More students will get a chance to become an “everyday explorer” with the expansion this year of an in-school program sponsored by National Geographic Channel and its affiliates.
Last year, the network took the program to four cable markets and was able to reach 1,300 classrooms in New York’s Harlem; West Milwaukee, Wis.; La Jolla, Calif.; and China Grove and Gastonia, N.C.
Affiliates in 10 markets have agreed to participate this year, including Hampton Roads, Va.; Honolulu; Bresnan Communications systems in Montana; Kansas City, Mo.; Tampa, Fla.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Seattle.
“Everyday Explorers” provides suggestions for kids on how to investigate in their local community. One project, “Geographic Groceries,” directs students to the supermarket to investigate exotic foods. They determine where they are grown and mark those locations on a map.
As part of the local-affiliates program, the network creates lesson plans to be used by local schools. Local assemblies, conducted by on-air personalities, are later archived as broadband content on the network’s Web site.
Participating affiliates can sell local advertising as bumpers to the network’s “Tip Spots.” These public-service announcements advise children on local issues to explore.
This year’s campaign will focus on conservation, and will tap into the trend of photo blogging, said Todd Shoen, senior vice president of affiliate marketing for Fox Cable Networks. A very popular, but low-tech benefit of the campaign: the participating schools get large wall maps.
“That resonated very well with schools, even more than computers,” Shoen said. Many schools have maps that are very outdated, he noted.