And the ‘Golden Tusk’ Award goes to…

Hi! It’s Olivia from OMG here. Each week, I get to interview some amazing people from around the world and this week is no exception. Animal conservation is a big thing to me and my brother, so whenever we hear about someone doing something special to save animals, it makes us feel better because we know we are not the only ones helping to save … Continue reading And the ‘Golden Tusk’ Award goes to…

Which Cities Are Fossil-Fuel Free?

ENVIRONMENT Across the globe, cities are tackling climate change by shifting away from fossil fuels. Yet a survey shows they’re now at very different stages. (Nat Geo News) See how difficult it is to balance a city’s energy portfolio. You have the power! Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map. Discussion Ideas According to … Continue reading Which Cities Are Fossil-Fuel Free?

Should 16-year-olds Be Allowed to Vote?

POLITICS Voters in Brattleboro, Vermont, will be asked this week to lower the voting age for local elections to 16, a move that some say could place the town on the cutting edge in a world where teenage political maturity may be vastly increasing thanks to online social interaction. (Christian Science Monitor) Use our resources to learn more about elections. Teachers, scroll down for a … Continue reading Should 16-year-olds Be Allowed to Vote?

Five for Friday: Get to Know Vermont!

5 for friday vermont_map.gif

At My Wonderful World, our mission is to give students the power of global knowledge. We emphasize that “we are not alone,” a slogan backed up by statistics from the Roper Survey showing that half of young Americans can’t find India or Japan on a map, or that 8 out of 10 students can’t locate Iraq.  Although we feel strongly that students need to know world geography, what about Americans’ knowledge of our own country?

In a Spring 2009 Arc News article, Vice President for Education at NGS, Daniel Edelson, described our goal of advancing geo-literacy by 2025.  In this article, Edelson pointed out that half of Americans ages 18-24 can’t find New York on a map–let alone anywhere else in the world–and even fewer (4 out of 10) can find Ohio.

Many surveys show that Americans just don’t know the geography of their own country.  Of those surveyed, one-third couldn’t calculate American time zones and two-thirds couldn’t locate Louisiana (in a post-Katrina world)!  It’s time for this to change, so this week, I’ll be sharing five great (non-political) things about my home state–Vermont!

1.    Mountains
Vermont isn’t called the Green Mountain State for nothing.  A part of the Appalachian Range, Vermont’s mountains are the most prominent feature in its topography, with the tallest, Mount Mansfield, at 4,393 feet. In the summer, it’s hard not to find a hiking trail (I can find at least three closer than the nearest grocery store), and in the winter, Vermont boasts over 20 places to ski and snowboard! 

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The Geotourism Approach – Inspiring Sustainable Travel

GeoFeature_NGCSD_resize.gifAssociate Director Ann Nygard learned of the geotourism concept, defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place–its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents; when working in partnership with National Geographic in her native Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom on a Geotourism MapGuide. Now part of the Center for Sustainable Destinations at NG headquarters in Washington, D.C., she works with destinations to help tell the story of their place.

Northeast Kingdom, Vermont –The seasons shape how folks experience this tri-county region of Vermont.  Winding dirt roads pocked by potholes from the winter freeze were filled with spring mud when the local Geotourism Stewardship Council began community forums. Maneuvering around these craters was a welcome change from avoiding snowdrifts blown across the roads; potholes don’t move.  Hopes were high that mild weather would encourage Kingdom residents to nominate sites for the Geotourism MapGuide at town hall style meetings, through emailed nomination forms, and in special kiosks set up in individual rural communities.

All winter, the Geotourism Stewardship Council workgroup got together every other Tuesday at the Hardwick Village Restaurant to plan the three-month outreach sessions. We had added incentive to brave the wintry conditions: arrive early and French toast from homemade bread was still available on the slate chalkboard menu. Maple syrup from a local sugarhouse, however, was always available. Unlike in the rest of the country, syrup goes beyond breakfast: Maple-glazed salmon, Maple cream pie, Maple smoked ham, Maple buttered baby carrots, Maple pumpkin bread. You get the idea.

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