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image: My Wonderful World
April is a majorly environmental month! To celebrate, I have good news and I have even better news for you from our campaign HQ. First, we are offering a chance to win $20,000 to fund a conservation project that YOU design. Second, this month's challenge is chock-full of fun: Just do something outdoors. (We have plenty of ideas.) Our April newsletter also features the Great Turtle Race (in 2007, TV talk show host Steven Colbert named a turtle that came in second), guest bloggers, summer trips for students, and more. Read on….

Christopher Shearer, My Wonderful World Director
Environmental April
Photo:It's spring! The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping…but studies show that many kids won't witness these phenological [seasonal] phenomena. As children are shuttled from piano lessons to karate and home again, they're spending less time outdoors. And this may have dire consequences, including increased rates of obesity and attention disorders. Check out No Child Left Inside to find out what environmental groups, health advocates, and government officials are doing about it.

Then, do your part to combat Nature Deficit Disorder during environmental April. Earth Day, Arbor Day, National Environmental Education Week, and national parks Week all fall during this month. So get outside, get moving, and get active exploring and conserving the natural world. Take our April Challenge: (1) Volunteer at an Earth Day event, (2) plant a tree on Arbor Day, (3) visit a National Park, or (4) conduct a water audit for National Environmental Education Week. Complete one to become a Geo-Supporter, two to be labeled a Geo-Activist, and three or more to earn the title of Geo-Hero.
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Environmental Tip of the Day
Photo: sidebarShow your love for the environment by getting down and soil-y this Earth Day. Use this map from the Environmental Protection Agency to locate a volunteer opportunity near you; examples of events include park restoration projects and fund-raising fun runs. Then, because conservation requires action all year long, download the "environmental tip of the day" widget. Visit earthday.net for even more ways to get out and go green.
Plant a Tree on Arbor Day,
April 24
Photo: sidebarTrees are important for myriad reasons: They provide oxygen, serve as sources of food and shelter, and are pretty darn nice to look at. J. Sterling Morton had these benefits in mind when he initiated tree-planting programs in Nebraska and later called for the establishment of Arbor Day in 1872. Celebrate Arbor Day in the 21st century by selecting a tree that's suitable for your geographic area and visiting the Traveling Tree Exhibit for kids.
Visit a National Park
Photo: sidebarEighteen seventy-two was a critical year for U.S conservation efforts. As Nebraskans celebrated the first Arbor Day, Yellowstone was established as the nation's fist national park. Today, you can visit Yellowstone more sustainably with the help of a new "geotourism" map produced by National Geographic. This National Parks Week, April 18–26, take the kids to Yellowstone, or another park, where they can become Junior Rangers!
Conduct a Water Audit During EE Week
Photo: sidebarNational Environmental Education Week (EE Week) promotes understanding and protection of the natural world by actively engaging K–12 students and educators in an inspired week of environmental learning before Earth Day. This year's EE Week theme is "Be Water Wise!" To get involved in EE Week activities currently under way, visit eeweek.org. And make sure to visit the MWW blog to hear from our special guest educators.
Best Summer Ever!
Photo: sidebarNational Geographic Student Expeditions invites the next generation of young explorers to learn about the world firsthand this summer. On three-week trips designed for high school students, encounter incredible places close-up in the company of a National Geographic expert. Join us on an international expedition, or participate in our new On Campus program in Monterey Bay or Bar Harbor. Apply now for a summer 2009 program!
Earth Day on TV
Mama Mirabelle and Toot & Puddle offer Earth Day specials for young children. Through fun animated stories, wildlife videos, and interviews with real-world professionals--including a Scottish artist who turns trash into treasure—kids will learn to think critically and creatively about the environment. These National Geographic programs air on PBS, Noggin, and Sprout, April 16–22; check local listings for times.

Take Action
Photo:The Green Effect
Receive a $20,000 award to help put a green idea into action! SunChips® and National Geographic have teamed up to create the Green Effect, an initiative that inspires people to take small steps to create big change. $20,000 will be awarded to five individuals or groups that have compelling ideas for green change in their communities.

What could you, your family, or someone you know do for the planet with $20,000? Tell us, and you could be one of five recipients! Visit GreenEffect.com for details.

Legal stuff: No purchase necessary. Contest is open to legal residents of any of the 50 U.S. states or D.C., 18 and older, and ends 6/8/09. Void where prohibited. Subject to Official Rules available on GreenEffect.com. For details on how to enter, judging criteria, and prizes, see Official Rules.
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Take Action
Photo:The Great Turtle Race
And they're off! On April 16th, 11 critically endangered leatherback sea turtles set out on an extraordinary 6,000-kilometer "race" through the Atlantic Ocean from feeding areas off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, to breeding and nesting areas in the Caribbean. Thanks to state-of-the-art satellite tracking devices, you can follow the turtles over the course of their two-week journey.

In collaboration with Conservation International, National Geographic will host the race online at GreatTurtleRace.org. In addition to the race map, fans will find information on each of the turtle competitors, a race blog featuring commentary from celebrity race sponsors and world-renowned scientists, an online Great Turtle race game, and a variety of ways that people can help protect leatherbacks.

As Roderic Mast, vice president of Conservation International and one of the race organizers, says, "There's no time to waste in making responsible decisions that will ensure healthy oceans full of leatherbacks for generations to come."
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Take Action
Environmental Education Guest Bloggers
What do Tasha Kiemel of Sammamish, Washington, and Dave Wood of Washington, D.C., have in common? They're both members of National Environmental Education Week's Teacher Advisory Committee, and they're both sharing their experiences leading student fieldwork on the My Wonderful World blog. See how two successive groups of fourth graders worked with local biologists and city officials to design, test, and implement a streambed restoration plan. Follow teams of eighth graders on a quest to discover where their drinking water comes from, and what—other than H20 molecules—might be in it. Read these stories and more on the My Wonderful World blog; then tell us how YOU'RE celebrating National Environmental Education Week!
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