Vice President for Education, National Geographic Society
In the United States, the geography education community celebrates
Geography Awareness Week in the third week of November. Established by
presidential proclamation in 1987, Geography Awareness Week is an
opportunity to build awareness of the importance of geography education
for our modern world. On Wednesday of that week is GIS Day, which has
been celebrated around the world since 1998.
This year, Geography Awareness Week will be November 14-20. Its theme,
“Geography: The Adventure in Your Community,” invites participants to
see their communities through a geographic lens, discovering new things
about the places where they live.
Geography Awareness Week has five interconnected components:
- Activities–Each year, organizers and participants design
activities tied to the theme of that year’s Geography Awareness Week
that demonstrate the importance of geography. There are activities that
can be done by individuals, classes, families, and community groups.
- Events–Throughout the country, individuals and
organizations hold events that celebrate geography. Held at schools,
workplaces, government offices, shopping malls, and even sporting
events, they provide opportunities for people to see geography in action
and learn while having fun.
- Media outreach–Geography Awareness Week is an opportunity
to get the word out about the importance of geography through the media.
In addition to a long-standing partnership with the Newspapers in
Education project, the outreach efforts for Geography Awareness Week
extend to radio, TV, and digital media organizations.
- Activism–Geography Awareness Week provides an occasion for
individuals to show their support for geography education. Many
individuals visit or contact their elected officials during Geography
Awareness Week to advocate increased attention to geography education.
- Volunteerism–Geography Awareness Week is largely the
product of volunteer effort. Volunteers create activities, organize
events, mobilize advocates, and reach out to the media.
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