Five for Friday: Great GAWeek blog submissions of the past

Geography Awareness Week 2011 is right around the corner! One of the week’s highlights is the annual blog-a-thon, which provides a platform for people all over the world to speak about their personal experiences with geography.  You can be a part of this fantastic opportunity in support of geography education, community exploration, and public engagement.  Write us a blog about this year’s theme, “The Adventure in Your Community” or simply stand on a soapbox for geography and express your thoughts.  All relevant submissions will be featured on the National Geographic Education blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Become a Nat Geo blogger today by sending your work to our e-mail address:

gaweekposter.JPGTo help inspire you, here is a selection of some of my favorite highlights from previous Geography Awareness Week blog-a-thons.

1. The Huffington Post’s satirical blog post entitled: “Let’s Boycott Geography Awareness Week” (GAWeek 2010: Freshwater)”…But, honestly, no one should really care about things like outside geography when we already know the US is the center of the universe. So I’m calling for a boycott of this fruity Geography Awareness Week. All we need to know is right here nestled between our über-secure borders anyhow.”

2. Cycle for Water by Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg (GAWeek 2010: Freshwater): “About four months ago we (Joost and Michiel, from the Netherlands) started our bicycle trip that will take us from Alaska to Argentina. By now, we have successfully passed through Alaska, Canada, and the United States, and entered Mexico last week. So far, we have cycled about 4,000 of the total 18,000 miles and still have a long way to go until we reach the finish by Christmas next year. On average, we do 50 miles a day, which is about 6 hours of cycling. It can be pretty tough, especially when plowing through rain, crawling over mountains, and sweating under the scorching sun.

Besides the cycling, we are raising awareness for the global water crisis, which is leaving more than a billion people without access to clean drinking water. The population of second and third world countries are the ones that are most affected with this issue. However, water scarcity is, and will increasingly become, problematic in the ‘rich West’ as well.”

3. Google Earth’s Geography Awareness Week blog and quiz circa 2006. You can still test your African knowledge through the interactive quiz that is download-able here.

DSC_0068.JPG4. Toni Schneider, Peace Corp Volunteer: (GAWeek 2008: Geography 101) 
“When people hear that I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, it elicits one of
two responses: “I always wanted to join the Peace Corps!” or “The Peace
Corps? Is that a real job?”  In honor of Geography Awareness Week, My
Wonderful World asked me to write about my Peace Corps experience
through the lens of careers in geography…As a community member, a
Peace Corps Volunteer walks through an ever-revolving door, changing
their role more frequently than their wardrobe – becoming everything
from inquisitive stranger, to technology whiz, and hopefully, to
community member and beloved friend.  The transition from one role to
another is filled with fear, confusion and tears, but equally, respect,
joy and clarity.”

5. Jessica Brehmer–Public Health Mapping (GAWeek 2009: Get Lost in
Mapping): “Mapping diseases goes way back. In the infamous Broad Street
pump incident of 1854, John Snow mapped cases of cholera in a London
neighborhood during an epidemic and noticed most cases were using water
from the same pump. He removed the pump handle and the epidemic came to a
halt. Now there is a whole field of study dedicated mapping diseases
and health geographics, and I want in!

Maps easily show the distribution of diseases. This visualization of the
distribution is useful for many applications in public health. For
example, if you were planning a campaign to distribute mosquito nets in
Africa to prevent malaria, a map would show you that malaria is not
endemic in the Sahara desert as it is Sub-Saharan Africa. The map helps
you prioritize net distribution to the highest risk areas. Such maps are
relevant for all diseases across the field of public health.”

Special thanks to all these fantastic examples of blog-a-thon submissions! Join us this Geography Awareness Week by authoring a blog and sending it to us via e-mail:
–Julia from My Wonderful World

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