25th Annual National Geographic Bee, May 20–22, 2013


25th Annual National Geographic Bee, May 20–22, 2013

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the National Geographic Bee. As in 1989, the Geo Bee—as it is affectionately known around the Society—is part of the Society’s overall mission to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” and “to inspire people to care about our planet.” Since its inception, its aim has been to encourage teachers to spark student interest in geography—an interest that will serve them well as they grow up in an ever more changing, but connected world.

In this year’s Google-sponsored event, 54 fourth-through eight-graders, ranging in age from 10 to 14, representing the 50 states, District of Columbia, Atlantic and Pacific Territories, and Department of Defense Dependent Schools, will compete for the 2013 Geo Bee crown and three scholarships worth $50,000. The preliminary round will take place on Monday, May 20. The top ten finalists will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 22, moderated for the 25th year by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek. National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round

at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 23. It will be aired later on public television stations; check your local television listing for date and time.

Having been one of the Geo Bee judges for nearly two decades, I can attest to how well some teachers have inspired their students’ interest in geography. Of the thousands of questions the judges review and edit annually, many are downright challenging—even to the most seasoned geographer. As a cartographer, I have always been impressed with all of the contestants’ knowledge of geography, for when posed with a challenging question, you can literally see them scanning their “mental world maps” for the answer. Thus when it comes to promoting the discipline of geography—or its sister discipline, cartography—the Geo Bee continues to serve well all of those students who study and train so diligently for the title of National Geographic Bee champion.

Juan José Valdés
The Geographer
Director of Editorial and Research
National Geographic Maps



Changing Planet

Meet the Author
Juan José Valdés is The Geographer and National Geographic Maps' Director of Editorial and Research. He guides and assists the Map Policy Committee in setting border representations, disputed territories, and naming conventions for National Geographic. As NG Map's Director of Editorial and Research, he is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and consistency of its maps and map products.