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Bee Champs Compete for National Title

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Isabella Contollini recommends we visit Red Rocks when we get to Colorado, and would like to see the popular destination become a national park. Alex Venturini lives in California, but wants to get to Italy, and shows off Mt. Diablo near his home.

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James Stiff narrates a tour of Virginia’s state capital building, Monument Avenue, and the falls of the James River in Richmond. Anthony Cheng takes viewers skiing, explains that the Great Salt Lake causes much of the snow at Utah’s ski resorts, and plays a challenging Rachmaninoff etude on the piano.

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Tine Valencic of Texas reminds viewers to refill plastic water bottles and use canvas shopping bags, as his family does, and wonders if you know which country’s monarch “invented Gross National Happiness.”

(If you don’t know the answer, you’ll have to watch his video to find out!)

Isabella, Alex, James, Anthony, and Tine are five of the 54 champions competing to win the National Geographic Bee today and tomorrow at our Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Each champion created a video about favorite places near their homes, places they’d like to visit, and tips for cramming for the Bee. (Advice from Alex Venturini: Don’t wait until the night before and try to cram, learn about the world over time and you’ll be “good to go.”) You can watch them all on our YouTube channel.

More than five million students in grades four through eight compete in school and homeschool association Geographic Bees each year. Those who do best advance to state championship matches, and the winners earn a ticket to the U.S. national contest. They represent every state, the District of Columbia, Atlantic and Pacific Territories, and Department of Defense Dependents schools.

Today’s preliminary rounds will winnow the field of 54 to ten participants. These ten will compete tomorrow for the 2010 Geographic Bee crown. Winners answer some extremely tough questions, as I learned standing in for one finalist in last year’s Bee rehearsal. Alex Trebek of the show Jeopardy hosts the final match, which will be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET/PT in the U.S.

Google Earth, which sponsored the Bee, created a video to explain Why Geography Matters.

Wonder how you’d fare? Take the GeoBee Challenge to find out.