WMU Home > WMU News >

WMU News

Michigan's National Geographic Bee here Friday

April 3, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Middle-school geography whizzes from across the state will be on the Western Michigan University campus Friday, April 4, to compete for the Michigan title in a state Geographic Bee and a chance to travel to Washington, D.C., for the U.S. championship at National Geographic Society headquarters.

This will be the first time WMU will host Michigan's Geographic Bee. Similar competitions will take place on the same day in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and Department of Defense schools around the globe. Up to 100 fourth- to eighth-graders will compete in each location, with the state competitions organized by NGS and sponsored by Plum Creek, one of the nation's largest private landholders.

The event at WMU will be held in the Bernhard Center. Preliminary rounds in the competition will begin at 9:30 a.m. and take place in various areas of the center. The top geography student in Michigan will be selected from a field of 10 students who make it to the final round, which will begin at noon in the North Ballroom. Sarah Whitcomb, a former news anchor in the state and a clue crew member of television's "Jeopardy!" will be moderating the Michigan Bee.

Students competing at WMU earned their invitations to take part in the second level of the annual competition by winning bees at their schools and taking a written qualification test scored by the National Geographic Society. The top scorers in each state are eligible for the state-level competition.

The Michigan event will feature 100 students vying to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee, which will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, May 20-21, in Washington, D.C.

Each state winner will receive $100, a National Geographic Globe and an all-expense-paid trip to the national finals. At the national event, the championship round will be moderated by "Jeopardy!" quiz show host Alex Trebek for the 20th year. The event will be aired nationally May 21 on the National Geographic Channel. The finals also will be broadcast later on public television stations.

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. 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 will receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships.

Visitors to the "Bee" section of the National Geographic Society Web site at www.nationalgeographic.com/geographicbee can hone their geography skills by checking out the new GeoBee Challenge online game.

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. National Geographic has funded more than 8,800 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.

About Plum Creek

Plum Creek is the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the nation, with more than 8 million acres of timberlands in major timber-producing regions of the United States and 10 wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400