Imagine receiving a phone call telling you that out of thousands of entries, you have won a contest that will soon be taking you to a fascinating foreign country. For 12 days, you will discover coastal desserts, luscious green mountains and the secrets of the rainforest. Well, for 15 American kids, that phone call was a reality. For the fourth consecutive year, National Geographic Kids, a magazine aiming to motivate children to learn about and explore their world, has held a “Hands-On Explorer Challenge,” where kids can win a chance to go on an expedition to a foreign country.
To enter the contest, kids between the ages of 9 and 14 were asked to write a 300-word essay about how they actively explore their world, and what inspiring and exciting things they’ve found, as well as a photograph illustrating their essay. Almost 2,000 kids entered, and out of these, only 15 were selected. Their essay topics were varied, ranging from birds to fossils, foods of the world and the voices of Mother Nature, but all shared an underlying energy. “They all seemed genuinely spirited and all had a true interest in other people, other places, and nature,” Catherine Hughes, science editor for NG Kids, said.
In previous years, winners have traveled to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, South Africa, and Australia. This time, the magazine chose Peru as their destination. “We’re looking for a country which has a lot of different biodiversity, some cultural diversity, as well as some history to it, and I think that Peru is one of the best places to visit if that’s what you’re looking for,” Dana Deighton, marketing director for NG Kids, told me.→