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A Fun Way to Promote Geography

Which country is the largest consumer of oil?
Can you name the world's most spoken primary language?
What is the current U.S. population?

These and other questions were posed by the 2006 National Geographic–Roper Survey of Geographic Literacy, designed to test the geographic knowledge of a randomly selected sample of 18- to 24-year-old students representing the target group across the Unitd States. The results highlighted the limited geographic knowledge young Americans possess.

A new program from the National Geographic Society will offer today's youth a valuable resource to increase their geographic knowledge and embrace the world around them. Esri, a program cosponsor, has created My Wonderful World, which promotes geographic awareness to K–12 students and provides tools for teachers and parents.

"Geography matters to everyone, whether they consciously realize it or not," said Jack Dangermond, Esri president. "When we better understand how nature, people, and businesses relate, we can make better decisions. Esri's mission is to build GIS software that helps people see the patterns, find the relationships, and understand more clearly this wonderful world we share. Esri is proud to support the National Geographic Society's My Wonderful World program in its efforts to improve geographic literacy among our nation's youth."

My Wonderful World is at the heart of the campaign. The site's resources help youth better understand the world around them. It suggests outdoor family activities; provides links to geography games and online adventures for kids and teenagers; and provides classroom materials for educators, global IQ tests, and other tools.

"Geographic illiteracy impacts our economic well-being, impacts our relationships with other nations and the environment, and isolates us from our world," said John Fahey, National Geographic Society president and CEO. "Geography is what helps us make sense of our world by showing the connections between people and places. Without geography, our young people are not ready to face the challenges of the increasingly interconnected and competitive world of the 21st century."

In addition to Esri, many businesses, nonprofit organizations, and educational leaders are sponsoring the campaign. Sponsors include 4-H, American Federation of Teachers, Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks, Asia Society, Association of American Geographers, Committee for Economic Development, Council on Competitiveness, iEARN-USA, Lindblad, National Basketball Association, National Council for Geographic Education, National Council of La Raza, National Council for Social Studies, National Parent-Teachers Association (PTA), Sesame Workshop, the United Nations Foundation, and the World Affairs Councils of America.

To learn more about the My Wonderful World program and to start taking advantage of its rich features, visit www.mywonderfulworld.org.

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