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My Wonderful World
July 2010 Newsletter
Summer is the time of year when most kids are eager to put down their pencils and books. But that doesn't mean the learning has to stop! Take advantage of the opportunity to get children excited about geography and the world around them through technology and hands-on exploration. In this month's newsletter, we give you ideas for an array of geotechnology projects that can be done anywhere—from your living room to your local cemetery. Don't forget to tell us which mapping tool is your favorite in our Reader Poll!

Sarah Jane Caban, My Wonderful World (MWW)
Get Out and Go on a Geocache or an EarthCache.
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt. Explorers use global positioning system (GPS) devices and clues to navigate to the locations of hidden treasures or caches.

EarthCaching is similar to geocaching, except rather than searching for hidden treasures, adventurers seek to identify the coordinates of places. These places might include ponds, rock outcrops, or other unique features of the landscape.

To geocache or earthcache, you'll need a GPS receiver, which works by reading satellite signals to calculate your position on Earth as a latitude, a longitude, an and altitude. You'll also need a method of transportation to visit the caches, such as driving, biking, or walking.

Geocaching and earthcaching are great ways to enjoy the outdoors this summer, explore new places, learn how to use GPS technology, and hone your map-reading and navigational skills.

Our July challenge: Give geocaching or earthcaching a go! Then if you're up for more adventure, use your new found geotechnology skills to participate in a citizen science initiative such as the Gravestone Project or the Valley of the Khans project (keep reading below). To start geocaching with your family, check out the earthcaching and geocaching websites for detailed instructions and to find caches near you.
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Get Tech Help From a GeoMentor.
Are you a teacher, a summer camp counselor, or an after-school leader looking to get kids involved with geotechnology but you don't know where to start? The GeoMentor program will connect you with experts who can help with everything from project ideas to GIS (Geographic Information System) technical support.
The Gravestone Project
Does wandering through cemeteries sound like a BORING summer activity to you? Think again! You can be a part of a real scientific study exploring connections between graveyards and climate change.

Curious yet? Gravestone Project is a citizen science initiative combining technology, field observations, and yes—trekking through cemeteries. (Remember our July 2009 newsletter about citizen science? Read it again here.)

Participants around the world use GPS devices to identify the geographic locations of cemeteries. Then they use instruments called calipers to measure weathering rates of the marble gravestones they see. By analyzing the global data, scientists can identify connections between weathering rates and changes in atmospheric chemistry—or climate change.

Want to collect data locally to act globally? Log on to Earthtrek.com. You can register for a wide range of citizen science programs—including the Gravestone Project—supported by leading organizations such as the Geological Society of America and National Geographic.
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Help Solve an 800-Year-Old Mystery!
National Geographic explorer Albert Lin and his team are conducting an archaeological survey in the region of the lost tomb of the ruler Genghis Khan. Members of the public—that means you!—can help by tagging clues and artifacts on satellite images of the area, in modern-day Mongolia.

As of July 22, 2010, more than 4,000 online explorers had contributed by analyzing nearly than 225,000 satellite images!

Log on to the Field Expedition: Mongolia, Valley of the Khans Project website to learn more about this groundbreaking citizen science research. Steep yourself in the history and culture of Mongolia, and dive into the science behind the technology. Follow the expedition blog for the latest updates, and most importantly, find out how you can get involved today as a citizen archaeologist/geographer!
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The DealMap: Find Bargains Near You
There are many ways to find offers in your local area: in newspapers, on signs and billboards, from advertisements on radio and television, via word of mouth, and on community blogs and review websites like Yelp. But who could be expected to remember all the ads coming from seemingly every angle?

Once again, a map is here to save the day! The DealMap is a nifty tool that collects information about bargains from a broad range of sources–including on-the-ground citizen investigators called Deal Heroes—and puts it all on a map. Using the DealMap is simple: Enter your location into the search bar on the map to find deals at area restaurants, salons, hotels, attractions—even medical centers! Or download the DealMap app for your smart phone.

Read this New York Times blog post for more details, and visit the DealMap website to start bargain hunting—geographically.
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Hot This Month
Smarty-Pants Geographer
The other day we received a phone call from "Jerry" in Cleveland, Ohio. Jerry had heard a My Wonderful World public-service announcement on the radio, and he suggested we watch a YouTube video of an adorable young geographer who dances every time she correctly identifies a U.S. state. Here it is: Proof that geography is toe-tapping fun!
 
Connect With MWW
We want to get to know you, our readers, better. What do you love most about geography? What are your favorite geography tools and tips, and what do you want to hear from MWW in the future? Please "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Send us a message or a "tweet," and we promise to respond with more of the great stuff you want to see!
 
Wildest Dream Educator Resources
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest opens in theaters this month. National Geographic Education has developed a suite of standards-based lessons to accompany the large format film (think IMAX). The lessons feature movie clips, maps, photography, and written articles, for students in grades 4–12. Experience this fascinating mountain and its timeless allure for people around the world.
NGLive! Summer Programming
Looking for cool summer learning for your family? National Geographic Live brings film, music, photography, storytelling and food from diverse corners of the globe to your local community. Find a National Geographic Live event near you this summer. Here in Washington, D.C., the World Cup may be over, but the African Diaspora Film Festival is just getting underway.
 
GAWeek Corner
We asked Sandra Postel, National Geographic's Freshwater Fellow, to identify some of the most important actions people can take to conserve water. Here's her Top 10 List.
 
Summer Reading List
The International Reading Association, a member of the My Wonderful World coalition, offers several reading lists for different age levels. Our pick this summer: Children's Choices, a series of books for children selected by children. Get ahold of these tried-and-true favorites, and take your kids to a world of new places—without leaving home. Check out Young Adults' Choices for older readers, too!
 
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