National Geographic : 1994 Jun
THE PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON THE Education Foundation Finding the World Around the Block or once, teachers got to take a field trip to the zoo -and leave their students back in the classroom. The Washington, D. C., teachers weren't playing hooky though. The Society's Geog raphy Education Program and the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foun dation sponsored the study tour last March as part of a nationwide effort to help inner-city educators use local resources to make geography excit ing for their students. At the National Zoo's Amazonia exhibit they toured a simulated tropical rain forest and studied the plant life (above). In keeping with the theme of the D. C . workshop, "Brazil and the Amazon," they also visited the Brazilian Embassy. Virtually every block of every city holds a geography lesson. A church, an ethnic store or club, a museum can push back city borders that all too often become the ends of the earth for urban youngsters. While cities have endless lessons to teach, I believe the greatest learning resource of all is a support ive and informed family. That's the philosophy behind another Society educational effort about to be launched in several U. S. cities based on a model created by the Michigan Geographic Alliance. The Family Geography Challenge presents families with their own world maps. They're asked to post the map on the TV room wall, watch the evening news together once a week for ten weeks, and use the map to discuss current events. It works: The families not only learn geography together, they have fun. The Michigan program has had more than 6,000 families partici pate. In Lansing last February, 60 SISSE BRIMBERG children, parents, and grandparents braved a blizzard to attend a Family Geography Challenge workshop. Urban families find that the pro gram enhances their kids' ability to understand the world beyond their city limits. The IBJ (Industrial Bank of Japan) Foundation recently awarded a generous grant to the Society's Education Foundation to help expand the program to Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. The IBJ Foundation's goal in sup porting efforts like this is to educate a new generation of "global citi zens." President Yuji Suzuki adds, "The great value of the Family Ge ography Challenge is that it brings geography learning into the home." Thanks to such missions, kids can better see their place in the world and their role in shaping its future. /'//-/' ^/ THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY EDUCATION FOUNDATION WAS ESTABLISHED TO RAISE AND DISTRIBUTE FUNDS FOR EDUCATIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS.