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It's a Global New Year

At the start of a new year, the U.S. is undergoing countless changes, from a new President and a new Congress to new technologies; even new nature reserves. In 2009, My Wonderful World (MWW) will bring you more great ideas for geographic learning at home and in school, including news you can use and links to engaging programs and projects. We'll start it all off by challenging you to make a special New Year's resolution: Find fun ways to incorporate doing geography into your daily life.

Christopher Shearer, MWW Director
Make Your New Year's Resolutions Geographic
Photo:Each year millions of Americans and others across the globe set goals for self-improvement as the calendar transitions from December to January. But sometimes it can be difficult to live up to our own aspirations. This year, increase motivation by adding a geographic focus to your family's New Year's resolutions.

For example: Want to get in shape?
Take the kids outside and explore your local community by walking, biking, jogging, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, etc. Discuss different features of the built and natural environments (e.g., interesting architecture or types of trees) you may not have noticed before.

Want to save money?
Work together to find ways to make your home more energy efficient, like turning down the heat and ensuring that windows are well insulated. You'll save money, protect the environment, and learn a little science along the way. Good luck!

Tell us
how you're making your New Year's resolutions geographic. We'll feature our favorites in next month's newsletter.
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National Environmental Education Week
Photo: sidebarRegister today for National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), April 12—18, 2009. EE Week promotes understanding and protection of the natural world by actively engaging K—12 students and educators of all subjects in an inspired week of environmental learning and service before Earth Day. This year's EE Week theme is "Be Water Wise!" Partners receive certificates of participation for themselves and their students, and those who register before January 30 will receive a free copy of National Geographic Explorer magazine.
Questions for President Obama
Photo: sidebarNew York Times environment reporter Andy Revkin recently posted 11 Questions for Obama's Science Team on his Dot Earth blog. The first query challenges Obama's policies on green education, a central part of geography education and a critical ingredient in the development of a green economy. Check out Revkin's other posts related to the Obama transition, too.
For Teachers: Inauguration Weather Wrap-up
Photo: sidebarDid you know that former President William Henry Harrison died from pneumonia shortly after being sworn in on a blustery Inauguration Day in 1841? Teachers, use this Inaugural Weather in History lesson plan from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Education World to put Tuesday's environmental conditions into historical context.
MWW Mentions
Photo: sidebarMy Wonderful World has been getting some noteworthy buzz in recent weeks! BrightHub.com and findingDulucinea.com have both recommended the My Wonderful World Web site to their online communities. Check it out.

Take Action
Photo:Top 10 Events of 2008
Check out a list of the 10 Most Important Geographic Events of 2008 compiled by About.com geography expert Matt Rosenberg. The list recalls Kosovo's independence last February 2008 (Kosovo flag pictured at right), the Summer Olympics in Beijing, and geography's huge role in the race for the U.S. Presidency. This year, talk with your kids about what's happening in the news—you can find geography in just about every story. Start compiling your Top10 list for 2009!
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Take Action
Photo:New Marine Conservation Program, Giant Inauguration Map
The start of 2009 also means the beginning of a new chapter for U.S. conservation efforts. In early January, President Bush approved a program to protect nearly 200,000 square miles of biologically rich waters in the Pacific Ocean. Leading marine ecologist and National Geographic Fellow Dr. Enric Sala influenced this historic initiative by presenting his research on coral reefs, noting that unhealthy reefs are a direct result of human activities.

Planners developed a giant 40-by-40-foot map of Washington, D.C., to help guide preparations for Tuesday's Presidential Inauguration. The biggest challenge of the event: placing enough portable toilets to accommodate the massive crowds. Read more in this Washington Post article.
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Take Action
New My Wonderful World Blog
The My Wonderful World blog is new and improved! For the past two years the blog has offered a daily dose of geographic jottings and news you can use. This month, we are pleased to announce our transition to a new location at http://blog.mywonderfulworld.org/. The cutting-edge site boasts a sleeker look, enhanced Web 2.0 functionality (share and subscribe in a snap), and a better overall user experience. Log on today to tell us what you think, and keep coming back for more interesting posts, more contributions from guest bloggers, and more opportunities for you to participate.
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