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Top Science and Geography Students Set Sights on Geo Championships

Learn more about the national championships of 2019 GeoBee and GeoChallenge competitions, to be held in Washington, D.C., May 19-22.

National championships of 2019 GeoBee and GeoChallenge competitions to be held in Washington, D.C., May 19-22

At the beginning of the school year, National Geographic GeoChallenge asked students in grades five through eight to form teams and develop innovative solutions to the urgent issue of plastic pollution in our waterways. Over 1,000 solutions were submitted, and these were assessed by National Geographic staff and Explorers. The 16 winning teams from the regional finals will compete next week in the first ever national level of the competition for a chance to win $25,000 to implement their solution with guidance from National Geographic staff.

The national competition will be held in conjunction with the 31st annual National Geographic GeoBee (formerly known as the National Geographic Bee) on May 19-22, 2019, at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. The combined competitions, collectively called the 2019 Geo Championships, are a part of National Geographic’s goal to teach students about the world and how it works, ultimately empowering the next generation of geographers, scientists, conservationists, and educators.

“At National Geographic, we are deeply committed to igniting the spirit of exploration and empowering students to become the next generation of thoughtful leaders, engaged citizens and responsible stewards of our planet,” said Dr. Vicki Phillips, executive vice president and chief education officer at the National Geographic Society. “Geo Championships is a special opportunity to recognize and reward students for their ingenuity, dedication and passion for learning about our interconnected world.”

National Geographic developed the GeoBee in 1989 to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, to spark student interest in the subject and to increase public awareness about geography. This year, more than 2.5 million students in nearly 10,000 schools across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools participated in the school-level GeoBee. The 54 students who won both their school- and state-level competitions advanced to the National Championships.

The 2019 GeoBee Champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll. The second- and third-place winners will receive a $10,000 and $5,000 college scholarship, respectively. The top-10-scoring students will each receive $1,000 in cash.

The GeoChallenge was created to give the next generation of planetary stewards the opportunity to address critical issues facing the planet while honing research, collaboration and communication skills through a project-based learning competition. The first-place team will receive a $25,000 team prize plus support and guidance from National Geographic staff to implement their GeoChallenge solution, and they will bring home a trophy to their school. Second- and third-place teams will receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, to implement their GeoChallenge solutions.

Journalist and humorist Mo Rocca will host. Follow the 2019 Geo Championships at

MEDIA NOTE: Press resources for the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee and GeoChallenge are available at The Dropbox folder will be updated at 6:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 22, with names and photos of the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee champion and the second- and third-place winners. The 2019 National Geographic GeoChallenge winning team and second- and third-place teams will also be announced at that time.

Video assets of the announcement of the top-10 GeoBee finalists and the winning moments from each competition will be made available to the media.

Please direct media questions and interview requests to Laura McHugh at or (202) 807-5317.

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.