Photo: Kangaroo
A kangaroo explores in a grassland area of Wilson's Promontory National Park, Victoria, Australia.

Photograph courtesy Sam Abell

Fifteen kids who love to explore the world have been selected as members of the third annual National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge Expedition Team. This July, the talented and lucky kids, along with two winning teachers, will travel to Australia to explore the natural wonders of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef and prehistoric Daintree Rainforest. Then the explorers will visit Tasmania, where they will participate in a conservation project with local students to help protect the Tasmanian devil, and explore Mt Field National Park. Throughout the expedition, the team will update a blog with pictures and details of the trip.

The six boys and nine girls were chosen from thousands of entries nationwide. Kids were asked to write an original essay of no more than 300 words telling National Geographic Kids magazine how they actively explore their world and the most interesting things they have found in it. Students also submitted a photograph, shot by themselves, that illustrated what, where or how they explored the subject of their essay. A panel of National Geographic experts selected 15 kids whose essays and photographs expressed the most interest in and passion for exploring, while adhering to the judging criteria.

The expedition team is sponsored in part by the marketers of Purell® Instant Hand Sanitizer, Tourism Australia and Nikon®, who will be outfitting each winner with a D60 digital SLR camera to document their adventure. 



Alexander B., 14, of Virginia

Elisabeth C., 14, of Kentucky

Casey D., 11, of West Virginia

Adam D., 13, of Arizona

Grace H., 14, of Massachusetts

Mara K., 13, of South Dakota

Missy M., 12, of Florida

Kat M., 11, of California

Abbie Faye O., 13, of Idaho

Savanna R., 13, of Washington

Maya R., 10, of California

Zach S., 12, of Oregon

Michael S., 13, of New York

Benjamin W., 8, of Pennsylvania

Veronica W., 12, of Nebraska


The winning teachers are Joshua Stitzinger, a fifth-grade teacher in Philadelphia, and Wendy Gorton, a fourth-grade teacher from Los Angeles. The trip to Australia is scheduled for July 16-28, 2008.