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Geography and City and Regional Planning

Fresno State Geographic Bee

Fresno State’s Department of Geography and City and Regional Planning is proud to stage the California State Geographic Bee.  The California State Geographic Bee fits the department’s goal to increase outreach throughout our region and California, regarding the programs and courses we offer, to attract more Geography majors and minors. The State Geo Bee at Fresno State also serves as a college tour stop for the parents of participants.  These fourth through eighth graders will be college-bound soon, and Fresno State has MUCH to offer!

This year, at the California State Geographic Bee, we were able to increase the prize money considerably for the third, second, and first-place winners, due to generosity of sponsors in our valley’s agribusiness community, the National Geographic Society, and the California Geographic Alliance. This year, cash prizes were $500 for third place, $750 for second place, and $1,000 for first place – 10 times the normal amounts! Expenses to conduct the California State Geo Bee at Fresno State are underwritten by the Fresno State College of Social Sciences, and the Fresno State Office of the President. Generous donations of local produce came from Wonderful Almonds and Pistachios, and Sun World Grapes.

ADDITIONALLY – In his opening remarks in 2016, Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro made this generous offer:  If any California State Geo Bee champion applies to attend Fresno State, and is admitted to the university, and attends classes, so long as the State Geo Bee is held at Fresno State, that student will receive a $10,000 scholarship from Fresno State!      


Each year, thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee, using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging test of geographic knowledge.  This competition has been held across the U.S. since 1988.


Beginning in mid-August every year, elementary and middle schools throughout the United States are encouraged to register with National Geographic, to conduct school-level Geographic Bees.  Once the schools register, and pay the $100 fee for the materials, they organize the school Geo Bees, which are held at the schools between November 1, and January 31. Nation-wide, this means that thousands of schools and millions of students participate in the school Bees!  Once the school bees are complete, the champion at each school Bee takes a test on line in early February, administered by National Geographic.  Those results are compiled by National Geographic, and up to 100 of the top scoring students in each state are invited to participate in each State Geographic Bee.  In the most recent Geo Bee cycle, 573 schools in California registered to conduct School Geo Bees!

All State Geo Bees are held on the same date every year. Up to 100 fourth- to eighth-graders in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Atlantic and Pacific territories, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the State Geo Bees in 2016, which were all held on Friday, April 1 in 2016.  In the California State Geographic Bee in 2016, held at Fresno State, 105 students were invited, and 103 participated. This was the third consecutive year the California State Geographic Bee was held at Fresno State – the CA Geo Bee’s new home! It was previously conducted in Sacramento, from 1989 to 2013.

Here are the top finishers in California for 2016: 3rd place: Venkat Ranjan, Windemere Ranch Middle School, San Ramon; 2nd place, Arjun Nathan, Hopkins Jr. High, Fremont; First Place, Nishaanth Krishnan, C.E. Utt Middle School, Tustin.

The champions of each State Geo Bee are invited to Washington, D.C. between Monday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 25, for the National Geographic Bee. So, there will be 54 competitors in the National Bee.  The national championship preliminary rounds will take place on Monday, May 23, in Washington, D.C. The national championship final rounds featuring the top 10 finalists will be held on Wednesday, May 25, at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. This year, the final rounds will be moderated for the first time by humorist and journalist Mo Rocca. National Geographic Channel will air the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 27. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

In May 2016, the national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. The national champion will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, on a Lindblad expedition to Southeast Alaska aboard National Geographic Sea Lion, including a stop at Glacier Bay National Park, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.

  • chairman
    Faculty and Student volunteer; Jocelyn, Dr. Ogunjemiyo, Dr. Wang, Chris. 
  • marching band
    Fresno State Marching Band
  • moderator
    Dr. McFeeters; Moderator 
  • President castro
    President Castro giving an opening speech 
  • geographic Bee
    Geographic Bee top 3 Finalist! : Nishaanth Krishnan, Arjun Nathan, Venkat Ranjan
  • volunteer
    Student Volunteers
  • top 10 contestant
    Top 10 contestant 
  • student volunteer
    Student Volunteer