Young Nat Geo explorers to win Cayman field trip

| 24/09/2010

(CNS): Promoting hands-on exploration among America’s youth, National Geographic Kids magazine is bringing 15 young explorers, who will all be winners in an essay and photo competition, to the Cayman Islands next summer for a seven-day expedition, which the magazine describes as “the field trip of a lifetime”. In a press release, National Geographic says it is currently looking for the future generation of great explorers for the 2011 National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge. Winners will fly Cayman Airways to explore the wild wonders of the islands with National Geographic and local experts as their guides. Competition winners in past years have gone to the Galápagos Islands, South Africa, Australia and Peru.

Activities will include snorkelling in world-renowned Stingray City, visiting the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park to see fabulous flowers and rare butterflies found nowhere else in the world, and hiking along the nature trails of Grand Cayman — home to the blue iguana, which is being brought back from near extinction by the Blue Iguana Recovery Program. As part of their prize, all explorers also will be equipped with their own digital cameras, courtesy of Nikon®. The Hands-On Explorers will learn about the amazing places they visit and will receive tips from National Geographic experts on capturing their discoveries in photographs and words.

National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge is a national essay and photo competition for kids ages 9-15 and is in its fifth year. Nearly 12,000 entries have been received since the program’s inception, with past expeditions taking winners to the Galápagos Islands (2006), South Africa (2007), Australia (2008) and Peru (2009). This year’s expedition, created in conjunction with the Cayman Islands, is scheduled to embark next summer.

"We are excited to be working with such a credible brand as National Geographic and thrilled that they recognized the uniqueness of the Cayman Islands to be the host destination for this year’s National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge," says Shomari Scott, acting director of tourism, the Cayman Islands. "We look forward to sharing the vast array of experiences that our islands have to offer with the next generation of great explorers."

Fifteen kids who submit entries that best meet the judging criteria will be selected for the 2011 Expedition Team. Winning submissions will creatively incorporate the topic of water in essays that describe what inspires or excites the kids as they explore their world. "National Geographic Kids magazine is pleased to partner with the Cayman Islands on the 2011 Expedition. This family-friendly destination is rich in wildlife on both land and sea, making it the perfect match for this year’s water-themed contest," says Melina Bellows, chief creative officer, National Geographic Kids and Family.

To enter the Hands-On Explorer Challenge, kids must write an original personal essay of no more than 300 words, telling National Geographic Kids magazine how they actively explore their world. Essays should creatively incorporate the topic of water while explaining what inspires and excites them as they explore their world. Entrants should consider how water is essential to life everywhere — from dew on a leaf to the sea that surrounds the Cayman Islands. To complete the entry, students also must submit a photograph that they have taken that illustrates their essay. The contest is open only to legal residents of the United States (excluding residents of Puerto Rico) and Canada (excluding residents of Quebec) who are ages nine to fifteen (9-15) as of July 1, 2011. A panel of National Geographic experts will select the 15 winners. Each winner will bring a parent or guardian on the expedition.

No purchase is necessary. The Cayman Islands expedition is scheduled for July 2011. Entries must be postmarked by 1 December2010, and received by 7 December 2010. Complete rules and details are online at http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/contests/explorer-trip-2011.

Visit the National Geographic Kids Magazine at kids.nationalgeographic.com.

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