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GeoBee State Competition and newly launched GeoChallenge reward student curiosity

“The Flinders River rises in the Great Dividing Range and flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria on which continent?” If you answered “Australia”, you’re correct! Thousands of students from across the United States and U.S. territories will test their geographic knowledge in the National Geographic GeoBee State Competition(formerly the National Geographic State Bee)on Friday, March 29. Additionally, for the first time this year, 183 student teams will participate in 16 regional National Geographic GeoChallengecompetitions, a project-based contest, on the same day. The joint competition events will be a day of celebration, exploration and learning.

Now in its 31st year, the National Geographic GeoBee is an academic competition for grades four through eight that helps to improve student knowledge of geography, world cultures, physical features, history and earth science. More than 2.5 million students (2,529,020) in nearly 10,000 schools competed this year in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools. After winning their school GeoBee, students took an online qualifying test and the top-100-ranked students in each stateadvanced to the state competition.

The National Geographic GeoChallengeempowers student teams to address a critical issue facing the planet, just like National Geographic Explorers. This year’s competition challenged students in grades five through eight across the country to learn about and create solutions to the urgent issue of single-use-plastic pollution in our waterways. Students used important skills such as teamwork, research, innovation, critical thinking and persuasive communication to develop their solutions, which included designing and creating a map highlighting the impacts of plastic waste, and producing a dynamic video about their solution. National Geographic Society Explorers and staff appraised project submissions and chose select teams to advance to the regional level.

“At the National Geographic Society, we are deeply committed to empowering the next generation of planetary stewards,” said National Geographic Society Executive Vice President and Chief Education Officer Vicki Phillips. “The GeoBee and GeoChallenge are tremendous opportunities to ignite the spirit of exploration — inspiring students to better understand the world around them, communicate their ideas and solve real challenges to address the critical issues facing our planet.”

The 54 winners of the GeoBee State Competition and the 16 winning teams of the regional GeoChallenge contests will advance to the national championships of their respective competitions at National Geographic Society headquarters inWashington, D.C., from May 19 to 22, 2019. Journalist and humorist Mo Rocca will host.

National Geographic GeoBee: The national championship preliminary rounds, in which all 54 state winners will take part, will take place on Monday, May 20. The top 10 students will compete in the semifinals on Tuesday, May 21. The national championship final rounds featuring the top three finalists will be held on Wednesday, May 22.

The National Champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll. The second-place and third-place winners will receive a $10,000 and $5,000 college scholarship, respectively. The top-10-scoring students will each receive $1,000 in cash. Visit for more information on the National Geographic GeoBee.

National Geographic GeoChallenge: The winning team of the competition will receive a $25,000 team prize and a trophy for their school. The winning team will also receive support and guidance to implement their GeoChallenge solution from National Geographic staff. The second- and third-place teams will receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, to implement their GeoChallenge solutions. More information about the National Geographic GeoChallenge is available at

Follow the national competitions at

About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. The Society aspires to create a community of change, advancing key insights about the planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time, all while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Its goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit

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