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Mission: Geography!

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Rare’s values define who we are as an organization as well as individual employees. They support our mission, shape our culture and reflect what Rare and our staff hold as important. It means we dream big, we hold ourselves accountable, and we stay positive even in the face of tremendous challenges. They represent a fundamental piece of Rare’s brand.


Commitment to Accountability

We crave accountability and seek to measure our individual and collective contributions. Accountability lets us know who is responsible, who to thank when efforts work, who to lend support when they do not. We rely on defined goals, clear measures, and transparency to assess performance and to make accountability an organizational strength.

Courage to Take Risks

We believe we can learn as much from our mistakes as from our accomplishments and encourage an environment of risk taking and self-reflection. We see failure as an opportunity to learn from where we initially have fallen short and make it better next time. This is why we talk about “failing fast,” which means quickly learning from our mistakes. We understand how failure often paves the way for success, and we work to make sure this happens.

Investments in People

We trust the talent and ingenuity of our staff, our colleagues and our partners to find win-win solutions when none seem possible. To pursue our mission, we commit to making both financial and emotional investments in people. There is no higher return-on-investment in our field.

Mindset of Solutionology

We look at the world with optimism and possibility. We are inspired by the power of “bright spots,” those proven solutions that deserve emulation and expansion, and we seek to repeat them. Anyone can name the problem. It takes a solutionologist, a solutionminded individual, to identify what is already working and build on creative ideas to help illuminate a path forward.

Spirit of Celebration

We believe that appreciation, praise and celebration are necessary to empower and support ourselves and others. As conservation does not bring daily victories, we work hard to celebrate our progress—however small—and remind ourselves to remain positive until the next big win comes along.

It’s a well known fact that kids like simplicity and speed while they are studying:  they don’t want to spend much time learning how a thing works, but still want to get a good result fast. Especially in complex issues.

Knoema took it into account and created World Data Atlas – an app that provides users with the basic statistic on any country and takes just a couple of moments for that.


World Data Atlas lets all users play with amazing amount of national data and country statistics assorted in topics and numerous key indicators, find required information in couple of clicks and then see data visualized on ranking tables and intelligible interactive maps.

Find out more opportunities of World Data Atlas in a short video and explore how else you can use it.

World Data Atlas is available via Chrome Web Store and via Web.

All in all, World Data Atlas is absolutely free of charge. So check it and don’t hesitate to use it in your teaching practice or learning process.



On September 21, National Geographic is launching the Great Nature Project—a worldwide celebration of the planet and its wonders. People of all ages are invited to appreciate nature by taking pictures of plants and animals in their worlds, and then sharing those pictures with the whole world. Together we’ll create a global snapshot of the Earth’s incredible biodiversity—and try for a Guinness World Records® title for the largest-ever online album of animal photos.


We hope you and your students will participate! You can set up a special group page for your class here.


Wherever you or your students are, take photos of plants and animals. Then upload them with the hashtag #GreatNature using Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, National Geographic Your Shot, or the citizen science sites iNaturalist or Project Noah.


Check out all the photos at GreatNatureProject.org. You can also view them on a map and see collections curated by celebrities and National Geographic explorers.


In addition, find education resources about biodiversity and citizen science here.


—Christina Riska, National Geographic Education


Jane Brown

Pictures of Practice

Posted by Jane Brown Sep 4, 2013

Pictures of Practice

National Geographic Education | Collection/Videos | Grades K-12

Explore National Geographic Education's classroom videos and other materials highlighting teaching and learning strategies and content for K-12 classrooms. Topics include energy, climate, change, freshwater, oceans, media literacy, and human migration.



Do you ever wish you could sit in on a successful teacher's lesson presenting a concept your students find challenging to understand? Do you want to learn strategies to improve your own educational practice? Now you can. Watch these National Geographic Education classroom videos, designed to improve geography education, offer an in-depth look at progressive geographic concepts, implement the integration of technology, and highlight effective classroom teaching and learning strategies.


Please share your comments; we want to hear from you.

Which video and strategy do you plan to use? What topics would you like to see covered in future videos?

Even though BioBlitz 2013 is over, I still have unedited  video that I'm pulling together... This is the result of one set, from our walk early Saturday morning.

This video blog of our early morning bird inventory with National Geographic Explorer Neil Losin gives you a good feel for what these kinds of inventories are like. While the plant, insect, amphibian, fish, reptile, etc inventories all involve getting close to the critters, and sometimes catching them, bird inventories are usually a matter of walking, listening and spotting.

(NOTE: Some Bioblitz groups do set up "mist nets" -- fine netting suspended between two trees or posts for catching birds -- but that's mostly for the purpose of banding the birds. Most of the actual bird IDs come from spotting them at a distance)

It's best to get out early in the morning, when the birds are most active (and vocal). You'll want some good binoculars and/or a small scope on a tripod that kids can look through. There are bird identification apps available, though Neil just used his memory, while John Francis, also from National Geographic, used a field guide.

One suggestion for all Bioblitz inventories, but especially for bird inventories, is to have kids practice being quiet and attentive to the environment before you begin. Ideally, they'd try just listening (and feeling and smelling) the environment for 15 minutes or more without saying anything. Of course, if the best you can get is five minutes or one minute, that's better than nothing!

If they need some sort of task/goal, you can have them try to figure out how many kinds of birds there are around them by listening to their songs.

A possible "pre-activity" would be to have them learn the songs of five birds that they are likely to encounter on their walk. Ideally, have kids learn different bird songs, so that as a group you can identify quite a few.

At least one person (and sometimes every person) needs to record what you find. We will be updating our "Active Explorer" smartphone app later this summer to include the ability to fill in data charts with, for example, species names. So that will be a handy tool for BioBlitzes or any other activity involving gathering textual or numeric data in an organized way.

As always, happy to answer questions!

For more biodiversity resources and discussions, visit the All About Science group and the BioBlitz Collection page at Science Netlinks.

BobHirshon3_200x268.jpgI don't want you to miss even one of these wonderful vlogs by Bob Hirshon who attended Bioblitz 2013, so I'm providing a summary list for you to follow his adventures in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve just south of New Orleans. Learn about pirates, the late night amphibian inventory walk, and the morning bird inventory. Learn how a bayou is different from a swamp. Hear the night sounds. Meet the migrating armadillos. Consider what it means to the animals when earth changes are fast, like a volcano, earthquake, meteorite, or hurricane, or fairly quickly like the Mississippi Delta bayous and the glaciers of the ice ages, and some forces that take millions of years, like plate tectonics.


  1. Bioblitz 2013: Tromp in the Swamp
  2. Bioblitz 2013: Bayou Ecosystem
  3. Bioblitz 2013: Welcome!
  4. BioBlitz 2013 Amphibian Inventory - YouTube
  5. Bioblitz 2013: Armadillo Interlude
  6. Bioblitz 2013: Bayou des Familles
  7. New BioBlitz 2013 Video: Bird Inventory


Be sure to join the All About Science group to talk with Bob and other scientists from Science NetLinks and teachers interested in science.


Thank you Bob Hirshon for sharing your experience with all of us!

Jane Brown, Thinkfinity Community Manager


P.S. Yes, some of you remember Bob's Bioblitz 2012 in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado last year. Here are some of his vlogs from last year:

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And, yes, there was a Bioblitz 2011 held in Saguaro National Park in near Tucson, Arizona:

  1. BioBlitz 2011 Kick Off Video
  2. Life Inside a Plant
  3. Hunting Water Bears
  4. Final BioBlitz Tally!


Want to learn more about a BioBlitz? Check out:

  • National Geographic Education's BioBlitz program
  • Science NetLinks' BioBlitz collection
  • National Geographic's BioBlitz project to read about this 24-hour event held in a different national part each year

Talking About Tornados

Posted by tengrrl May 21, 2013

tornado.jpgStudents who heard the news about the tornado in  Oklahoma yesterday may come to class with questions about tornados and tornado safety today.


These Thinkfinity resources can help you provide them with some answers:


  1. Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters from ReadWriteThink
  2. Where Is Tornado Alley? from Wonderopolis
  3. Forces of Nature from National Geographic Education
  4. Weather Watchers from Illuminations
  5. Dust Bowl Days from EDSITEment
  6. The Science of Weather from Science NetLinks
  7. Safety Tips With Officer Buckle and Gloria from ReadWriteThink
  8. Why Do Some People Chase Storms? from Wonderpolis
  9. Preparing for Extreme Natural Events from National Geographic Education
  10. Teaching Scientific Inquiry with Clouds from Science NetLinks
  11. Joseph Henry and the History of Weather Prediction in the U.S. from Smithsonian’s History Explorer
  12. Glogging About Natural Disasters from ReadWriteThink
  13. Why Do Different States Have Different Weather? from Wonderpolis
  14. Tracking Violent Storms from National Geographic Education
  15. Dangerous Hail from Science NetLinks
  16. Weather: A Journey in Nonfiction from ReadWriteThink
  17. What Does a Barometer Measure? from Wonderpolis
  18. Extreme Weather on Our Planet from National Geographic Education
  19. Air Masses from Science NetLinks
  20. When Children Face Disaster: The Role of Literacy from the National Center for Family Literacy


You can also find resources and ask questions in the community discussion on the question How do you teach the science of tornadoes?




[Photo: ig12_tornado_12_02 by prana23, on Flickr]

Lindsey Luria

Scale of the Universe

Posted by Lindsey Luria Dec 4, 2012

Explore scale with this mesmerizing interactive graphic that does a wonderful job of visually relating the sizes of different components of the universe, from phospholipids and DNA to galaxies in space! http://scaleofuniverse.com/

Geography Awareness Week (GAWeek), celebrated every third week of November, is an awareness program focused on highlighting the importance of geo-literacy and geo-education.  This year's theme is "Declare Your Interdependence," which explores the idea that we are all are connected to the rest of the world through the decisions we make on a daily basis, including what foods we eat and the things we buy.  The graphic below is linked to more information:

Color_Stacked_Small.jpg.jpgGeography is the study of the world and all that's in it.  It asks the question "What makes a place the way it is?" and the answer includes any and all interactions with other places.  Understanding these interactions can help scientists, historians, business professionals and policy-makers to understand the past and predict future events.

Mapping the Nation by Susan Schulten tracks the development of cartography as a tool for showcasing data and discusses the beginning of an era where maps are not only used for spatial orientation, but also for complex analysis and problem-solving. The companion website, http://www.mappingthenation.com/, includes hundreds of colorful maps from the book, each with a short description of its significance in history, politics, and science.

Lindsey Luria

Halloween History

Posted by Lindsey Luria Oct 19, 2012

With "All Hallows' Eve" right around the corner, everyone seems to be planning costumes, decorations, games, parties, tricks and treats... does anyone know where we got all of these traditions? 


This site explains this history behind a lot of the familiar Halloween celebrations and icons, from bats, candy corn and Jack-o-lanterns to Friday the 13th and Bobbing for Apples: Haunted Bay - History.


I had no idea about the Celtic precursor to this beloved holiday!  It's amazing to see how religious and cultural traditions are evolved and adapted as they spread through the years.

This generation is highly visual; with the amount of images, maps, info-graphics and other digital media at our disposal, there's no need to have a science class in black and white.  I know that I always perked up at my desk when a teacher was showing something that looked really cool, and I think that so many science-related topics can be aesthetically intriguing, at the very least.


If you're looking for some stimulating material, this website seems to have a wealth of beautiful imagery available for download; the site description: "Weather, sky and environmental stock imagery for broadcast, new media, web sites, advertising, theater, science centers and earth science educators."


WeatherVideoHD.TV royalty free weather video and images


It might be worth a look, whether you teach weather (hah) or not.  I was fascinated by this video of lightning, captured at 7,207 images per second: Single Stroke CG in High Speed - Royalty Free Stock Weather videos and photo.  Check it out and be amazed!

Daniel Edelson, VP for Education at the National Geographic Society, shares with us his views on the incredible potential of citizen science as a learning and teaching both inside the classroom and out.  Using National Geographic Education's FieldScope, students really can make a difference in the health of the natural environments supporting their communities.




TUNE IN!...to a live interview with National Geographic Explorer-in Residence Enric Sala on NG's Facebook page tomorrow, March 28 at 2:30pm ET.


Facebook Live Special Event: Your Questions for a Deep-Sea Explorer
For the first time ever, National Geographic Facebook Live will host their weekly interview not from National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C., but from the remote Pitcairn Islands nestled in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Miles from any other inhabited island, Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala will join us by satellite phone to give an update on a month-long expedition to Pitcairn and reveal stunning photographs--straight from the field--of the island's rich biodiversity.


We first announced the Pitcairn Expedition to the Nat Geo Education Blog audience in early March. At that time, we asked students to submit their questions for Enric and his team, which also includes National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay. The team has agreed to answer at least one of the student questions during the live chat on March 28. Keep reading below to see some of the questions our readers submitted!



Marine ecologist Enric  Sala (foreground) examines an enormous lobe coral on Kingman Reef in the  South Pacific's remote Line Islands. This coral is 500 years old, but  the species was unknown to science before Sala's discovery. Such finds  aren't shocking at Kingman, which is one of the world's most pristine  reef ecosystems. The site shows scientists how much has been lost at  reefs found closer to human habitation. Photo by Brian J. Skerry.


Sample student questions:


  • What was the most scariest part of your expedition?
  • What is the most exciting thing that you have seen while diving on this expedition so far?
  • What do you hope to discover on this expedition?
  • Why did you choose to explore Pitcairn?
  • How is the coral reef health in the areas around Pitcairn? Is it better or worse than you predicted?
  • Have you seen any species of invertebrates or fish for the first time? Is there any particular species that is your favorite? Why? What  species have you seen the most of?
  • How do the inhabitants of the Pitcairn Islands utilize the marine environment?
  • Is there much Eco-tourism in this area? How do residences support the day to day needs of their families?
  • Is there a marine protected area in Pitcairn? Are the waters and there marine resources protected by any regulations?

Which of these questions will be answered by Enric and his team? Tune into the chat at 2:30pm ET tomorrow to find out!

A bit of Pitcairn History...

In 1790, nine British seamen laid anchor off the rocky shores of Pitcairn. They were members of the crew of H.M.S. Bounty, the ship that saw the most famous mutiny in naval history. After having spent months in Tahiti on a trade voyage, a handful of seamen decided never to return to England, and instead sought refuge on a small deserted island, along with six Tahitian men and 11 women. It's been fifty-five years since the last National Geographic explorer ventured to the island. Now, Enric returns for an even more pressing issue: to help save on of the last pristine stretches of water left on Earth.



Enric Sala (photographed here searching for monk seals on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey) is leading the Pristine Seas expeditions. A National Geographic emerging explorer and fellow, Sala and his team studied the entire marine ecosystem of the southern Line Islands. Photograph by Zafer Kizilkaya.


As Enric writes, "This expedition is part of our Pristine Seas project--to explore, survey and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. It is part of our collaboration with the Global Ocean Legacy project of the Pew Environment Group. Our goal is to assess the state of Pitcairn's marine life, and to propose recommendations to the Pitcairn community for the conservation of their resources."



Two grouper fish emerge form the coral off of Ducie Atoll in the Pitcairn Island Group. Photo by Andrew Howley.

We are promoting this Facebook Live event across our platforms and invite you to share with your colleagues, students, friends, and families.  Please join us tomorrow on Facebook and stay tuned throughout this ocean expedition via the Pitcairn blog and Twitter feed.


SUFG Campus Challenge

Posted by mickgriddle Feb 27, 2012

Introducing the Speak Up For Geography (SUFG) Campus Challenge...





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What is it?
SUFG is an easy and empowering way for GTU (Gamma Theta Upsilon) clubs and other college and university groups across the U.S. to voice their support for geographic education. Compete with other schools in a fun, low-[no] stakes challenge to see who can send the most letters to Congress!


You've heard us talk about the importance of advancing geography education before, and to that end, the need to ask Congress to support geo-ed with appropriate funding via the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act (TGIF). For the last several years, K-12 and university educators, geography professionals, and many other generous friends have done their part to write letters to Congress. Now, we're challenging college students to carry the banner for this worthy cause.


National Geographic Education is joining with other like-minded  organizations and youthful geo-enthusiasts to launch the Speak Up For  Geography Campus Challenge at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) meeting in New York City...starting today (Friday 2/24/12)!


How can I SUFG?
If you're at the AAG conference this weekend, look for the folks in "SUFG" sweatshirts and stop by our booth to pick your very own campus organizing toolkit. You can also score some sweet swag (bumper stickers, postcards, etc.) for yourself and your friends back at school 


After AAG, and for those not able to attend the conference this weekend, take these simple steps to get involved (you guessed it, five). 


1. Like the Campus Challenge on facebook and google+.



2. Follow us on twitter (@speakupforgeo).


3. Add this to your email signature: "Teaching geography is fundamental. Go to SpeakUpForGeography.org today".


4. If you are a university student, join the Campus Challenge at sufgCampusChallenge.org.


5. If you know of any university students, consider forwarding this message:


We're looking for geography advocates across college campuses in the United States.


Did you know? Only 20 U.S. states require a geography class in middle or high school, while many countries (like Switzerland, France, Norway, and Romania) require geography every year until high school graduation. Maybe that's why 88% of 18-24 year old Americans can't find Afghanistan on a map of Asia!

•    Geography is much more than knowing where things are located, but without basic geographic knowledge it's impossible to make informed decisions in our personal, professional, and civic lives.


•    Right now, geography is named as a "core academic subject" but unlike all the other core academic subjects, including history, civics, economics, foreign languages and the arts, there is no dedicated federal funding stream to advance geography education.

We need to let Congress know that learning geography is important! Join the public campaign in support of the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act. Go to sufgCampusChallenge.org to find out the many ways you can Speak Up For Geography.


Many thanks for your support. SUFG!

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