California Couple Completes Twelfth and Final Trek of the Trekking the Planet Expedition

The Trekking the Planet expedition uses travel as a way to get kids excited about geography. Eight hundred fifty classrooms in 20 countries have subscribed to their educational materials.
 
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Iceberg near Glacier Grey in Torres del Paine National Park
Iceberg near Glacier Grey in Torres del Paine National Park
March 4, 2013 - PRLog -- ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Thirteen months ago, Darren and Sandy Van Soye embarked on a 424-day expedition to explore the cities, peoples, history, economics, topography, nature and customs of 50 plus countries on six continents. The mission of the Trekking the Planet expedition is to get students excited about geography by exposing them to interactive and highly-visual educational materials. To date, they have traveled to 48 countries with another five or so to go before they return to the United Sates. Eight hundred fifty classrooms in 20 countries, representing 55,000 students, are following their journey over the Internet.

At the heart of Trekking the Planet are a series of multiple day hikes, or treks. The team selected treks that represent various places of natural beauty or allow them to visit people with a unique culture. The most-recent trek was at the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Other treks included the Overland Track in Tasmania, the Phongsali region of Northern Laos, the Mustang region of Nepal, the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, above the arctic circle in Sweden, in the Julian alps in Slovenia, a walking safari in Kenya, the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia, through the back door to Petra in Jordan, the Xixuau-Xiparina Reserve in the Amazon region of Brazil and Los Glaciers National Park in Argentina. Over the last 13 months, the Van Soyes have trekked 470 miles (or 756 kilometers). The California couple will return to Los Angeles on the Star Princess on March 26, 2013.  Interested parties can watch their documentary short entitled "Trekking the "W" in Torres del Paine, Chile".  It is located here: http://vimeo.com/60884230



Teachers have access to a growing library of four-page education modules available as supplements to existing classroom materials. In addition, Trekking the Planet provides articles, weekly quizzes and videos all free of charge to educators. Students continue to formulate and post questions on Twitter and Facebook or by email and are answered by the travelers in near real-time, making this an unprecedented interactive venture. Educators can enroll on the Educators page. Armchair travelers can also receive the couple’s updates by subscribing on the Friends page. The Live Tracker page on their website shows their current location.

Studies show that American knowledge of geography is one of the worst in the world. In one study, US young adults finished eighth out of nine countries, and, in another study, 29% could not locate the Pacific Ocean on a map. Trekking the Planet hopes to help educators change these statistics for future generations.

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