(intense music) – [Narrator] Welcome to
the 30th annual National Geographic Bee, let’s
meet your 10 finalists. From Texas, 13 year old
Nihar Janga is a winner of the 2016 Scripts National Spelling Bee. When he’s not studying
geography, he enjoys playing football and video games with friends. From California, 13 year
old Venkat Ranjan plays the piano and has been
competing in both his school and state bees since 2015. From Arizona, 13 year old
Gayatri Kaimal has been snorkeling in Hawaii, when
she’s back in the lower 48, she loves listening to music and reading. From Ohio, 13 year old
Saket Pochiraju has won the Ohio State Bee three years in a row. He’s also quite the outdoorsman. He loves playing tennis
and exploring nature. From New Jersey 13 year
old Anoushka Buddhikot has been playing violin
since the young age of seven. She’s also an avid reader
and plans on writing a novel about an explorer, from
Massachusetts, 11 year old Atreya Mallanna is
an accomplished athlete. He plays cricket, soccer and swims. From Oregon, 13 year old Ashwin Sivakumar is a composer and birder. He’s even spent time bird
watching while traveling through Costa Rica, from Georgia,
14 year old Vishal Sareddy counts Hawaii among his
coolest destinations and loves playing basketball
and running cross country. From North Carolina, 14
year old Jonathan Song plays golf and is on a
competitive robotics team. When he’s not tearing it up on the course, he loves traveling, he’s
made it all the way to China. And finally from New Hampshire,
14 year old Sean Cheng enjoys speed cubing,
traveling and fishing. A competitor in all areas,
he also loves to play high level soccer, here they are, the 2018 National Geographic Bee finalists. (applause) And now your host, journalist, humorist and Emmy Award winning writer Mo Rocca. (applause) – Well hello everyone I
am thrilled to be back in Washington DC hosting the
National Geographic Bee which turns 30 this year
which means it’s only two years older than I am.
(laughing) This year 2.6 million
students competed in their school Geographic Bees, 54
top geographers from state and US territory earned the
right to compete this week. And after a series of preliminary rounds, 10 extremely worthy finalists
made it to this stage. Today one of these bright
minds will earn a $50,000 scholarship and the title of National Geographic Bee Champion. (applause) Are you ready to begin, let’s get started. The first seven rounds
will focus on US geography. This first round will
require spoken answers only. I’m going to ask each of you
a question about a capital city in the United States,
a photo related to your question will appear on your monitor. You will be asked to name the
city and state that its in. These questions are worth one point. You will have 12 seconds to
answer, students are you ready? They’re ready, here we go. Nihar, we begin with you,
here is the first question. This state capital on the Pearl River was named after a President
of the United States. Name this city and state.
– Jackson, Mississippi. – [Mo] That is correct
for one point, Venkat, home to the Mark Twain
house and museum this state capital is north
of the Long Island sound. Name this city and state.
– Hartford, Connecticut. – [Mo] That is correct,
Gayatri, located in the central valley this state capital
was the western terminus for both the pony express and the first transcontinental railroad,
name this city and state. – Sacramento, California.
– You got it. Saket, this state capital
is northwest of Daniel Boone National Forest and is located
in the Blue Grass region. Name this city and state.
– Frankfurt, Kentucky. – [Mo] That is right,
Anoushka, this state capital is located near both the big
belt mountains and the source of the Missouri River,
name this city and state. – Helena, Montana.
– That is correct. Atreya, founded by the
French, this state capital is located 150 miles upstream
from the Mississippi River Delta, name this city and state. – Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
– That is correct. Ashwin, located on the Hudson
River, this state capital was an active trading post in the 1600s. Name this city and state.
– Albany, New York. – [Mo] You got it, Vishal,
located about 20 miles from the Platte River this state
capital building is topped by a nearly 20 foot statue of a farmer. Name this city and state.
– Lincoln, Nebraska. – [Mo] Lincoln, Nebraska is correct. Jonathan, located on the
eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada, this state capital
experienced a silver rush in the 1850s, name this city and state. – Carson City, Nevada.
– That is right. Sean, this state capital is
east of the Ouachita Mountains and is home to the William J
Clinton Presidential Library. Name this city and state.
– Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. – [Mo] I’m sorry, the answer
was Little Rock, Arkansas. And we are off and running
at the 2018 National Geographic Bee.
(applause) These 10 gifted finalists
are competing for $85,000 in college scholarships, today’s
champion will win 50,000 of it along with a lifetime
membership to the National Geographic Society and a
Lindblad expedition to the Galapagos Islands aboard the
National Geographic Endeavor Two, second place will
earn a $25,000 scholarship and $10,000 goes to the
third place finisher. Sounds pretty good right?
(applause) I’d say so.
(applause) For round two, you’ll use
your stylus and tablets. Everyone answers this next
question at the same time. This question is worth
one point and you’ll have 12 seconds to write your answer. National Parks have been
called America’s greatest idea and yet these and other public
lands face serious threats. National Geographic is
dedicated to furthering our understanding of these
critical eco systems and inspiring action to protect them. Take a look at your monitors. Yellowstone National Park is
a geological and ecological wonder, it was the world’s
first national park and covers nearly 3500 square miles. But it’s eco system is
threatened by activity outside it’s border, while it
is best known for it’s bison, bears and wolves, the park’s
most abundant large mammal is the elk who’s migration
paths reach well beyond Yellowstone’s boundaries
and here is your question. Elk once roamed most the
United States but hunting and loss of habitat
reduced their range to the area of what mountain range that includes Yellowstone National
Park and that stretches from New Mexico to British Columbia. You will have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (intense music) (bell dinging) Time’s up, let’s see what you wrote. And surprise, surprise,
for one point the correct answer is Rocky Mountains.
(applause) 10 for 10, nicely done. You can now put down your
stylus because round three will require spoken answers only. I’m going to ask each of
you a question that will test your knowledge of revered
places in the United States. When it’s your turn a photo
related to your question will appear on your monitor,
Nihar, we begin with you. Here’s your question,
sacred to many Alaskans, this mountain was known
by the early Athabaskan people as the tall one
and it may have been central to their creation
story, name this mountain. – Mount Denali or Mount McKinley. – [Mo] Well done Denali
is correct for one point. Mount McKinley was also
acceptable, thank you. Venkat, Thornhill Chapel blends
into the surrounding woods giving visitors a sense that
they are seated in the forest itself, the chapel is
located in what physiographic region that covers much of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri? – The Ozark Plateau.
– The Ozark Plateau is correct, Gayatri, Big Sir,
a scenic region along the California coast has long
attracted native Americans, hermits and artists, this
region stretches from Carmel by the sea to San Simeon
along what mountain range? – The Sierra Nevada.
– I’m sorry. We were looking for Santa Lucia. Saket, the city of Nauvoo
attracts visitors due to it’s historic importance
as the home of the Latter Day Saints from 1839 to 1846 before the Great Salt Lake,
Nauvoo is located upstream from Quincy on what river? – The Mississippi River.
– That is correct. Anoushka, this famous gospel
choir performs all over the world sharing the joy
of faith through music. The choir shares its name
with a large neighborhood in upper Manhattan that is a
center of African American culture, name this neighborhood. – Harlem.
– Harlem is correct. Atreya, ceremonial
chambers called kivas were a feature of pre Columbian
structures in North America. Built by the ancestral Puebloans, Kivas can be found in what canyon
that shares it’s name with a national historical park
in northwestern New Mexico? – Choco Canyon.
– Choco Canyon is correct. Ashwin, each year Marti
gras celebrations draw thousands of revelers to
public spaces throughout New Orleans including Bourbon
Street and Jackson Square. In what district that
is the city’s oldest? – French Quarter.
– French Quarter is correct. Vishal, formed by the
eruption of Mount Mazama 7,000 years ago, this
lake in Oregon was held sacred by the local
Klamouth people and is the main feature of a national
park, name this lake. – Crater Lake.
– Crater Lake is correct. Jonathan, Mission Concepcion built in 1755 was one of several Spanish
missions established to protect borders from French encroachment and to convert Native
Americans to Catholicism. These missions are near
what river that shares its name with a large Texas City? – The San Antonio River.
– That is correct. Sean, Native Americans
in North Central Wyoming have long used this stone
medicine wheel for ceremonies and to predict astronomical events. This sacred site is a
national landmark in what mountain range that is the
source of the Powder River? – The Apsoroca Range.
– I’m sorry. We were looking for Big Horn Mountains. Three rounds down, four more to go before we say goodbye to the students
with the four lowest scores. But with eight points up for grabs, it’s still anyone’s game,
now before we dive back into competition, let’s get
to know a little bit more about our 10 fine finalists. Nihar, let’s begin with you. You are also the winner of the 2016 Strips National Spelling Bee,
that is very impressive. Can you spell my first name? (laughing) In French?
– M-O. – I’m sorry, it’s M-E-A-U.
(laughing) We’ll settle it later with the score. Venkat Ranjan, you are from
San Ramone, California. Give me a fun fact about San Ramone like maybe a point of interest. What’s the best thing about it? – The headquarters of
the oil company Chevron. That’s all we have.
(laughing) – Little company that you
plan on taking over maybe once you leave here and it’s
a great place to live, right? – Yeah.
– Okay. He’s gonna work for the
Chamber of Commerce. (laughing) Gayatri, it says here that
you went snorkeling in Hawaii and had a family of dolphins
swim right next to the boat. How could you tell they were a family? – Well, that’s what the
tour guide said, so. (laughing) – I’m sorry, what’s that?
– That’s what the tour guide said.
– I know. But they could’ve been
friends just hanging out. Was it exciting, was it exciting? – Yeah.
(laughing) – Alright excellent. Saket, you are from Ohio
and you won the Ohio State Geo Bee three years in a row, were all the questions about Ohio? – No.
(laughing) – Oh okay, right, well do
you know that old sound. ♪ Round on the end and
high in the middle, Ohio ♪ (laughing) You have to be 49 or older to get that. Oops, I gave it away,
Anoushka, it says here this is really cool, that
you enjoy reading fiction and plan on writing a
book about an explorer. Which explorer are you interested in? – I think everything the
Renaissance and all the explorers coming to the new world. That’s something that’s
really interested me. So I think that’s an
interesting story concept. – Okay, interesting, alright. And you’ve played the violin for how long? – Six or seven years.
– Six or seven years. And how was it balancing studying for this and playing the violin or did
one help the other in a way? – It’s a really good break a lot of time. If I’m studying and I’m
just not remembering stuff. Then it’s something I’ll just
go and do, play for an hour and then I’ll be able to retain much more information that way. – Right, I love that she blows
off steam by studying the violin, I’m like, how low do I feel? That’s very impressive,
just gonna mess around. Get off that violin, come
on, you’re wasting time. (laughing) Alright, Atreya, you are
the youngest one here. How does that feel, you’re in fifth grade. – It feels good to be the youngest one. Like I have nothing to lose.
(laughing) (applause) – You got time, you’re gonna survive all of these people here. You got years ahead of you, right? But that’s a good point,
you can just, right, really just have fun because
you’ve got years to go with this eligibility.
– Yeah. – And you really are just
11, this is not a rouse. – Yeah, I’m 11.
– Okay. Alright Ashwin, this
is the second time I’ve moderated with you up here,
you were here two years ago. What happened last year, no, I’m kidding. (laughing) No it’s very very impressive
that you’re here twice. Now you were just recently
traveling through Costa Rica. Tell us about that.
– Well it’s really cool ’cause unlike other
countries in Latin America, Costa Rica has really
taken a lot of efforts to preserve it’s biodiversity
so we got to travel through a lot of really pristine
rainforests and natural environments that don’t
really exist anymore anywhere else in Latin America so that was pretty incredible. – Well that’s wonderful
and there’s, I think, an election coming up in Costa Rica and he should be on the ballet. Vishal, you are from Georgia. Georgia has a lot of great crops. So I have to ask you the
questions, peanuts or peaches. – Peaches.
– Peaches. That is correct for an extra point. It’s a wonderful state
though, a beautiful state. – Alright, Jonathan, from
North Carolina, Jonathan Song, you were on a robotics team
that competes in the first tech challenge, what is that? – Well it’s like, you make
these like mini robots. It’s not the full size
ones but they compete on a field and they do missions and stuff. – When you eventually
create your own robot, what is your priority,
what is the one thing you want your robot to be able to
do if it could do anything? – Cook for me.
(laughing) – And I’m guessing Jonathan’s
parents feel the same way. (laughing) Alright Sean Chang from New Hampshire. Your hobbies include speed
cubing and at first when I read it I thought it was speed clubbing and I thought you’re a
little young for that. What is speed cubing? – It’s just solving Rubix
Cubes as fast as you can. – [Mo] Is it specifically Rubix cubes? – There’s different size ones
like the traditional ones, like a three by three but
there’s different sizes. – And how fast can you do
an old fashioned Rubix cube? – My best competition
time is 9.29 seconds. – 9.2 seconds?
– Yeah. – Oh my gosh, that’s, wow. That’s how long it takes
me to make the first turn. Oh and I read, do you know what the state fruit of New Hampshire is?
– No. – Alright well it’s in the
final round, no, I’m kidding. It’s a pumpkin, I thought
that that was kinda cute and confusing because I
thought a pumpkin was just a decoration or maybe a
vegetable, alright and let’s give a shout out to
our other 44 finalists. These brilliant students.
(applause) And now back to our competition. For round four, you’ll
need your stylus again because everyone answers this
question at the same time. This question is worth one point. The National Geographic
Society is committed to exploring and protecting
our planet and supporting bold individuals who are
pushing the boundaries of knowledge, take a look at your monitors. Daniella Kavachi is a biologist
and National Geographic young explorer, as a
child in Mexico, she was attracted to strange and
misunderstood animals like spiders and snakes,
today she is fortunate to work with one of the most
mysterious creatures, bats. Daniella’s current project
is to identify and preserve bat species in archeological zones. So at night, she spends
time inside pyramids looking for these beautiful animals. And here is your question,
some female lesser long nosed bats migrate to the
United States to roost in a National monument that borders Mexico. These bats are the primary
pollinators of a species of cactus that gave it’s
name to the monument. What is the name of this cactus? You will have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (intense music) (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For one point the correct
answer is Organ Pipe. Okay so let’s see how everyone did. Three of you had the correct answer. That was a nail biter there. We’ve come to the first Geo
Challenge of the competition. We’ll be testing you not
just on what you know but how well you know
it, each of you will be presented with a different
map of the continuous United States and two choices
for what the map is showing. You will have 10 seconds
to tell us your answer. If you are correct, you will
receive one point and the opportunity to explain why
for a possible two additional points, we will give you a
few moments to think about your response and when
the bell rings, you’ll have 20 seconds in which to
complete your explanation. A panel of judges will
determine if your explanation is strong enough to earn the
additional two points. When it’s your turn, take
a look at your monitor. Ready, Nihar, take a look at your map. Does this map show vegetation
zones or average wind speeds? – This map is showing vegetation zones. – [Mo] I’m sorry, the correct
answer is average wind speeds so unfortunately you don’t get any points. Venkat, take a look at your map. Does this map show irrigated
land or peach production? – This map shows irrigated land. – That is correct for one point, for two additional points tell us
why this answer is correct. – This map is showing
irrigated land because areas that do not naturally
receive a lot of water that support farming are
shown in the map like the Central Valley of California
and the Snake River Valley of Idaho, this map cannot
be a peach production map because most peaches
are grown in the south especially in Georgia.
– Alright. And we’re gonna give the
judges a moment to confer. And the judges are quite
satisfied with your answer so two additional points for you. Gayatri, take a look at your map. Does this map show percent of federal land or miles driven per capita? – This map shows miles driven per capita. – That is correct for one
point, for two additional points tell us why this answer is correct. – Had this map shown
percent of federal land, places like Arizona and
New Mexico with lots of land owned federally by
the government would’ve had a higher shading, this map
shows miles driven per capita because open places like
Wyoming and Montana have. (bell dings) – We’ll give the judges
a moment to confer. And you just got those
two additional points for your answer for your explanation. Saket, does your map
show average minimum wage or ferry boat boardings by state? – This map shows average minimum wage. – [Mo] I’m sorry that is incorrect. The correct answer is ferry
boat boardings by state. So no points for you,
Anoushka, does your map show pesticide use or number of dairy cows? – This map shows pesticide use. – Pesticide use is correct,
you earned one point. For two additional points, tell us why this answer is correct. – This map shows pesticide
use because the highest concentrations are in
great plains and along the Mississippi River where a
lot of pesticides are used in farming, if this map was
showing number of dairy cows, there would be a much
higher concentration in Wisconsin and Texas.
– We’ll give the judges a moment to confer. And Anoushka, they like your answer. Two additional points for you. – Atreya, take a look at your map. Tell us, does it show percent
homeless or literacy rate? – Literacy rate.
– I’m sorry Atreya. The correct answer is percent homeless. Ashwin, does your map show
the range of the black bear or the range of the Ponderosa Pine? – Range of the Ponderosa Pine.
– That is correct. And for one point, for
two additional points, tell us why this answer is correct. – This map shows range
of the Ponderosa Pine ’cause all of the coloring is
in the Western United States where the range of the Ponderosa Pine is in the interior west, it
doesn’t show black bears because black bears are also found in the eastern United States.
– Judges, what say you? The judges like that answer,
two additional points for Ashwin, Vishal, does your
map show number of days with freezing temperatures
or average annual snowfall? – Average annual snowfall?
– It is average annual snowfall for one point,
for two additional points, tell us why your answer is correct. – This map shows average
annual snowfall because areas such as the Colorado
Rockies and the Sierra Nevada have a high concentration on this map. And this map does not
show freezing temperatures because there would be
a higher concentration such as north, like western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee where they would be. (bell dings) – And the judges approve
of Vishal’s explanation for two additional points. Jonathan, take a look at your map. Does this map show public
libraries or golf courses? – Public libraries.
– Public libraries is correct, you earned one point. For two additional points, tell us why this answer is correct.
– This map shows public libraries because
the higher concentration on this map is in the cities
where the majority of public libraries are located, it
doesn’t show golf courses because golf courses can
also be found in rural and suburban areas.
– Judges. The judges like that answer, two additional points to Jonathan. Sean, does your map
show Superfund hazardous waste sites or four year colleges? – Four year colleges.
– I’m sorry the correct answer was Superfund
hazardous waste sites. And that concludes the
first Geo Challenge round. Five rounds down and two more to go before our first four eliminations. There are four points up for grabs over the next two rounds, you’ll
need your stylus again in round six, we’ll be hearing
from a National Geographic explorer, take a look at your monitors. – Hi, I’m Courtney Borgerson,
I am an anthropologist, a conservation biologist and a
National Geographic explorer. You’ll often find me in
Madagascar where I study eco system balance and
the illegal hunting of endangered lemurs but I’m also
passionate about education and I visit classrooms in the
US to teach students about scientific inquiry right
in their own backyards. Now here’s your question,
one of my first experiences with science was a school
field trip to a US island that is home to the world’s
longest running predator prey study, this lake island
is now overpopulated with moose and scientists want
to bring the island back into ecological balance by
repopulating it with wolves. Name this lake island which
is also a national park. – You’ll have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For one point, the correct
answer is, all together now Isle Royale.
(applause) Now let’s take a moment
to review the scores before our next round, Ashwin is in front and there is a five way
tie, Venkat, Gayatri, Anoushka, Vishal and
Jonathan right behind there. Okay after this round,
the four students with the lowest scores will leave us
but there are still three points up for grabs for each student. In round seven, the aptly
named lightning round. Here’s how it works, I’ll
give you each, I’ll give each of you three questions
in a row and you’ll have six seconds to answer each. One point is awarded for
each correct response. Get ready, this one moves like. – Lightning.
– Like lightning. – Like lightning, I’ll
work on my delivery, okay. Here we go, Nihar, what
is the name of the largest swamp on the border of
Virginia and North Carolina? – The Great Dismal Swamp.
– That is correct. And again Nihar, Wayamaya
Canyon is located on which Hawaiian island?
– Kawaii. – [Mo] That is correct, name the state reptile of Mississippi. – Alligator.
– The American Alligator, that is correct,
Venkat, name the oldest existing National Park east
of the Mississippi River? – Acadia.
– That is correct. Again Venkat, name the widest falls section at Niagara Falls? – Horseshoe Falls.
– Horseshoe Falls is correct, settlers in Oklahoma
who started the land rush early inspired what
nickname for the state. – The sooner state.
– That is correct. Gayatri, what large city
in eastern Tennessee was the state’s first capital? – Memphis.
– I’m sorry. The answer is Knoxville, again Gayatri. Providence, Rhode Island is located at the head of what bay?
– The Naragazit Bay. – [Mo] That is correct,
what is Washington state’s most valuable food crop
in terms of total revenue? – Apples.
– Apples is correct. Saket, name the highest
mountain peak in Vermont. – Mount Mansfield.
– That is correct. What is the largest
island of American Samoa. – Tutuila.
– Tutuila is correct. What fruit is on the standard
Florida license plate? – An orange.
– An orange is correct. Anoushka, name the rift lake
on the San Andreas fault that is the largest lake in California. – The Salton Sea.
– Salton Sea is correct. Name the sub range of
the Rocky Mountains that marks the western border of Montana. – The Bitterroot Range.
– That is right. What two and a half mile
walking route in Boston, Massachusetts connects 16 historic sites? – The freedom trail.
– The freedom trail is correct, Atreya, name the
largest city on Colorado’s Kaushalya River?
– Fort Collins. – [Mo] Fort Collins is correct. Name the group of islands
in northern Wisconsin that make up part of a national lake shore? – Apostle Islands.
– You got it. What gift from France
is pictured on the state quarter of New York?
– Statue of Liberty. – [Mo] Statue of Liberty is correct. Ashwin, name the largest lake in Alaska? – Lake Iliamna.
– That is correct. What river forms most of the border between Texas and Louisiana? – The Sabine River.
– The Sabine River is correct, what is the official
dance of the state of Hawaii? – Hula.
– Hula is correct. Vishal, what bay is the
sunken estuary of the Susquehanna River?
– Chesapeake Bay. – [Mo] That is correct,
name the largest city on the Kiahoga River.
– Cleveland. – [Mo] Cleveland is correct,
what is the popular name for the group of stars depicted
on Alaska’s state flag? – The Big Dipper.
– The Big Dipper is right. Jonathan, name the highest
mountain peak in California. – Mount Whitney.
– You got it. Name the capital of Guam. – Could you repeat?
– Name the capital of Guam. – Agana.
– That is acceptable, yes. Hagotnia or Agana, that’s correct. What is the official
crustacean of Louisiana? – The crawfish.
– That is correct. Sean, what North Carolina city is located at the Confluence of a Swananoa River and the French Broad River? – Charlotte.
– I’m sorry. The answer is Ashville,
name the largest lake in Maine which is the source
of the Kenebeck River. – Moosehead Lake.
– That is correct. In 1812, soldiers from
Tennessee inspired what nickname for the state?
– The volunteer state. – [Mo] The Volunteer state is correct. (applause) That deserves a round
of applause, I’m winded. (applause) Now we have reached the
conclusion of part one of the competition and we
now have the tough task of saying goodbye to Atreya,
Nihar, Saket and Sean. A huge round of applause,
valent competitors here. (applause) One of these six students
will be named the 30th champion of the
National Geographic Bee. Remember, there’s a lot on
the line for these finalists including $85,000 in scholarship money. Now you may not know this or maybe you do but I love geography and
we thought it would be fun to turn the tables and
have the students quiz me on their home states so
hit me with your best shot. We’ll start up here, Venkat. – Name the smallest county
by area in California. (laughing) – Ya know, I bet, I bet,
there’s a whole lot of people packed in there, I
bet it’s Los Angeles county. – No.
– Alright, then I bet. Well it’s not orange county. I bet it’s, is San
Francisco it’s own county? – Yes.
– So it’s the San Francisco county.
– Good job. – What’s that?
– Good job. – Okay, alright, well I sorta got that. (laughing) Okay, how small is it?
– I don’t know, just small. – Well, we’re even then, Gayatri. – What is the Indian reservation located inside of an Indian reservation? – An Indian reservation inside
of an Indian Reservation, so an Indian reservation inside, oh, it’s the Turducken nation.
(laughing) If you don’t say I’m
wrong, then I’m right. (laughing) What is it called?
– Do you want the answer? (laughing) – Well I mean, at this point, I think we might as well resolve it. – Okay, it’s the Hopi.
– The Hopi. What are they inside of?
– The Navajo. – Oh my god, that must be so suffocating. (laughing) Well you learn something every day you moderate the National Geographic Bee. Anoushka, I love New
Jersey and just before you ask me anything, I just
want everyone to know that New Jersey has the most diners in America. And that is true. – This one’s really hard, okay? What’s the highest point in New Jersey? – What’s the highest point in, what’s the highest, the
highest point in New Jersey? It’s not Trenton, it’s, Newark, is there, there’s gotta be a mountain in New Jersey. Mount Soprano.
(laughing) What is it?
– It’s called High Point. (laughing) – That is such a dad joke.
(laughing) After the explorer book,
you’ve gotta write a book of one liners, that’s great, I like that. I love New Jersey, New
Jersey also has the most scientists and engineers per square mile. (laughing)
Okay, Ashwin. – Name the western most point in Oregon. – The what?
– The western most point. – Oh, the Pacific Ocean.
– That’s. – No, the western most point, is there, I once went to Pacific City, Oregon. I’m sure there’s some
dude from Portland who has a house boats that’s
drifted out to sea so far he forgot where he was. – I was thinking of Cape Blanco but you were actually
correct at Pacific Ocean. – Thank god, I know
how to game the system. I should be there, Vishal,
ask me about Georgia. – The University of Georgia is located in which city Northeast of Atlanta. – Athens.
– Yeah. – This is the way it should go every time. (laughing) Jonathan, as me about North,
I love North Carolina. I spent two summers in Winston Salem. – What city was created in 1913 by the merging of two major tobacco towns? – Winston Salem.
– Yeah. (laughing) – Wow.
(applause) And now back to the game.
(applause) From this part of the competition on, we’re going global, questions
are now worth two points. And after six more rounds,
the three remaining students with the lowest scores will be eliminated. Let’s move on to round eight. This round will require
spoken answers only. I’m gonna give you each a
question to test your knowledge and recognition of national capitals. When it’s your turn, a photo
related to your question will appear on your
monitor, you will have 12 seconds to answer beginning with Venkat. Once a viking settlement,
this capital city is located on the east coast of an
island where the river Liffey enters the sea, name this city. – Dublin.
– Dublin is correct. Gayatri, this capital city
is home to the Grand Palace which was once the official
residence of the Kings of Siam, name this city. – Bangkok.
– Bangkok is correct. Anoushka, in 2011 Tahrir
Square was the focal point of a revolution in a capital
city, name this city which is located between
the ruins of the ancient city of Memphis and one of the
world’s major river deltas. – Kyro.
– Kyro is correct. Ashwin, southwest of the
highest point in the Andies Mountains, the capital
city is located on the Mapocho River in a geological
zone prone to earthquakes. Name this city.
– Santiago. – [Mo] Santiago is correct. Vishal, founded by the
Spanish, this capital city was supported by Soviet Subsidies
for much of the second half of the 20th century,
name this city located along the Straits of Florida.
– Havana. – [Mo] Havana is correct. Jonathan, this capital city
is located northwest of the Cyclades on a peninsula
that borders the Aegean Sea. Name this city which was
once a powerful city state. – Athens.
– Athens is correct. No time to waste, let’s
get right to round nine. For this next question, you’ll
need your stylus once again. We have another special guest,
take a look at your monitors. – Hi, I’m Grace Cowart
Young, an ocean engineer, Aquanaut and National
Geographic emerging explorer. I’ve lived at the bottom of
the ocean in the Florida Keys, sailed across the Atlantic
Ocean and I’ve worked with NASA to create 3D maps of astroids. Right now I’m worked to
refurbish a submarine in Kansas of all places, my great
passion though is connecting art with science, for example,
by creating 3D maps of coral reefs and dancing underwater. Now here’s your question, my
research has taken me to the coral reefs off the island of Utila. Utila is the western most
island of what arapeligo off the coast of Honduras. – You’ll have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For two points, the correct
answer is Bay Islands. Let’s see how you did, three
of you had the correct answer. Students please keep your
stylus out for this next video question, this year National Geographic, the Audubon Society,
Bird Life International and Cornell Lab of Ornithology
are joining with nature lovers around the world to
celebrate the year of the bird. Birds symbolize nature’s
interconnectedness and our next special guest
is raising awareness of the importance of protecting
birds in a changing world. Once again, take a look at your monitors. – Hi, I’m Washington Washira,
I’m a wildlife conservationist and a National Geographic explorer. Now here is your question,
African crowned Eagles can be found in forests in a capital city near the Athy River, name this city which is sometimes called the
grain city in the sand. – You have 12 seconds to
write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For another two points, the
correct answer is Nairobi. Back row there all had it correct. In this next round, I’m
going to give each of you a question inspired by the
National Geographic channel series called one strange
rock which explores the fragility and wonder of planet earth. A photo related to your
question will appear on your monitory, you’ll have
12 seconds to answer. Venkat, in northern Quebec,
the Pingualuit Crater is an example of how Meteorites
have shaped our planet. Pingualuit Crater is located on what large peninsula south of the Hudson Strait? – The Ungava Peninsula.
– The Ungava Peninsula is correct, Gayatri,
the convergence of three tectonic plates created this depression where the ground spits acid. Located in the northern
part of the Afar region on the horn of Africa, what is
the name of this feature? – The Danakil Depression.
– The Danakil Depression is correct, Anoushka, around
the world waters is temporarily harnessed by tens
of thousands of large dams such as the Xiaolangdi
Dam in Hanon Province. The Xiaolangdi Dam is
located on what river north of the Qin Ling mountains? – The Yellow River.
– The Yellow River is correct. Ashwin, millions of years
ago, super volcanoes set off an extinction event that
killed most of life on earth. Protected in its underground
burrows, a reptile called Thrinaxodon survived,
fossils of this species have been found near
what river that rises in the Lesotho Highlands and
flow through Upington? – The Orange River.
– The orange river is correct. Vishal, covering over
5% of earth’s land mass, lichens such as these in
Ontario break down rocks, generate oxygen and absorb pollution. These islands can be found in what bay east of the Bruce Peninsula? – The Georgian Bay.
– The Georgian Bay is correct. Jonathan, on the Togian
Islands in the Gulf of Tomini most children learn to
swim before they can walk. The Gulf of Tomini is one
of three gulfs that define the unique shape of which of
the Greater Sunda Islands? – Sulawessy.
– Sulawessy is correct. For this next question,
you’ll need your stylus again for a question from a
special repeat guest who visited us last year from Kositchstan. Take a look at your monitors. – Hello, my name is Paul
Selapeck and I’m a journalist and National Geographic
fellow and I’m 1500 miles further along on my 21,000
mile Out of Eden Walk. I’m following the pathways
of our ancestors who migrated out of Africa
60,000 years ago writing about topics such as
climate change to migration to technological innovation
and you can follow along on this 10 year journey at
www.outofedenwalk.org. Now here’s your question,
soon my walk will take me to a city in India renowned
for it’s architecture and urban design, it was declared
a union territory in 1966 and serves as the joint capital
of two neighboring states. Name this city. – You will have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For two points, the correct
answer is Chundagar. Let’s see how you all did,
four of you had it right. 12 rounds down and one more
to go before we have to say goodbye to the three
students with the lowest scores. So let’s take a look at
the current standings. Venkat and Anoushka are
tied in first place. Vishal is not far behind,
six points though are still up for grabs in our second
and final lightning round. Once again, when it’s your
turn you’ll be asked three questions in a row and have
six seconds to answer each. This time you’ll receive
two points for each correct response, a lot at stake,
there’s a lot of room to make up ground, kids, okay. Students, are you ready,
Venkat, name the largest of the Baliaric Islands.
– Mayourka. – [Mo] Mayourka is correct,
the Sawine River flows into the gulf of Martaban
before entering what sea? This is for you Venkat.
– The Ondomon Sea. – [Mo] That is correct. What religion is
practiced by a majority of people in Mongolia?
– Buddhism. – [Mo] Buddhism is correct,
Gayatri, the far east of Bolivia is part of what
large tropical wet land? – The Grand Chako.
– I’m sorry. The answer is the Pontinal,
name Sweden’s largest island. – Gotland.
– Gotland is correct. What is the official
working language of the federal government of Ethiopia? – Umharic.
– Umharic is correct. Anoushka, what channel
connects bath and bay with the Boford sea?
– The Perry Channel. – [Mo] Perry Channel is correct. What is the name of the highest
mountain peak in Algeria? – Mount Tahop.
– You got it. What is the predominant
religion of Marishis? – Hinduism.
– Hinduism is correct. Ashwin, what large salt
water lake is located just west of Tabris, Iran? – Lake Ormia.
– Lake Ormia’s correct. Name the gulf on the
southern coast of Honduras. – Gulf of Fansica.
– Gulf of Fansica’s correct. What is the official
language of Mozambique? – Portuguese.
– Portuguese is correct. Vishal, name the southern
most state of Mexico. – Wahaka.
– The answer, I’m sorry, is Chiopas,
what man made lake spans one third of the border
of Zambia and Zimbabwe? – Lake Curiba.
– Lake Curiba’s correct. What is the official currency of Denmark. – The Chrone.
– The Chrone is correct. Jonathan, what channel
south of the Irish Sea separates whales from Ireland? The answer is Saint Georgia’s Channel. Matsayama is the largest
city on what major Japanese island?
– Checoku. – [Mo] Checoku is correct. What is the official language of Andora? – Catalan.
– Catalan is correct. Alright the time has come to
bid farewell to half of the students on stage, let’s
take a look at the scores. We must say goodbye now to
Gayatri, Ashwin and Jonathan. A huge round of applause
making it this far. (applause) Here they are, the final three. (applause and cheering) Each of these three finalist
has now won at least a $10,000 scholarship so big
congratulations to each of you. You’ve already won big.
(applause) Next we get one step closer
to crowning our champion as these three students square off in the final Geo Challenge Round. – [Narrator] To learn more
about how your school can participate in the 2019
National Geographic Bee, visit our website,
natgeobee.org for details and instructions on how to get started. Maybe we’ll see a student
from your home town here next year.
(applause) – We’re ready to continue
with the 30th National Geographic Bee, our three
finalists are sequestered back stage where they can
neither see nor hear anything happening on stage, in this
next Geo Challenge round we’ll bring them out one
by one to test ’em not just on what they know but
how well they can apply and communicate that knowledge. Each student will answer
the same question which poses a real world scenario
and they’ll be given three possible answers
from which to choose. Our panel of judges of will
score their responses based on three criteria, accuracy,
reasoning and presentation. Each year millions of tons
of plastic waste end up in the oceans threatening everything
that depends on earth’s largest eco system, National
Geographic has begun a multi year effort to raise awareness
and help find solutions to this crisis, our three
finalists will be asked to identify a location for
an ongoing clean up effort to recover plastics from a local river. The goal is to reduce the
amount of plastic that leeches the ocean, the students much tell us which river is the best location and why. The students must focus
their effort at the Mouth of one of three rivers, the
Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangtze River,
they must factor in the area’s population, plastic consumption and plastic waste management. The Yangtze river is the
best choice because of the high population and high
plastic consumption in the Yangtze river basin, it’s
also a rapidly growing area with overwhelmed waste management. The Niger river would be
the second best choice. The region has less population
and plastic consumption than that of the Yangtze though it’s waste management is also strained. The Rhine river is the weakest
choice for the clean up effort, it has the lowest
population and while it has high per capita plastic consumption, it has the strongest
existing waste management. The students must choice the
answer that best fits the scenario and explain their reasoning. We will give each of them
a moment to think about it. But once the bell rings, they’ll
have 45 seconds to respond. If he or she falls silent
for more than five seconds, their time will be up. This question is worth
a whopping nine points. So this is a game making
or game breaking moment for our finalists, the students
have been briefed on these rules but obviously not the question. And remember this is not
just about right or wrong. This is also about reasoning,
the quality of presentation. We begin with the student
currently in third place. Vishal, please come on out
on stage to be the first to answer this Geo Challenge. (applause) I’m gonna ask you to take
right front and center. Vishal, here is the question. Each year millions of tons of plastic debris ends up in the oceans,
much of it from rivers. Your goal is to help reduce the amount of plastic that reaches
the oceans by organizing a clean up effort to remove
plastic from a major river. You can focus your
clean up effort near the mouth of one of three
rivers, the Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangzke river based on the criteria of population, plastic consumption and plastic waste management, on which river would your clean up effort have the greatest impact? You will have 15 seconds to think about your answer. When the
bell rings, please begin. (bell dings) – I would focus my clean up
effort on the Yangzke River because first of all, the
Yangzke river has a really great population with cities
such as Shanghi and Nanging. Second of all, there’s a lot
of plastic consumption with China having one of the most
plastic consuming countries in the world and China doesn’t
have the best plastic waste management so a clean up would really help to clean up the plastic
on the Yangzke river. The Niger river on the other
hand, does not have as much plastic consumption as the
Yangzke and the Rhine River is really good with
plastic waste management and doesn’t consume average
plastic as the Yangzke river. For these reasons I would
choose the Yangzke river for my clean up efforts.
– A round of applause for Vishal, nice done, so come
back here if you would. (applause) And I’m gonna ask you to stand
like right in here, okay. Alright, now let’s bring
out Anoushka, okay. Anoushka, come on out.
(applause) I’m gonna ask you to stand
front and center there. Anoushka here is the question. Each year millions of tons
of plastic debris ends up in the oceans, much of it from rivers. Your goal is to help reduce the amount of plastic that reaches
the oceans by organizing a clean up effort to remove
plastic from a major river. You can focus your clean
up effort near the mouth of one of three rivers, the
Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangzke river based on
the criteria of population, plastic consumption and
plastic waste management, on which river would your clean up effort have the greatest impact? You will have 15 seconds
to think about your answer. When the bell rings, please begin. (bell dings) – I would choose the Yangzke
river to focus a clean up effort on, the Yangzke river
flows, the mouth of the Yangzke river is at Shanghi which
is a major city in China. Between the many people in
the city, there is a lot of plastic waste that occurs
and China is often considered one of the most populated,
populated and polluted places in the world, on the other
hand, the Rhine river mouth is in the Netherlands where
there is a stable clean up system already in place and
a much smaller population. Along the Niger river there
is also less plastic waste being used, for these reasons
I would choose the Yangzke river to focus a clean
up effort on, thank you. (applause) – Anoushka, I’m gonna ask
you to come back here please and stand to the left of Venkat, perfect. Alright, and now let’s bring out Venkat. (applause) Venkat, if you wanna stand
right front and center there. Here’s the question. Each year millions of tons
of plastic debris ends up in the oceans, much of it from rivers. Your goal is to help reduce
the amount of plastic that reaches the oceans
by organizing a clean up effort to remove plastic
from a major river. You can focus your clean
up effort near the mouth of one of three rivers, the
Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangzke river based on
the criteria of population, plastic consumption and
plastic waste management, on which river would your clean up effort have the greatest impact? You will have 15 seconds
to think about your answer. When the bell rings, please begin. (bell dings) – I believe that the Yangzke
river is the best river to focus my plastic clean up effort on. This is because tens of
millions of people live on the Yangzke river today and
they produce a lot of plastic as the Yangzke river in China
has a huge manufacturing industry that produces
a lot of plastic waste. Also the China does not
have a very good waste management program, unlike
the Rhine River in Europe and the Rhine River is
not a good choice because even though it produces a lot of plastic, as I said before, it has good
plastic waste management. The Niger river is not a
good choice because not too many people live along
it’s banks and it has very low plastic consumption, that is why. (bell dings)
(applause) Okay, I’m gonna ask the two
of you to come with me please. If you would Venkat, stand to the left and Vishal all the way on the
right and Anoushka in between, the order in which you came out. Great job by all of our finalists. (applause) Now our judges will take
a few moments to confer. (intense music) The judges have tabulated the
scores for this Geo Challenge and are ready to share the results. Judges, we’ll start with Vishal. – Hi Vishal, you responded
with the Yangzke River which was the best choice, you
gave great supporting facts for all the criteria we
were looking for including mentioning Shaghi and
Naching, your excellent presentation was also very
well organized and had an excellent progression as well. We gave you eight points. – And that gives Vishal
a total now of 30 points. And we move on to Anoushka now. – Anoushka, you also
mentioned the Yangzke river which is what we were looking for. You had good facts to
support all of the criteria and contrasted the weaker
choices against the best answer. Your presentation was
very very clear but it did feel a little rushed, we
gave you seven points. – And that gives Anoushka
a total of 33 points. And finally Venkat.
– Venkat, you also mentioned the Yangzke river. You had excellent details
and a more complete explanation to support your
choice including mentioning the industrial base of the Yangzke basin. Your presentation was
effective but overall could’ve been smoother,
we gave you eight points. – That gives Venkat a total of 34. Tremendous job by all,
that was a real nail biter. (applause) And after tabulating the
scores, we must say goodbye to Vishal but don’t forget
you’re still leaving here a winner, there’s a $10,000
scholarship with your name on it. (applause) A big congratulations to
you for making it this far. (applause) And then there were two, Anoushka
Buddhikot from New Jersey and Venkat Ranjan from California. (applause and cheering) We are gonna get set
up for the final round and when we return, one
of these gifted students will become the 2018 National
Geographic Bee Champion. (applause) – [Narrator] There is a lot on
the line for these students. The Champion will receive a
$50,000 scholarship plus a lifetime membership to the
National Geographic Society and a Lindblad Expedition
to the Galapagos Islands aboard the National
Geographic Endeavor Two. Now back to Mo Rocca. – Welcome to the Championship
Round of the 30th National Geographic Bee,
out of 2.6 million students, 54 of the country’s brightest
young geographers made it here to Washington DC, the
top 10 earned their place to compete today, now we’re down to two. 13 year old Venkat Ranjan from California and 13 year old Anoushka
Buddhikot from New Jersey. Congratulations on to you
both on making it this far. (applause) So Venkat, what would it mean
to you to win this thing? – That would be good.
(laughing) – Be good, you’re underplaying
it right now, right? – Maybe.
– I get it, okay. – Anoushka, how long have
you prepared for this moment? – I’ve been participating
in the National Geographic Bees since I was in fourth grade. – Since the fourth
grade, nine or 10 years, eight or nine years old, right? Excellent, okay, well you’ve
come a long way, both of you. And now it’s time to get down to business. Here’s how it’s going to work. You each begin this final
round with a clean slate. The Championship round
is single elimination. You will both be asked the
same question at the same time. The contestant who correctly
answers the question that the other contestant
misses will be named our National Champion,
so watch closely because every question could be
the winning question. You’re gonna need your
stylus for this final round. I will read each question
twice so listen carefully before answering, you’ll
then have 12 seconds to write your responses, for the final time, students, are you ready? They’re ready, here is your question. Name the small southeast
Asian country that has a northern coastline on the
Wetar and Ombai Straits. I repeat Name the small
southeast Asian country that has a northern coastline on
the Wetar and Ombai Straits. (intense music)
(bell dings) Venkat, what do you have?
– East Timor. – Anoushka.
– Timor Leste. The correct answer is Timor
Leste, also east Timor. So you are both correct.
(applause) And we like variety, okay,
onto the next question. Lebanon has a population most similar to which South American country? I repeat Lebanon has a population most similar to which
South American country? (bell dings) Venkat, what do you have?
– Paraguay. – Anoushka.
– Guyana. – Two different answers, I
can tell you now that one is correct so we’re
about to learn who is the 2018 National Geographic Bee Champion. The correct answer is
Paraguay, so Venkat Ranjan is the 2018 National Geographic Bee. (intense music)
(applause) – Congratulations.
– Congratulations. (applause and cheering) – [Narrator] A dramatic end
to a terrific competition. Here’s how our 10 finalists
officially finished. And remember each of these
students outlasted millions of others around the country
to make it to Washington DC and end up on this stage. – And now to award the metals
to our top three finishers, please welcome Mike
Ulaka, interim President and CEO of the National Geographic
Society, thank you, Mike. (applause) Finishing in third place
and winner of a $10,000 scholarship, Vishal Sareddy from Georgia. (applause) Wonderful job, wonderful. Our runner up and winner
of a $25,000 scholarship, Anoushka Buddhikot from New Jersey. (applause) Congratulations again, wonderful. And the winner of a $50,000 scholarship, a lifetime membership to the
National Geographic Society and a trip for two on
a Lindblad expedition to Galapagos Islands aboard
the National Geographic Endeavor Two, the 2018
National Geographic Champion Venkat Ranjan from California. (applause)
(intense music) Thank you Mike and I’m
gonna step over here. And Venkat, I’ve gotta ask
you what was going through your mind on that last
question about population of Lebanon being similar,
most similar to which South American country.
– I don’t know this so I’m gonna have to guess something. – So you winged it.
– Kinda. – Right and we’re lucky that
in the midst of those two minutes, Paraguay didn’t have
a huge baby boom or something like that.
(laughing) Thrown the whole thing
off, now please join me in congratulating Venkat,
our other nine finalists and all 54 of the
students who made it here to Washington DC.
(applause) I’m Mo Rocca, thanks for watching. And remember the science,
exploration, education and story telling can change the world. And I want the parents
of our three finalists to come on up on stage,
let’s get the parents. (applause) Come on up. (upbeat music)
(applause) Congratulations, congratulations. (laughing) Love it, love it, love it. (upbeat music) Congratulations all of you. (upbeat music)