A recent National Geographic Society survey revealed disturbing news: 87% of young Americans couldn't locate Iraq on a map, one-third couldn't find the Pacific Ocean, and 11% struck out when it came to pinpointing the United States.
Given these geographic shortcomings and kids' propensity for spending time on the computer, National Geographic Channel this fall will bow a multi-pronged educational outreach initiative, “Everyday Explorer.”
“When I think back to what I remember most from my school days, I recall most vividly the times I got out of the classroom, exploring the world around me,” NGC president Laureen Ong said in a statement. “As the network for viewers who 'Dare to Explore,' we wanted to work with our cable affiliates to facilitate that type of experiential learning. Everyday Explorer will inspire children, fuel their curiosity and expand their horizons.”
Working in conjunction with the National Geographic Society and Fox Cable Networks, the initiative will include lesson plans, giant world maps for participating schools and a dedicated Web site (www.everydayexplorer.com). The site will host exploration and activity guides for parents and kids.
Nat Geo, which will run on-air interstitial tips to encourage geographic learning, also plans to showcase a weekly Everyday Explorer series on Saturday mornings, with exploration-based programming families can watch together. The network also will develop public-service announcements about kids who explore and excel and provide them to local cable affiliates.
Nat Geo will launch the full program with cable operators in five markets this fall, and plans to sponsor local events, including scavenger hunts, zoo trips or a National Geographic school visit.
Affiliates outside the five launch markets also will have access to the educational materials, PSAs and high-speed content, according to Fox Cable executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing Lindsay Gardner.