will ever begin to get a sense of the true biodiversity of Hawaii,” said fungi expert Dr. Nicole A. Hynson, assistant professor in the Department of Botany at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

“The BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival presented an incredible opportunity to connect the community with leading scientists, international sister parks and cultural practitioners this weekend,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “This event embodies our National Park Service centennial mission to encourage everyone to ‘Find Your Park’ — literally — by exploring and understanding our vital connection to our natural world.”

“The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz was a wonderful combination of past, present and future,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president for Research, Conservation and Exploration. “It was exciting to bring together Western science and traditional Hawaiian culture and pair it with the great iNaturalist app, smartphones and pumped-up cell service courtesy of Verizon. I hope this holistic approach serves as a model for other BioBlitzes and scientific endeavors.”

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Parks BioBlitz was the ninth in a series of 10 annual BioBlitzes hosted by the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service leading up to the National Park Service centennial in 2016. During closing ceremonies, the BioBlitz flag was passed to Karen Cucurullo, acting superintendent for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, and Dr. Michael Stebbins, assistant director for biotechnology in the science division of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. The 2016 National Capital Parks BioBlitz will feature inventory activities at national park sites in and around Washington, D.C., May 20-21, next year. The capital celebration will be the cornerstone of BioBlitzes and biodiversity events at U.S. national parks that same weekend.

The first BioBlitz hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service was held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., in 2007. The second took place at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California in 2008. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was the site of the third BioBlitz in 2009; Biscayne National Park outside Miami was the 2010 site; Saguaro National Park in Tucson was the 2011 BioBlitz site; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado was the 2012 host park; in 2013, BioBlitz took place at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve outside New Orleans; and Golden Gate National Parks in Northern California was the site of BioBlitz 2014.

Verizon was the lead sponsor of the 2015 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz. Generous individual, organization and foundation support was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr., Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, Harold M. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Edmund C. Olson Trust II and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Additional generous corporate supporters included Kona Brewing Company, KapohoKine Adventures, First Hawaiian Bank, Roberts Hawai‘i, Alaska Airlines and Big Island Candies. In-kind donations were received from Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company LLC, KTA Super Stores, Hawai‘i Forest & Trail, Impact Photographics and Aloha Crater Lodge.

 

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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NOTES: Images for media use are available at http://ftp.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/bioblitz.

Username: press, password: press.

 

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Kids Magazine Arrives in Australia and New Zealand in June

National GeographicNewsFeed - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 18:00

SYDNEY, Australia (May 19, 2015)—Creature Media and the National Geographic Society announce an Australian and New Zealand first with the launch next month of one of the world’s biggest-selling children’s magazines: National Geographic Kids. Tailored specifically for Australian and New Zealand readers, National Geographic Kids AU & NZ aims to get kids excited about the world around them.

Joan-Maree Hargreaves, editor of National Geographic Kids AU & NZ, said: “With spectacular photography, epic stories of human and animal adventure, plus games and puzzles, we hope to inspire parents and children to come together and make learning about the natural world fun!”

The first issue, on sale from 4 June, will illuminate the extreme conditions of penguin parenting in Antarctica and uncover the thrilling adventures of Shark Girl, also known as Madison Stewart. Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, better known as Dr. Karl, will be a regular contributor to the magazine, sharing his distinctive science know-how. “To kids, the world can feel like a very big place,” said Dr. Karl. “Science gives them the tools to understand it.”

Professor Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist for Australia, said National Geographic Kids will ignite kids’ passion for learning. “We need to give young minds every chance to light the spark of interest in science and technology. Encouraging that curiosity, wonder and enthusiasm will help inspire the next generation of scientists and be critically important to the future of our planet.”

“We’re excited to have Australia and New Zealand as part of the Nat Geo Kids family. They’re really going to be amazing partners in our mission to excite and inspire a new generation of explorers,” said Rachel Buchholz, editor in chief and vice president, National Geographic Kids Magazines and Digital.

With a whole world of reading, discovery and fun, National Geographic Kids AU & NZ is everything an inquisitive young mind needs. Those who subscribe to the magazine before 31 October 2015 will receive a “Kid Goes FREE” voucher for SEA LIFE and WILD LIFE attractions* across Australia and New Zealand. To subscribe, visit www.ngkids.com.au/subscribe.

* Valid at: (NSW) SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary; (VIC) SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium; (QLD) Underwater World SEA LIFE Mooloolaba and WILD LIFE Hamilton Island; (New Zealand) Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium.   

 

About National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids inspires young adventurers to explore the world through award-winning magazines, books, apps, games, toys, videos, events and a website, and is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organization at its core. National Geographic Kids magazine has seen huge success since its launch in 1975 in the United States as National Geographic World magazine. The Australian/New Zealand edition is the 18th local-language edition of the magazine, preceded by the Azerbaijani edition in February 2015. Other local-language editions are available in Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Latin America, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovenia, South Africa (Afrikaans and English), Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. National Geographic Kids has a worldwide circulation of approximately 1.6 million.

About Creature Media

Since 2012, Creature Media Ltd has been creating engaging and inspiring content for children across print, digital and Web under the National Geographic Kids brand. Serving over 800,000 children across three continents, Creature Media is dedicated to getting children excited about their world. Creature Media is a privately owned company based in London, England.

About National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Categories: National Geographic

SUP Board Demo Days

Water Sports Braylake - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 16:24
STARBOARD / RED PADDLE - SUP DEMO 14th/15th/16th June

With the ever increasing popularity of this fast growing sport, there is equally an ever increasing range of boards, paddles and accessories to be sampled and discovered.  And what could be better than a demo day where  a couple of top SUP board manufacturers  bringing along their full range of kit just for you to try out.

Over the 3 days in June  you will  have an opportunity  to try out lots of  lovely new kit and  also have a chance to improve your technique or perhaps even try out SUPing for the first time.

Here…

Categories: Water Sports

National Geographic Magazine, June 2015

National GeographicNewsFeed - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 21:58

Full-size PDF of press release available here.

Categories: National Geographic

Cadets show the way

Booker High Wycombe - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 19:50
George and HNK The spell of good weather this week has led to some good x/c flying this week but honours must go to the cadets with George H doing his silver distance to Membury in HNK and Hugh C
completing one of his Bronze legs. Well done guys!
 
Categories: Gliding

National Geographic and TOMS Partner to Promote Awareness of Big Cats

National GeographicNewsFeed - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 20:04

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES (May 14, 2015)—National Geographic, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, and TOMS, the One for One® shoes and accessories company, have partnered to support National Geographic’s big cats conservation efforts. Together, they will develop the TOMS and National Geographic Big Cats Collection, a special-edition line of footwear, sunglasses and a backpack inspired by National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative. The collection will be available this fall at TOMS retail locations, select retailers and on Toms.com.

Big cats in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate and may disappear altogether within our lifetime. Since 2009, National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative has worked to reverse this decline through on-the-ground conservation and education projects. The new special-edition line with TOMS has been created to promote awareness of this critical issue.

“Our Big Cats Initiative is one of the cornerstones of National Geographic’s work in animal conservation and wildlife protection,” said Krista Newberry, senior vice president of Licensing, North America, for National Geographic. “We are pleased to partner with TOMS to raise awareness of big cats and to further our commitment to protecting these majestic creatures for generations to come.”

“I am excited to announce our partnership with National Geographic as part of the TOMS Animal Initiative. It’s been a dream of mine to work with big cats and this incredible organization. I look forward to sharing the new collection and continuing our journey together to drive awareness,” said Heather Mycoskie, TOMS chief animal lover.

Each design in the TOMS and National Geographic Big Cats Collection will feature National Geographic branding and imagery from the Society’s image archive. National Geographic’s net proceeds support its nonprofit work in conservation, exploration, education and cultural preservation.

To find out more about the Big Cats Initiative’s work to stop the decline of lions, leopards, tigers and other big cats, visit causeanuproar.org/TOMS.

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About TOMS

In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One®.

Realizing that One for One could serve other global needs, Blake launched TOMS Eyewear in 2011 to help restore sight to persons in need with every purchase of sunglasses and optical frames. In 2014, TOMS Roasting Co. launched with the mission to provide clean water to developing communities with the purchase of premium coffee.

The most recent TOMS give is tied into the TOMS Bag Collection, which launched in early 2015 and helps to provide safe births to mothers and babies in need through skilled birth attendant training and birth kits.

TOMS is in business to help improve lives. We identify global needs and create products to help address them. This simple idea is what makes us more than a company — we’re a movement that’s continually evolving.

Categories: National Geographic

Karan Menon of New Jersey Wins 2015 National Geographic Bee and $50,000 College Scholarship

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 19:54

Students from Michigan and Arkansas Take Second and Third Place

Final Round to Air Friday, May 15, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic Channel and Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD

WASHINGTON (May 13, 2015)—Karan Menon of Edison, New Jersey, a 14-year-old eighth grader at John Adams Middle School, took top honors at the 27th annual National Geographic Bee held today at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. In addition to earning the title of National Geographic Bee champion, Karan received a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an expedition for two to the Galápagos Islands aboard the Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour.

The second-place winner and recipient of a $25,000 college scholarship was 11-year-old Shriya Yarlagadda of Grand Blanc, Michigan, a sixth grader at Grand Blanc East Middle School. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to Sojas Wagle of Springdale, Arkansas, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Southwest Junior High School.

Karan answered all seven championship-round questions correctly to win the title. Shriya missed just the first question: “Mariupol, a city located at the mouth of the Kalmius River, is located on what sea that is an arm of the Black Sea?” Answer: “Sea of Azov.” The final question, which clinched the win for Karan, was: “If completed, the proposed Grand Inga Dam would become the world’s largest hydropower plant. This dam would be built near Inga Falls on which African river?” Answer: “Congo River.”

Karan is the second New Jersey student to win the National Geographic Bee. In 1996, seventh-grader Seyi Fayanju was the national champion.

Fifty-four state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2015 National Geographic Bee on Monday, May 11. The top 10 finishers in the preliminary rounds met in this morning’s final round, which was moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. The seven other finalists, who each won $500, were Kapil Nathan, a 10-year-old fifth grader from Birmingham, Alabama; Nicholas Monahan, a 12-year-old sixth grader from McCall, Idaho; Patrick Taylor, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Coralville, Iowa; Abhinav Karthikeyan, a 12-year-old sixth grader from Germantown, Maryland; Lucy Chae, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Newton Centre, Massachusetts; Shreyas Varathan, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Shakopee, Minnesota; and Tejas Badgujar, a 13-year-old eighth grader from Allison Park, Pennsylvania.

A new addition to this year’s National Geographic Bee was an off-site challenge. The top 10 contestants travelled to the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., where they answered questions covering the geography of plants — including a plant that explodes and another that smells like rotting flesh.

The final round of the Bee will be aired on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 15, and on Nat Geo WILD at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Wednesday, May 20. It will also be aired on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

More than 4 million students in over 11,000 schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the 2015 National Geographic Bee, which was sponsored for the seventh year by Google.

NOTE: B-roll, photos from the preliminary and final rounds and other press resources, including profiles of the 54 state champions, are available on our press room: http://bit.ly/GeoBee2015.

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Media Contacts:

For first-place winner: Rebecca Penovich, (301) 807-0362, rpenovich@ngs.org

For second-place winner: Beth Furtwangler, (202) 457-8223, bfurtwangler@ngs.org

For third-place winner: Eric Tunell, (202) 862-8278, etunell@ngs.org

Categories: National Geographic

Sedona-Verde Valley to Launch New National Geographic Tourism Initiative

National GeographicNewsFeed - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 20:16

SEDONA, Arizona (May 12, 2015)—Organizations in the Arizona communities of Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Camp Verde, Jerome and Yavapai-Apache Nation are joining with National Geographic Maps to highlight the world-class natural and cultural attractions of the Verde Valley. The program is designed to support the economic health of the region by promoting geotourism: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.

The community-based nomination process launched today by the Sedona-Verde Valley Tourism Council is the first public step in building a National Geographic co-branded website known as a “Geotourism MapGuide.” This interactive marketing platform will highlight unique, authentic attractions on both public and private lands in Sedona and the Verde Valley. The website will launch in fall 2015.

“Collaboration among our communities and participation by local residents are the hallmark of what make this initiative great,” said Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. “Our goal is to use this process to bring our region closer together and to showcase our stunning nature, vibrant arts scene, great shopping, exceptional dining and burgeoning wineries. Together with National Geographic, we want to guarantee that tourism remains a vibrant and healthy industry in the Verde Valley while ensuring that the area’s natural attributes are preserved for many years to come.”

Residents and visitors are invited to nominate landmarks, attractions, activities, events and even local foods that define the region’s character and distinctive appeal. Nominations may be made through July 15 at sedonaverdevalley.org/geotourism. Public forums and presentations will be conducted in communities throughout the Verde Valley the week of May 11 with a representative from National Geographic to encourage nominations and community involvement.

“The National Geographic Maps Division is pleased to have the opportunity to spotlight this region and, in doing so, support and sustain it as one of the treasured natural places on the globe,” said James Dion, director of tourism programs, National Geographic Maps. “The Sedona-Verde Valley geotourism website will celebrate the area’s abundant scenic, cultural and historical attributes from the unique vantage point of those who live there.”

Beyond open-to-the-public map point nomination, the MapGuide development process calls for oversight by a regional committee. The Sedona-Verde Valley Tourism Council has brought together a large group of the region’s Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development departments, natural resource managers, Yavapai-Apache Nation community members and local businesses to direct the MapGuide development process. A primary task for the regional committee will be to review and sort nomination submissions prior to sending them to National Geographic, which will have the final say on the selected content.

Online Geotourism MapGuides have been published for the U.S. Gulf Coast States (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida), Bahamas, Newfoundland (Canada), Douro Valley (Portugal), Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia), Bocas del Toro and Roatan, (Panama, Honduras), Central Cascades (Oregon, Washington), Crown of the Continent (Alberta, British Columbia, Montana), Four Corners (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah), East Tennessee River Valley, Greater Yellowstone (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), Lakes to Locks Passage (New York), Redwood Coast (California), and Sierra Nevada (California).

National Geographic Maps was established as a division of the National Geographic Society in 1915 and has been producing maps for National Geographic magazine and other Society groups for 100 years. National Geographic Maps produces outdoor recreation mapping software, Trails Illustrated maps and software, globes, wall maps, travel maps and atlases. For more information on National Geographic Maps, visit natgeomaps.com.

Categories: National Geographic

ADVISORY: 10 Students Qualify for 2015 National Geographic Bee Championship Round, May 13

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 20:25

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHO/WHAT:

The preliminary round of the 27th annual National Geographic Bee was held today, Monday, May 11. The top 10 finishers — from the field of 54 state-level winners who took part in the prelims — will compete in the final round to be held at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 13. First prize is a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galápagos Islands. Second- and third-place winners receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships respectively. This round of the competition will be aired on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 15, and on Nat Geo WILD at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Wednesday, May 20.

The 10 finalists are:

  • Kapil Nathan — Alabama
  • Sojas Wagle — Arkansas
  • Nicholas Monahan — Idaho
  • Patrick Taylor — Iowa
  • Abhinav Karthikeyan — Maryland
  • Lucy Chae — Massachusetts
  • Shriya Yarlagadda — Michigan
  • Shreyas Varathan — Minnesota
  • Karan Menon — New Jersey
  • Tejas Badgujar — Pennsylvania

 

WHEN/WHERE:

Wednesday, May 13

Doors open to the media:          8:15 a.m. ET

Doors close:                             9:30 a.m. ET

Competition:                             10 a.m. to ~11:30 a.m. ET

 

National Geographic Society

Grosvenor Auditorium

1600 M Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C.

*Contestants as well as National Geographic spokespersons will be available for interviews directly after the competition.

 

CONTACTS:

Kelsey Flora, National Geographic, (202) 828-8023, kflora@ngs.org

Farley Fitzgerald, National Geographic, (202) 775-6119, ffitzgerald@ngs.org

ONLINE PRESS ROOM: press.nationalgeographic.com/geo-bee/

Photos available via DropBox (required caption and credit info enclosed)

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Categories: National Geographic

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to Host BioBlitz 2015

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 14:00

Join Top Scientists, Students and the Public in Race to Count Species and Celebrate Connection of Science and Hawaiian Culture 
May 15 and 16, 2015

 35th Annual Cultural Festival Moved to May and Expanded to Include Biodiversity

HAWAII NATIONAL PARK, Hawai‘i (May 11, 2015)—Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s diverse ecological zones provide refuge for many distinct plant and animal communities, including endangered endemic species such as the nēnē (Hawaiian goose) and the Mauna Loa silversword, which flowers only once in its life. The fascinating geology and biology are vital components of the cultural heritage of indigenous Hawaiian people. To better understand, appreciate and protect this natural and cultural treasure, the National Park Service and National Geographic are hosting a two-day BioBlitz species count and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, 2015.

Themed I ka nānā no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns”), the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture. It will bring together more than 170 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 850 students and thousands from the general public. Together, they will be dispatched across the park’s 333,086 acres to explore and document the biodiversity that thrives in recent lava flows and native rain forests of Kīlauea volcano.

“We are honored to host BioBlitz 2015,” said Cindy Orlando, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s superintendent. “BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park.”

In connection with the BioBlitz opportunity, the park is moving its 35th annual Cultural Festival from July to May this year and expanding it to include biodiversity. At the two-day festival, visitors of all ages will discover how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards, embodying “I ka nānā no a ‘ike” principles that continue today. The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will offer hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment, plus the opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture — and to learn how to join their efforts. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is the ninth in a series of 10 BioBlitzes co-hosted by the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service at different national parks across the country, leading up the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.

“Each year, the BioBlitz evolves,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president of Research, Conservation and Exploration. “Last year we moved away from paper data sheets and used smartphones and the iNaturalist app to photograph, identify and map species finds, adding more detailed information to both Park Service and international species databases. This year, we are going to build on that and blend technology with Hawaiian culture. This exciting, holistic approach will enhance our appreciation for the amazing resources in this breathtaking park and establish a more complete model for scientific exploration in Hawai‘i and around the globe.”

A longtime partner of the National Park Service, the National Geographic Society helped draft legislation to establish the Service in 1916. It has given many grants to create and sustain national parks across the United States and has extensively covered the parks in its media for nearly a century. The BioBlitz program is the latest successful collaboration between the two partners. The first BioBlitz took place in 2007 at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Others have been held at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California in 2008; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2009; Biscayne National Park in Florida in 2010; Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011; Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado, in 2012; Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve outside New Orleans in 2013; and last year in Golden Gate National Parks in Northern California. Smaller-scale events take place throughout the year at various national parks across the country. For more information, visit nature.nps.gov/biology/biodiversity/.

Verizon is the lead sponsor of the 2015 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz. Generous individual, organization and foundation support has been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr., Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association,  Harold M. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Edmund C. Olson Trust II, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Additional generous corporate supporters include Kona Brewing Company, KapohoKine Adventures, First Hawaiian Bank, Roberts Hawai‘i, Alaska Airlines and Big Island Candies. In-kind donations have been received from Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company LLC, KTA Super Stores, Hawai‘i Forest & Trail, Impact Photographics and Aloha Crater Lodge.

 

How to Get Involved:

Public registration is now open. To be part of a scientist-led inventory team, participants must register online at nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz. Participation on inventory teams is limited, and spots will be filled on a first-come basis. Children ages 8 and older, accompanied by adults, may participate in the free inventory opportunities.

Everybody can enjoy hands-on fun at the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. BioBlitz base camp and the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will be located at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater near the Kīlauea Visitors Center in the park. No registration is required for the festival.  Entrance fees are waived for both days. To learn more about BioBlitz and the festival, visit nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz or call (800) 638-6400, ext. 6186. For more information about the parks, visit nps.gov/havo.

 

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

 

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Studios Presents ‘ROBOTS 3D’ Narrated by Simon Pegg as ‘RoboThespian’

National GeographicNewsFeed - Fri, 05/08/2015 - 18:27

Opens in IMAX®, Giant Screen, 15/70 Dome and Digital 3D Cinemas in North America on June 5, 2015

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2015)—There are millions of astonishing robots in existence — and innovators at the forefront of the robot revolution are taking robotics to the next level with the new generation of these awe-inspiring machines: humanoid robots that can work like us, play like us, learn and even look like us. This summer, a new 3D/2D giant screen film experience from National Geographic Studios gives audiences an inside look at how hard it is to mimic what we humans can do as well as what it means to be a humanoid. ROBOTS premieres in giant screen, IMAX® and digital 3D cinemas around the United States and worldwide beginning June 5, 2015.

In ROBOTS, host and narrator RoboThespian — a humanoid robot voiced by actor, comedian and filmmaker Simon Pegg (“Star Trek”; “Shaun of the Dead”) — takes audiences on a lively tour of the world to meet a dozen of the most remarkable robots in Europe, Japan and the United States. From Robonaut, the first space robot handyman, to robot butlers and home-helper humanoids to eerily human-looking androids to search-and-rescue robots, the film showcases the latest cutting-edge efforts — as well as the challenges — driving roboticists, engineers and scientists around the globe to new breakthroughs.

Directed by Mike Slee (“Flight of the Butterflies”; “Bugs!”) and produced by Jini Dürr (“Mysteries of the Unseen World”; “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure”), ROBOTS provides rare access to labs where researchers are putting robots through their paces, striving to replicate human capabilities such as mobility, locomotion and dexterity, using sensory data and visual perception. Getting a machine to move or think like a human, or to sense, plan and act, is no easy feat. Given the complexities and capabilities of the human brain, hands, feet and face alone — not to mention the number of muscles and joints — robot researchers have their work cut out for them in developing humanoids that won’t just achieve human potential, but could one day surpass it.

“This film will really open people’s eyes and make them think about how amazing these machines are, how amazing human beings are and how complicated it is to make a machine that can do what we do,” said Slee.

ROBOTS not only gives remarkable insight into what is currently going on in
robotics labs around the world and the extraordinary leaps that have been made in the field, but also highlights the complexities of human ability,” said Dürr.

The 40-minute large-format film explores the latest in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, humanoid cognition and human-robot interaction as well as exciting developments in cloud robotics.

ROBOTS also travels to the DARPA Robotics Challenge, the intense two-day competition to test how robots might deal with disasters, staged by the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as a response to Japan’s 2011 Fukushima earthquake. The competition tested rival all-purpose rescue robots’ abilities to perform tasks such as driving, walking on rough terrain, clearing debris, opening doors, using a power tool and turning a safety valve, all during catastrophic conditions.

An original production from Day’s End Pictures for National Geographic Studios, ROBOTS was produced in partnership with Lockheed Martin. Symantec is an educational outreach partner, while the National 4-H Council and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers are promotional partners for the film. Executive producers are Brooke Runnette and Lisa Truitt. Sean MacLeod Phillips is director of photography.

ROBOTS will captivate on every level,” said Brooke Runnette, president of National Geographic Studios. “Dazzling visuals and a tremendously entertaining story filled with real scientific adventure and technological innovation are all wrapped up in the eye-popping giant screen package.”

MEET THE HUMANOID ROBOTS:

With RoboThespian as a guide, the film highlights the featured aptitudes of each robot. Among the humanoids that ROBOTS introduces to audiences are:

  • “HRP-2”: Designed to study locomotion, this bipedal bot can crawl and walk.
  • “ASIMO”: Honda’s famed humanoid can jump and run up to 5 mph.
  • “ATLAS”: This 6-foot, 330-pound, search-and-rescue robot navigates rough terrain.
  • “COMAN”: Just try to knock down this small headless wonder with the flexible joints.
  • “HERB THE BUTLER”: Thanks to this helper, we may never have to clear the table or do dishes again.
  • “ROBONAUT”: NASA’s space handyman helps astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • “CHIMP”: This humanoid “sees” by using laser light and sending out pulses that bounce back, like a bat uses echolocation.
  • “JUSTIN”: You will definitely want this robot on your team. It has a 90 percent accuracy rate for catching balls.
  • “iCUB”: This adorable robot is designed to look like a child and to learn like one.
  • “PR-2”: This robot could tie shoes and fold laundry because of its ability to recognize shapes and manipulate soft and flexible materials.
  • ANDROIDS: The human face has over 40 muscles to express emotions like fear, anger, surprise, happiness — and these androids are programmed to simulate these human-like behaviors. One day, they may be built to think, act and react like us.
  • “NAO”: This small humanoid used for education is a huge favorite with kids everywhere.

ROBOTS gives audiences a fascinating and exciting look at what makes us human, how far machines must go to look and act like us and how humanoids are already changing our world. Addressing technological and philosophical questions with clarity and humor, the film provides a glimpse into a future in which man and machine forge an increasingly sophisticated relationship.

For more information on ROBOTS, including theater listings, links to the trailer and behind-the-scenes videos, visit robotsfilm.com or movies.nationalgeographic.com. Become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/NatGeoMovies. Or follow us on Twitter @NatGeoMovies. For downloadable images and video, log in to the press assets site (username: press; password: press): http://press2.nationalgeographic.com/downloads/film_robots/.

About National Geographic Studios

National Geographic Studios is the video and film production division of the National Geographic Society, a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. From television series and specials to giant screen, from mobile video to digital news and educational content, National Geographic Studios’ productions embody the Society’s long-standing reputation for stunning visuals and captivating storytelling. National Geographic Studios has received nearly 150 Emmy Awards and almost 1,000 other industry accolades, including recognition from the Peabody Awards, DuPont Columbia Awards, multiple film and museum industry awards and the highest honors from natural history film festivals. National Geographic Studios also produces and distributes giant screen and digital 3D films for the museum cinema industry. Brooke Runnette is president of National Geographic Studios.

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Books’ ‘Getting Your Shot’ Takes Readers on Assignment to Shoot Like a Pro

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 05/04/2015 - 22:00

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2015)—For anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a National Geographic photographer, a new book may bring them one step closer. GETTING YOUR SHOT: Stunning Photos, How-To Tips, and Endless Inspiration From the Pros (National Geographic Books; ISBN: 978-1-4262-1534-6 (paperback); May 5, 2015; $19.95) is a comprehensive guide to capturing the kind of inspirational imagery for which National Geographic is renowned. Illustrated with more than 200 breathtaking images from National Geographic’s thriving photo community, “Your Shot,” the book includes practical tips and creative advice to motivate and nurture the visual storyteller in all of us.

GETTING YOUR SHOT features an introduction from acclaimed National Geographic photographer Lynn Johnson, who sees photography as a “portal into the world.” Johnson is one of many photographers who have provided assignments and guidance to the Your Shot community. With so many breathtaking images curated from this group over the past nine years, National Geographic decided to create a book. Aimed at photographers of all levels, GETTING YOUR SHOT is the ultimate how-to book for learning how to capture the perfect shot.

The book opens with the fundamentals of photography, covering everything from the features of a digital camera to photography gear to techniques for composition, lighting, focus, exposure and more.

Ready to start shooting? Just as in a National Geographic photo workshop, National Geographic photo editors and photographers step into the role of teacher with an in-depth photo assignment section spanning a wide array of themes, including self-portraits; spontaneous adventure; representing a daydream; foodscapes; landscapes; and how to visualize love. Each of the 17 photo assignments starts with guidance and tips from a National Geographic photo editor or photographer and is illustrated with evocative images from Your Shot photographers. All of the images are accompanied by commentary from National Geographic experts. Some have sidebars that provide tips; others have the photographer’s story as a sidebar.

The book also includes a glossary of photography terms and a section titled “The Photographer’s Notebook,” which provides detailed information about each image, including camera model, focal length, shutter speed and aperture.

GETTING YOUR SHOT is geared toward both novices wanting to broaden their knowledge and photo aficionados. “It doesn’t really matter how expensive your camera is — DSLR or smartphone — or whether you call yourself a pro, hobbyist or a beginner,” writes Johnson in her introduction. “We are addicted to looking through that miniscule window to witness the wide world… to the privilege of documenting a moment, to the sense of purpose that lifts us above the everyday.”

 

About Your Shot

Your Shot began in 2006 as a way for aspiring photographers to get published in the pages of National Geographic magazine Today, the Your Shot photo community comprises more than a half-million members from 196 countries, who tell stories through photography. The Your Shot mission is to tell stories collaboratively through big, bold photography and expert curation. The community is open to photographers of all levels — from beginners to professionals. National Geographic photo editors and photographers regularly select their favorite Your Shot images for publication online and in National Geographic magazine.

About National Geographic Books

National Geographic Books creates and distributes print and digital works that inspire, entertain, teach and give readers access to a world of discovery — and possibility. Each year, we publish more than 150 new books for adults, families and children on a wide range of nonfiction subjects, from animals to travel, cartography to history, fun facts to moving stories. National Geographic books are available in 38 languages and more than 60 countries and in countless bookstores, mass-market outlets, schools, libraries and specialty retailers throughout the world.

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Surpasses 1 Billion Likes, 17 Million Followers on Instagram; Top Non-Celebrity Account on Social Media Network

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 05/04/2015 - 20:44

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2015)—National Geographic’s Instagram account, @natgeo, is officially the top non-celebrity account on social media and the only media brand among the 20 most popular Instagram accounts. Recently surpassing 17 million followers and 1 billion likes, National Geographic’s account has followers in every country in the world, with over 70 percent from outside the United States. Additionally, more than 75 percent of National Geographic’s followers are millennials.

“The @natgeo account represents the best of Instagram, with images that instantly transport you to some of the most unique and remote places in the world. With its team of photographers, National Geographic has embraced the storytelling possibilities of Instagram and built an enormous following with a diverse, new generation of people who can explore the world through its imagery,” said Amanda Kelso, director of community at Instagram.

“One of the keys to our success on Instagram has been the incredible collaboration between our photo team and some of the best photojournalists in the world. By handing over the keys to photographers who are out in the field, we’ve been able to give our Instagram followers immediate and intimate access to the tremendous work National Geographic is doing every day,” said Rajiv Mody, National Geographic’s vice president of social media. “Now, we’re excited to expand our efforts on Instagram by launching new accounts to further engage our community and expand our overall presence on the platform.”

National Geographic has recently launched two new Instagram accounts: @natgeoyourshot, drawing on spectacular images from National Geographic’s Your Shot photo community, and @natgeoadventure, which is an extension of National Geographic Adventure and features the world’s best outdoor adventurers and photographers.

Categories: National Geographic

Maggie Zackowitz Appointed Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Travel

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 04/29/2015 - 15:00

WASHINGTON (April 29, 2015)—Maggie Zackowitz, formerly director of short-form content for National Geographic magazine, has been appointed editor-in-chief of National Geographic Travel. She will be the head of all travel content, including serving as editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine and leading National Geographic’s digital and social media travel strategy. Zackowitz will report to Chris Johns, National Geographic’s chief content officer.

“As a seasoned journalist, Maggie brings a wealth of writing and digital experience to her new role. She will add a fresh, fun perspective to the travel space while continuing to focus on transformative, experiential and unique travel experiences,” Johns said.

“I have built my career on creating smart, fun, surprising content for National Geographic. My vision is to do the same for National Geographic Travel, capturing the magic moments of travel in both print and in the digital space,” Zackowitz said. “We will be focusing on relatable travel, so there will be something for all readers, no matter what their interests.”

Zackowitz and her staff will tap into National Geographic’s unparalleled access to local and global resources through its magazines’ local-language editions. There are 17 local-language editions of National Geographic Traveler magazine and 40 local-language editions of National Geographic magazine. “We can make any place in the world relatable to our readers, because we have experts on the ground in so many destinations,” Zackowitz said.

In addition to the print magazine, Zackowitz will oversee National Geographic Travel’s digital offerings, including its annual photo contest and blogging network as well as its social media presence. National Geographic is a leader in the social media travel category, with nearly 8.5 million followers across all platforms at present.

National Geographic also announced today the formation of a new Editorial Council of Travel Advisors under the leadership of Kimberly Connaghan, vice president and publisher, Global Media Travel and Partnerships, and Zackowitz. This group of experienced travel writers will work to build larger global partnerships. The Editorial Council members are Robert Reid, Annie Fitzsimmons, George Stone, Andrew Nelson and Costas Christ.

Prior to being National Geographic magazine’s director of short-form content, Zackowitz was chief of the magazine’s Departments section. She also handled National Geographic special blogging projects, such as the first real-time blogging of an Everest ascent. In 2014, she founded the National Geographic food blog, “The Plate.”

Zackowitz has a B.A. in political science from Arizona State University.

 

About National Geographic Travel

National Geographic Travel is the travel arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, founded in 1888. National Geographic Travel creates authentic, meaningful and engaging travel experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World; travel books; maps; digital travel content; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (eight issues per year) is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 17 international editions. National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 80 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group shares its inspiring and authoritative digital content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps with its @NatGeoTravel community of nearly 8.5 million. National Geographic Travel books bring readers curated travel advice, photography and insider tips. Follow National Geographic Travel on TwitterFacebook, TumblrPinterestInstagram and Google+.

Categories: National Geographic

Geography Whiz Kids to Vie for 2015 National Geographic Bee Champion Title and $85,000 in College Scholarships

National GeographicNewsFeed - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 19:51

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015)—Fifty-four of the nation’s top geography students will gather in Washington, D.C., from May 11 to 13 to take part in the 27th annual National Geographic Bee. The fourth- through eighth-graders, who range in age from 10 to 14, will be competing for the chance to be the 2015 national champion and win one of three college scholarships. Google is the sponsor of this year’s contest.

The 2015 National Geographic Bee champion will receive the top prize of a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Additionally, the national champion will travel (along with one parent or guardian) to the Galápagos on an all-expenses-paid expedition aboard the Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour. Travel for the Galápagos voyage is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. The second- and third-place finalists will be awarded college scholarships of $25,000 and $10,000, respectively.

The preliminary round of the 2015 National Geographic Bee will take place on Monday, May 11. The top 10 finishers will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 13, moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. The finals of the National Geographic Bee will air on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 15, and on Nat Geo WILD at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Wednesday, May 20. The finals will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

The 54 finalists, winners of their National Geographic State Bees, represent the 50 states, District of Columbia, Atlantic Territories, Pacific Territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools. These 54 finalists used their geographic knowledge to rise above nearly 4 million fourth- through eighth-grade students across the United States and territories to earn a place in the national championship.

Seven of the students taking part in this year’s National Geographic Bee are repeat state winners, including two who are competing for the third time. The three-time returnees are Mika Ishii of Hawaii, who represented her state at the 2012 and 2014 National Geographic Bees, and Abhinav Karthikeyan of Maryland, who competed in the 2013 and 2014 National Geographic Bees.

Two-time state winners are Cameron Danesh of Arizona and Grace Rembert from Montana, who both competed in the 2013 national competition; and Chinmay Patil of Kansas, Brendan Pennington of Nebraska and Gauri Garg of Utah, who took part in the 2014 contest.

A survey of this year’s finalists shows that they have numerous talents in addition to their prodigious geography knowledge. Many have won math, science and spelling contests; a number play musical instruments; and most enjoy a variety of sports and other outdoor activities. Teachers top the list of people (apart from their parents) whom the students admire.

Gary Knell, National Geographic Society president and CEO, said, “The National Geographic Bee teaches students not just about names and places but about the world and how it works, empowering them to become Earth’s stewards and make it a better place. The National Geographic Bee exemplifies National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world and our ongoing commitment to education.”

Google is sponsoring the Bee for the seventh year. “Geography is an integral part of how we live and do business, and it’s important that we continue to invest in geographic literacy and education. Our teams at Google are honored that young minds across the globe are using Google Earth as an educational tool to deepen their understanding of both natural and human geography. The National Geographic Bee fosters learning and inspires this future generation, and we’re thrilled to sponsor the program again this year,” said Jennifer Fitzpatrick, vice president of engineering, Google Earth and Maps.

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. Everyone can test their geography knowledge with the exciting GeoBee Challenge, an online geography quiz at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee, which poses 10 new questions a day. An additional 1,000 questions culled from past Bees can be accessed on the “National Geographic GeoBee Challenge” app, available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; from the Android Market; or for NOOK Color.

The 2014 National Geographic Bee champion was Akhil Rekulapelli of Virginia, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn. He was the first student from Virginia to win the competition. The winning question was: “The discovery of a major shale oil deposit in the Vaca Muerta formation in 2010 has led to an expansion of oil drilling in the Neuquén province in what country?” Answer: Argentina.

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 625 million people through our digital, print and TV platforms as well as our events and experiences. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Note to Editors: Press resources and profiles of the 54 state champions can be found at the Geo Bee press room: press.nationalgeographic.com/geo-bee.

Videos of many of the finalists will be posted at http://www.youtube.com/nationalgeographic beginning in early May.

The press room site will be updated at noon on Wednesday, May 13, with names and photos of the 2015 National Geographic Bee champion and the two runners-up as well as the winning question.

Categories: National Geographic