16th November 2011

It’s Geography Awareness Week… so let’s reclaim travel!

Viv Alexander
Celebrate Geography Awareness Week – below Daniel from Mission:Explore tells us more:
We are really excited and pleased to be supporting National Geographic Education this Geography Awareness Week with our GeoVation, Mission:Explore. We’ve worked closely with them to create a series of missions that challenge children to go on adventures in their communities, explore their backyards and take action on issues that they care about. Young explorers can unlock points and collect online badges for the efforts. All the details of how you can take can be found on their website at www.geographyawarenessweek.org and the resources will be useful well beyond this week.
As part of this work I’ve been getting email alerts when newspapers, blogs and other media channels mention Geography Awareness Week. It’s exciting to see so many reports that focus on our creative and experiential approach to exploring local ME Squarecommunities, but far too many have included and resorted back to the pub quiz style ‘name the capital’ quizzes that mask the opportunities of geography.
I personally find it infuriating that travel has become divorced from geography in the minds of so many people. Travel is usually a gulf away from geography section in book shops (if there is one). This is despite travel being arguably the biggest possible opportunity for the geography community to engage the wider public with the subject in an entertaining and enjoyable way. Exploration and travel are one of the physical manifestations of geographical enquiry and it’s time we reclaimed them. I believe making the explicit link between travel and geography will help to bring new life to geography, demonstrate that it is not just about factual knowledge building and reshape the way the public understands the subject.
The question is, how?
Daniel Raven-Ellison, Mission:Explore