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Science / Medicine : Gift From Geographic Society

<i> Compiled from Times staff and wire reports</i>

The National Geographic Society celebrated its 100th birthday last week by announcing its centennial gift to the nation: $20 million to help teach children about the Earth.

“Our kids don’t know where they are. And if you don’t know where you are, you’re nowhere,” said Gilbert M. Grosvenor, the society’s president.

The money will go into a new foundation, and the society promised to kick in $20 million more if it can raise an equal amount in outside contributions.

“We want to train these teachers to teach geography,” Grosvenor said. “Since World War II, geography has disappeared from the school system. . . . Our youngsters today are geographically illiterate.”

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