Published On: Wed, Apr 29th, 2015

Nat Geo ‘Geography Bee’ set for May

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 $50,000college 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.

National geographic beeThe 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.


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