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Students from Massachusetts and Alabama Take Second and Third Place
Final Round to Air on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 27

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2016)—Rishi Nair of Seffner, Florida, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Williams Magnet Middle School, took top honors at the 28th annual National Geographic Bee held today at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. In addition to earning the title of National Geographic Bee champion, Rishi received a $50,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. He will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, on a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic eight-day adventure to Southeast Alaska aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, including a stop at Glacier Bay National Park, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society.

The second-place winner and recipient of a $25,000 college scholarship was 14-year-old Saketh Jonnalagadda of Westford, Massachusetts, an eighth-grader at Stony Brook Middle School. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to Kapil Nathan of Hoover, Alabama, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Brock’s Gap Intermediate School, who was also among the 2015 top 10 finalists.

In the nail-biting, seven-question final round between Rishi and Saketh, Rishi took the lead after the first question by correctly answering: “The Gotthard Base Tunnel, expected to open in early June, will be the world’s longest rail tunnel. This tunnel is located in which country?” Answer: “Switzerland.”

Saketh did not answer the first question correctly but caught up when Rishi incorrectly answered the fifth question: “An active lighthouse is located on a cape that is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. Name this cape.” Answer: “Cape Byron.”

The final question, which clinched the win for Rishi, was: “A new marine sanctuary will protect sharks and other wildlife around Isla Wolf in which archipelago in the Pacific Ocean?” Answer: “Galápagos Islands.”

Rishi is the second Florida student to win the National Geographic Bee. In 2010, eighth-grader Aadith Moorthy of Palm Harbor was the national champion.

Fifty-four state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2016 National Geographic Bee on Monday, May 23. The top 10 finishers in the preliminary rounds met in this morning’s final round, which was moderated for the first time by journalist and humorist Mo Rocca. The seven other finalists, who each won $500, were Grace Rembert, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Bozeman, Montana; Rishi Kumar, a 10-year-old fifth-grader from Ellicott City, Maryland; Pranay Varada, a 13-year-old seventh-grader from Irving, Texas; Lucas Eggers, a 13-year-old seventh-grader from Rochester, Minnesota; Samanyu Dixit, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Matthews, North Carolina; Thomas Wright, a 13-year-old seventh-grader from Mequon, Wisconsin; and Ashwin Sivakumar, an 11-year-old sixth-grader from Beaverton, Oregon.

The final round of the Bee will be aired on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 27. It will also be aired on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

Almost 3 million students in 11,000 schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the 2016 National Geographic Bee.

NOTE: B-roll, photos from the preliminary and final rounds and other press resources, including profiles of the 54 state champions, are available in the National Geographic press room:


More great info from the Safari Traveller

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2016)—A group of Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) youth in Montana will learn to tell their stories through photography and writing during National Geographic Photo Camp (NGPC) Montana, June 8-12. The camp, to be held at Little Big Horn Community College on the Crow Native American Reservation in Montana, is a partnership between the National Geographic Society and the Crow Tribe. The goal of this project is to introduce Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) youth to the power of photography through visual storytelling. The 20 participants, ages 13-19, will be mentored by National Geographic Photographer David Guttenfelder, National Geographic Creative Photographer Jonathan Kingston, National Geographic Creative Editor Stacy Gold, National Geographic Photography Producer Jeanne Modderman and National Geographic Digital Associate Photo Editor Mallory Benedict. National Geographic Photo Camp staff Jim Webb and Jenny Stratton, as well as Crow anthropologist Aaron Brien will also serve as mentors for the students.

The five-day workshop, conducted in partnership with the Crow Tribe, will explore a disappearing element of Apsáalooke culture: the clan system. The reliance on the clan system is diminishing  due to mainstream western culture and technology overwhelming indigenous belief systems. The objective of the National Geographic Photo Camp is to teach Apsáalooke youth about the roles and responsibilities of the clan system through photography. The students’ final multimedia presentation will be shown on Sunday, June 12, at 12:00 p.m. at Little Big Horn College.

“National Geographic believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. We have found that Photo Camp inspires a new generation of storytellers as well as the members of the community who view their work, ” said Kaitlin Yarnall, National Geographic Society’s Deputy Director of the Centers of Excellence. “We hope Photo Camp Montana will provide the Apsáalooke youth with a creative outlet to share their unique perspectives and an opportunity to engage with National Geographic in new ways.”

Since 2003, National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 1,500 young people in 70 locations. Olympus Imaging America Inc. has supplied cameras for the Photo Camp.

For more information on recent Photo Camps in Ukraine, South Sudan and Jordan, visit: ,,

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. We fund hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of our members and donors, we work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit