National Geographic : 1994 Mar
THE PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON THE Education Foundation Digging Deep for Science and Education quiet rage seized Linda Grable-Curtis (below) when she read an article in which I lamented that American young sters were woefully lacking in geo graphic skills. "I've always loved geography and just had to do something to help bring it to life for kids," says a determined Linda, a career profes sional in the travel industry. From her corner of southwest Idaho, Linda approached the Soci ety with her desire to support our Education Foundation. She now makes an annual gift of $5,000. It takes a committed person to offer that kind of support to the furthering of geographic knowledge. In fact, Linda is one of some 14,000 individuals whose financial support keeps the Society's research and education programs growing. Those programs are paying off: U. S. schools are emphasizing geog raphy as a classroom subject, and youngsters are becoming more aware than ever of their world. "I really am a behind-the-scenes person," adds Linda. "I can do my part this way, out of the spotlight, and still get that warm fuzzy feeling that I'm doing some good. "Kids need to understand that among the world's people we are all very different, yet we are very simi lar. Geography brings that home." Contributions like Linda's sup port a broad range of educational activities, while other gifts and bequests from Society members and private donors are aimed at specific areas of study. For example, the estate of Helen Duplantis in 1992 earmarked more than $800,000 for the Society's sup port of oceanic research. Her gift is helping fund the work of marine biologist Rikk G. Kvitek (right). Rikk works at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories on California's Monterey Bay. For several weeks each year you'll find him diving in Canada's frigid Barrow Strait, studying huge gouges dug into the seafloor by moving icebergs and buckling ice fields. "It looks like a bunch of bull dozers have been at work digging trenches down there," he says. The scraping ice kills shellfish and other creatures, but it also acts as a plow, turning up nutrient-rich sediment and giving rise to vast carpets of microscopic plant life. "These nearshore areas are a chief source of food for walruses, seals, and whales in the Arctic," says Rikk. "As our climate shows signs of changing, ice formation and movement are bound to be affected. We need to understand the relation ship between ice gouging and sea floor life, and what impact global warming might have on it." Rikk is in his second year of this ongoing study, working with a team of other scientists. "Researchers like me have to go out and raise every dollar for our studies. It's good to know there are people out there keeping this kind of work alive." Thanks to the generosity of people like Linda Grable-Curtis and Helen Duplantis, Society-funded researchers and educators will con tinue to illumine our world. THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY EDUCATION FOUNDATIONWAS ESTABLISHED TO RAISE AND DISTRIBUTE FUNDS FOR EDUCATIONALAND SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS.