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The Varna Community Association has created GeoWhiz to promote geographic literacy for adults and teens. GeoWhiz is a fun and entertaining competition where teams answer a variety of questions on geography. It's a lot like a spelling bee but with questions about geography.

NOVEMBER 10, 2018, 1pm
The Space @ Green Star
700 West Buffalo St. Ithaca NY

How to Participate:
GeoWhiz is open to everyone, ages 13 to adult. Create a team of one to three people, and give your team a name. There will be a prize for the best team name.

Register at:

Registration deadline: November 1, 2018

Registration fee: The team registration fee is $30, whether the team has one, two or three members.

Team Sponsors: Teams are encouraged to find sponsors to support them with financial donations. Sponsors can be individuals, groups or businesses. There will be a prize for the team with the most sponsors. There will also be a prize for the team bringing in the most money from sponsors.

Event Supporters: Donations in support of GeoWhiz are welcome! For more information, please email:
GeoWhiz is a fundraiser that supports all the programs and resources of the Varna Community Association, a 501c3 organization.
Questions: Teams will be quizzed on the geography of Tompkins County (~20%), New York State (~25%), the United States and US territories (~30%) and the rest of the world (~25%).

Questions may be based on physical features (such as rivers, mountains, etc.), political jurisdictions, historical features, or cultural and economic forces that have resulted in changes to the landscape.

Sample questions:

1. In what state was the golden spike hammered in to complete the US trans-continental railroad?

2. What geological features of the local landscape have contributed to a popular bumper sticker slogan for Ithaca?

3. The Port of NY and NJ is the third busiest port in the US. Which port is busiest?

4. What is the name of the Central American country formerly known as British Honduras?

Basic rules for GeoWhiz

Leading up to the event, teams are encouraged to prepare. Some suggested resources are available here. Sample questions are posted on the GeoWhiz FaceBook page.

On Nov. 10, each team will sit together at a table and may converse quietly but must not communicate with other teams or audience members. No electronic devices are allowed. Each team will be given supplies for writing answers.

After a question is presented, teams will have 40 seconds to confer before time is called and answers are revealed. Questions are leveled, with harder questions worth more points than easier questions. Teams may choose to pass on any question during regular play but not during the elimination round.

Prizes will be awarded for:
  • Most points earned for correct answers
  • Last team standing in the elimination round
  • Best team name (audience votes!)
  • Most money raised from sponsors/donors
  • Greatest number of sponsors/donors
  • Most creative wrong answer (audience votes!)

Audience members can play along while supporting the teams.

Proceeds from team registrations and sponsorships will benefit the many services provided by the Varna Community Association, including our public playground, the Varna After School Program, and a commercial kitchen that works as an incubator for small food businesses.

A small pilot version of GeoWhiz was held in January 2018. Here are some feedback comments:

…This was a fabulous event, with terrific organization, a well-thought-out plan for the game, a great opportunity for audience participation, and a very good mix of interesting and challenging questions.
David, audience member
Thanks for doing this! It was great! Harder than expected but very fun!
GeoWhiz participants