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Team Canada finds culture in St. Petersburg

  • Jul 28, 2013
  • 334 words
  • 2 minutes
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As Canadians start their week after a (hopefully) restful weekend, Team Canada moves into day three of the National Geographic World Championship. I can assure you that for the three incredibly talented young men representing Canada in St. Petersburg, Russia, the weekend was anything but laid-back.

As the team completed the first round of the World Championship, which involved using photography to capture the cultural landscape of the city they had been in for all of about 24 hours, I ventured out to parts unknown, stumbling terribly in a place where, for the first time in my life, the street signs were completely undecipherable to me. After a couple of very animated conversations with friendly St. Petersburg residents, I reflected on how the smart people of National Geographic couldn’t have selected a more appropriate challenge for the 18 teams of students from across the globe.

Canadian Geographic Education firmly believes that the world needs more geography. Catching glimpses of the 72 students out on the streets of St. Petersburg, using their keen geographic knowledge to capture the essence of a city in less than two hours, is a perfect example of geography in action.

Team Canada began the challenge by taking photos of the city’s standard tourist attractions, explained Jacob Burnley, 15. About halfway through the challenge the trio stopped to regroup, realizing that they needed to look deeper. Instead, the team presented 10 photos that included a shot of elderly gentlemen playing accordions and dancing on the street and images of the boats on the canals that help define transportation throughout the city. It is this type of thinking and keen sense of curiosity that Canadian Geographic Education is trying to harness. We want people to rediscover their sense of wonder because, after all, that is geography.

Update: Team Canada tied for the top mark in the cultural landscape photography challenge. The team has made it to the finals, along with U.S. and India.

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