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National Geography Day

What is National Geography Week?

image of Satellite Map

Since 1987, the National Geographic Society (NGS) has sponsored Geography Awareness Week to promote geographic literacy in schools, communities, and organizations, with a focus on the education of children. Celebrated every 3rd week in November, National Geography Awareness Week was signed into law on July 24, 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.

The need to address geographic literacy came about in 1987 after the NGS conducted a geography survey among adults 18 years and older in the United States. The findings revealed such facts as: the average American adult could identify less than 6 of 10 U.S. states; 3 in 10 adults could not use a map to tell direction or calculate the approximate distance between two points; only 57% of adults could identify England on a map of Europe; and Brazil was the only South American country correctly identified by even half of the respondents. The United States was in a crisis when it came to geographic literacy.

Since then, from local schools to the White House, it has been a top priority to focus on the geographic education of the country. Please read below to learn why geography is so important to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Geography with EPA

Protecting the environment is a job that is inherently geographic in nature. Achieving an informed understanding of the often complex spatial interrelationships of natural resources and human population as they relate to potential or known pollution sources is critical to successfully accomplishing the mission of the EPA. EPA uses geography to track all of the hazardous waste sites in the country, make important decisions on how to clean up hazardous waste sites, and inform communities of environmental hazards in their area.

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