Young Geographer the Year 2004: This Year's Question: Seventy per Cent of the World's Surface Is Covered with Water. How Should We Best Use the Seas and the Oceans?

Article excerpt

The Geographical Young Geographer of the Year competition was launched in 1999 to promote the study of geography and to encourage students to carry out independent research alongside their usual studies. The aim is to provide students with an interesting, challenging and topical project. This year, we are asking them to consider ways in which the world's seas and oceans could be used in the future.

Did you know?

* Most of the Earth's surface water is permanently frozen or salty.

* In some places the difference between high and low tide is more than 16 metres.

* Coral reefs are living structures that support a quarter of the ocean's life and some are 25 million years old. They might not be around much longer!

The winning prize

Courtesy of Silva, the winner of our 16-18-years category will win a place on a fantastic Biosphere Expeditions research project monitoring chamois, wolves and bears in the Nizke Tatry mountains in Slovakia between 15 and 27 August 2004. Biosphere Expeditions (www.biosphere-expeditions.org) is an award-winning, non-profit organisation that offers hands-on wildlife conservation expeditions as an adventure with a purpose for everyone. Projects aren't tours, photographic safaris or excursions, but genuine wildlife expeditions that give ordinary people with no research experience the chance to work alongside scientists who are at the forefront of conservation. Land Rover supports Biosphere through the provision of off-road vehicles for use in its conservation projects. This underlines Biosphere's "off-road-with-a-purpose" ethos.

Runners-up prizes

Silva, world-famous makers of compasses, navigational aids and optical instruments, are also providing some superb prizes, including binoculars, headlamps, compasses, backpacks, T-shirts and hats. Silva (www.silva.ltd.uk) is proud to support the Young Geographer of the Year competition and Biosphere Expeditions as part of its corporate responsibility programme.

The competition

Since the competition began four years ago, Geographical has been working in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to provide young people with the opportunity to discover more about the world in which they live. Young Geographer of the Year has now become a major event in the calendars of many schools and both the quantity and quality of entries has been highly impressive.

"Modern school geography teaches young people to understand and interpret the changing nature of the world in which they live," says Judith Mansell, education officer at the RGS-IBG. "The competition can advance that understanding in an intellectually stimulating and motivating way, beyond the immediate context of the curriculum."

"School geography lessons are overwhelmingly geared towards land-based topics--towards that 30 percent of the Earth's surface that humankind has been able to colonise sorely," says Rex Walford, Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. "The other 70 per cent has always received scant attention. Yet as the world becomes overcrowded and resource depleted, it is surely likely that it is the seas and the oceans to which we shall increasingly turn for solutions. Hence, in 2004, the Young Geographer of the Year competition takes as its theme 'the future of the oceans', and invites students to speculate--after arming themselves with the best expert knowledge that they can find--about what might happen to the major part of the Earth's surface during their lifetimes."

Competition guidelines (Full guidelines can be found at www.geographical.co.uk)

Categories                          Word limit

Junior Geographer (12 & under)       500 words
Young Geographer (13-15 years)       800 words
Senior Geographer (16-18 years)    1,500 words

Competition deadline 30 March 2004 Eligibility: students aged five to 18 from any school in the UK

Format

Entrants must submit a magazine article with the following title: 'Seventy per cent of the world's surface is covered with water. …