Rowan to host state finals of National Geographic Bee

The state's most accomplished young geographers will descend on Rowan University on Friday, April 9, as the University hosts the 2010 New Jersey finals for the National Geographic Bee.

The state's most accomplished young geographers will descend on Rowan University on Friday, April 9, as the University hosts the 2010 New Jersey finals for the National Geographic Bee.

Sponsored by the National Geographic Society, Google Earth and landowner Plum Creek, the National Geographic Bee is open to fourth- through eighth-grade students in participating American schools.

The New Jersey finals, which will be held in Rowan's Tohill Theatre (Bunce Hall), will include 103 students from throughout the state. Preliminary rounds will be held in classrooms of Bunce Hall starting at noon. The final round begins at 1:45 p.m. in Tohill Theatre.

The winner of the state competition will advance to the national finals May 25-26 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek will moderate the finals.

The state winner also receives $100 and a copy of the "National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World."

The National Geographic Bee occurs at three stages, beginning at the school level. Each school winner takes a written test that is submitted to the National Geographic Society and the top 100 scorers in each state proceed to the state finals.

This is the first year Rowan is hosting the state finals, something which the University hopes will be an annual tradition, according to Zachary Moore, assistant professor of geography in the University's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. A 2006-07 Grosvenor Scholar for the National Geographic Education Foundation in Washington, D.C., Moore worked to bring the state final to Rowan.

"The National Geographic Bee is going to be a great event for the College and for the University," says Moore, whose research interests include K-16 geographic education.

"The Bee has been floating around in a number of different schools over the past few years," continues Moore, who also served as an intern for the National Geographic Society and the Geographic Educational National Implementation Project in 2004. "Rowan is a beautiful home for the Bee. We're very excited to be able to host it."

Thirty-five dedicated volunteers--all Rowan students--are working to organize the Bee, according to Moore. The student leaders include: Emily King, a senior elementary education and geography/anthropology major from Glassboro;  Jasmine Wells, a freshman geography/anthropology major from Trenton; and Joanellen Fenimore, a graduate student in school psychology from Penns Grove.

"We have student volunteers coming out of the woodwork to help," says Moore. "This is a student-centered event, but it's also a student-organized event here at Rowan."

Moore, who helped organize the Texas finals of the National Geographic Bee when he was a doctoral student at Texas State University, is hopeful this is the year New Jersey again brings home the national championship. New Jersey last won the national title in 1996.

The state final is free and open to the public. Audience members surely will be entertained when they witness the intense competition, says Moore, who adds that the participants' knowledge is extraordinarily impressive.

"I'm always stumped by a question," he laughs. "It's amazing what the kids know. I wouldn't even try to compete with some of them.

"The National Geographic Bee is very interesting to watch. By the time the participants get to the state finals, they have to know so much...and they have to understand and interpret satellite imagery. It's very intense," Moore adds.

For more information about the National Geographic Bee--and to see a few sample questions--visit