The winners of the 2012 International Photo Contest for Kids winners have been announced! The grand prize winner is Isabella Barbaro, 11, from the United Kingdom. She has won a trip to Washington, D.C. and a tour of National Geographic headquarters.
Kids submitted more then 13,500 photos to this years contest from countries all over the world.
Today National Geographic Kids reporter Mallory Moore, age 12, sat down at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden to discuss this weekend’s Inauguration and the Joining Forces initiative to support military families.
Mallory kicked off the roundtable discussion by asking about why the Joint Forces initiative was important and how kids could help.
Both Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden emphasized the fact that we need to show our support, not just say that we are supporting military families. Many military families have to move a lot and we kids can help by being kind and inclusive. Dr. Biden also offered advice for kids in military families. She says that it helps to be involved in extracurricular activities like being on a sports team or working on the school newspaper. She also reminded us that even though these kids are not fighting, they are still serving so we should show our support to these families through our actions and our words and join forces to support and serve as a nation.
MRS. OBAMA: Well, for me, I came to the issue of military families in a different way from Dr. Biden. I had an opportunity to meet military families and kids when the President was first campaigning. And that was some of the first opportunities I had to go on military bases and really understand the huge sacrifice that these families make.
The average military kid goes to multiple schools over the course of going to high school; they may go to five or six or seven different schools. We just talked about one individual military kid whose father had been deployed for about half of their life. Imagine that. For half of your life your dad is away because he’s serving this country.
And I would hear those stories and I would just be overwhelmed by that level of sacrifice, and I realized that a lot of people in this country were like me– they never got to meet military families, they never got to know anything about them, so their service is something that most people don’t know about.
So I sort of follow up–I get to be First Lady. I want to take this spotlight that I have as First Lady and shine it on these individuals and make sure that the country understands that we have to show these families just how grateful we are for their service. It’s not enough for us just to say it. We have to show them, and make sure that they’re beings supported and they feel our love and support because of what they’re going through. And that’s one of the things we’re trying to do with Joining Forces.
But Jill’s experiences are very different from mine.
DR. BIDEN: I wanted to work on military families because I am a military mom and a military grandmom. And so before I was Second Lady, in my state of Delaware my husband was a senator, and so I was working with Delaware Boots on the Ground helping military families already.
So it was so great when Michelle and I got together as First and Second Lady that she said, Jill, what do you want to work on? And I said, I want to work on military families, and she said, I want to work on military families, too. So it was so great that this was an issue–Michelle has her issues that she likes to work on, and I have mine that I like. But this is one that we share together, so it has–it’s great for both of us because then we get to spend a lot of time together which is nice as well.
MALLORY: Well, what do you like to read?
MRS. OBAMA: You know what, I like to read–I read a great book–I don’t get a chance to read that often. Jill is–she is always recommending great books, but by the time I get into bed I can read a page and I fall asleep. But I read this wonderful mystery that was really very good. So mysteries are good. I love fictional history. I just love a good book, a good story. So it’s almost–it really doesn’t matter. I’m pretty open-minded.
And last summer I read a lot of the old classics with Malia, as she’s getting to the age of reading The Catcher in the Rye and Tender is the Night. So we’ve read some of those. All of our family read together Life of Pi, which is our family’s favorite book, and we watched the movie, which we loved, Life of Pi. That was the other movie that I saw–Life of Pi. I remembered. So I love Life of Pi, because it was also something that we shared as a family, and it was a great story of adventure and fantasy.
MRS. OBAMA: Do you guys want to be journalists?
MALLORY: A book reviewer, maybe.
MRS. OBAMA: You want to be a book reviewer? What’s your favorite book?
MALLORY: To pick one, well, I guess it would be the one I last read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
DR. BIDEN: I just bought that.
MALLORY: Yes, it’s really interesting. It’s an interesting perspective.
What question would you ask Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden?
If you like to do hands-on science activities, you’ll want to visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. The museum opened its doors in early December 2012, and has already had nearly 200,000 visitors! Some favorite exhibits are been the hands-on robots in the Bio Lab, and the Rose Hall of Birds, where you can have a 3-D flying experience.
January 13 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society! Back in 1888, 33 men founded the Society at a meeting held at the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C. Since then, the National Geographic Society has grown to be one of the world’s largest scientific and educational organizations. To celebrate, we are planning events throughout the year, and will look back on all of the amazing discoveries and adventures, as well as look ahead to the exploration that is still to come!
How are you going to explore the world this year?
Paleontologists in Nevada have discovered a Triassic-era sea monster that is the size of a bus! It lived about 244 million years ago during the Triassic era. The creature is called “lizard-eating sovereign of the seas,” or Thalattoarchon saurophagis. T. saurophagis was an early ichthyosaur, a giant reptile that lived in the oceans.
The fossil was partially excavated in 1998, and National Geographic explorer and T. saurophagis study co-author Nadia Fröbisch and her colleagues excavated the rest of the fossil in 2010. The complete fossil has a huge skull and big, sharp teeth that may have been used to eat prey the same size as T. saurophagis.
You may know that some dogs like to bury bones, but did you know that they can also be trained to find bones? Gary Jackson, an Australian dog trainer with Multinational K9 has trained Migaloo, a black lab, to find bones! Now Migaloo helps archaeologist search for bones that are hundreds of years old.
Migaloo locates the bones, but she is not allowed to dig them up–that’s up to the human archaeologists!
NASA has taken some amazing pictures from space that show the amount of artificial light generated on Earth. The lights are brightest in the big cities where most of the population lives.
The photographs were taken from a satellite using a powerful new sensor, according to NASA. It’s sensitive enough to capture the light from a ship on the ocean!
Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
The birds-of-paradise of Australia and New Guinea are visually stunning and have amazing courtship dances. A new exhibit at the National Geographic Museum highlights all 39 species of these incredible birds with photography and video.
The exhibit is open now and will be at the National Geographic Museum through May 12, 2013.
Photograph by Tim Laman, National Geographic
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In a few days, News Bites will be getting a whole new look! The commenting will be turned off for a few days while we move into the new design. Thanks for reading News Bites!
You’ll get an extra hour of sleep this weekend! Daylight saving time ends for most of the U.S. on November 4.
Daylight saving time isn’t observed everywhere in the United States. Some places, like American Samoa, Hawaii and most of Arizona, don’t change their clocks. For those places that do observe it, though, the law says that people must set their clocks back one hour to standard time at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. This Sunday, the sun will set an hour earlier. During daylight saving time, there’s less light in the morning and more light in the evening.
What is daylight saving time? Get the scoop in this News Bite.
Spend your extra hour this weekend reading a good book! Get recommendations from other kids on the DogEared Books Blog.
Photograph by Jellybean12, NG Kids My Shot
Did you know that male mice sing? According to scientists, male mice sing for many reasons, including for courtship and to show aggression. A new study reports that males change the notes in their songs to more closely match the songs of other males. Scientists record the songs and slow down the recordings to listen to them, because they are too high-pitched for humans to hear.
Photograph from Juniors Bildarchiv GmbH/Alamy
You probably know that the election for the President of the United States is coming up on November 6. But who can run for President, and how does the president get elected? Kids.gov had a contest in 2010 where people had the chance to design a poster that explains the whole process–from how old you have to be to get in the running, to how the election’s final decisions are made. The winning poster is now available on the Kids.gov website.
Illustration courtesy of Kids.gov
A planet that is about twice the size of Earth has been found orbiting a nearby star in the constellation Cancer. This planet is much too hot for humans to ever live on. But the heat is very good for something else–creating diamonds! The planet is very rich in carbon, which is what diamonds are made of. The illustration above shows the planet with a layer of diamonds under its graphite surface.
Illustration courtesy Haven Giguere, Yale
The panda cub that was born in September at the National Zoo lived for just six days before mysteriously dying. Today, the National Zoo released a statement saying that the female cub died of liver and lung damage. The cub’s lungs were not fully developed, so the cub was not getting enough oxygen. The cub’s mother, Mei Xiang, has returned to most of her ordinary behaviors.
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Paul Sereno and his team have discovered a new dinosaur species! Pegomastax africanus was only about 2 feet long, and had fangs and was covered with quills like a porcupine’s. Even though it had fangs, this tiny dino ate plants. Because of its small size, Sereno says that “it would be a nice pet–if you could train it not to nip you.”
Would you like to have a dinosaur as a pet?
What makes NG Kids so special? In one word, how would you describe National Geographic Kids? What comes to mind when you think of NG Kids games, the magazine, website, books like That’s Gross, Weird But True, NG Kids My Shot, and our animal videos?
Please add your word in the comments!
The NG Kids Dare to Explore O’ahu contest challenged kids to tell us why they would like to explore Oahu. Four kids ages 9 to 14 were selected as winners to join the Oahu expedition from August 23-29, 2012. The four winners were Ella Beezely, age 10 from Indiana; Liam Kivirist, age 10, from Wisconsin; Anya Hardin, age 12, from Ohio; and Sarah Tharpe, age 14, from Florida. The kids were joined by NG expert and Digital Nomad, Andrew Evans.
The kids visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, explored the nooks and crannies of the Battleship USS Missouri, met a real WW2 hero at the Pacific Aviation Museum, learned to plant taro (and eat poi!), made music at Na Mea KuPono, contributed to restoring the fish ponds with coral with Paepae o He`eia/Friends of He`eia, appeared on a movie set at Kualoa Ranch, explored all of the Polynesia Islands in one day plus were dazzled by “Ha!” at the Polynesian Cultural Center, all in just one week while staying at The Aston Hotel and Resort Waikiki Sunset!!
Group photograph by Dana Deighton. From left: Anya Hardin, Liam Kivirist, Ella Beezley, Sarah Tharpe with Andrew Evans, NG Digital Nomad in back
Fish photograph by Anya Hardin
Last month kids were invited to enter their pictures in the Children’s Eyes on Earth photo contest to help raise awareness of environmental issues. This contest was created by IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) along with the photographer and National Geographic photographer and humanitarian Reza. Now, you can help choose the winner by rating the photos entered in the contest! Visit the Children’s Eyes on Earth website until September 25 to vote.
A baby panda was born on September 16 at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo. The new baby is about as long as an adult’s hand, and only weighs about a quarter of a pound. Panda babies are pink when they are born–they don’t look like adult pandas at all! No one knows if the baby is a male or female yet, but the zoo will be able to tell in about a month. The new cub will receive a name when it is 100 days old, following the Chinese custom.
The last panda baby born at the zoo was named Tai Shan, seen in the picture above.
Photograph by Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP
Here’s your chance to be part of a new National Geographic Kids book! Visit the Are You “Normal”? page on National Geographic Kids
to answer polls about your family, friends, likes, dislikes, and more!
Your answers will appear in the next Are You “Normal”? book, which will
be published in 2013.
Budding photographers can enter pictures in a contest to raise awareness of environmental issues. Kids ages 17 and under can enter the Children’s Eyes On Earth International Youth Photography Contest 2012! This contest was created by IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) along with the photographer and National Geographic photographer and humanitarian Reza.
Entries must be received by September 15.
The 2012 BioBlitz is coming! The event will be held on August 24 and 25 in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Teams of volunteers will help scientists identify as many different species of plants, animals, and other organisms as they can during the 24-hour event. If you’re interested in signing up with a parent, click the link below to get more information.
Photograph by Richard Hahn, My Shot
Meet the mascots of the London 2012 Olympic Games! Wenlock and Mandeville are made of steel, and are said to be made from the last girder of the Olympic stadium! Wenlock is the mascot of the Olympic Games, and Mandeville is the mascot of the Paralympics. The mascots are both customizable. You can create your own Wenlock or Mandeville on their official website.
This summer’s Olympic games begin on July 27. The Paralympics begin on August 29. What events are you most excited to watch?
Photograph by Johnny Green, AP