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GLOBE team wraps up week of intense global environment training

Aug. 4, 1998, Rostov-on-Don: Russian and American teachers and NASA scientists have completed a week-long training course on global environment measurements as part of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program (GLOBE). GLOBE was launched by in 1994 by US Vice-president Al Gore to create an army of young scientists around the world to monitor global climate.

Last week's course, which was held near Rostov-on-Don in Russia, emphasized soil measurements, cloud and ground cover studies, and global hydrology protocols. Teachers learned to use Landsat maps and GPS receivers for climate measurements. They will carry these skills back to their classrooms where students will learn to make the same sorts of observations. Greg Cox of GLOBE Alabama contributed this report on their last day in Russia:

Day 6 was our last full day in Rostov. It began with clouds of all types, a good practice time for our newly trained GLOBE teachers.

After breakfast we traveled by bus to the left bank of the Don River for our authentic assessment activities. The left bank has been set aside by the Rostov City Government as a green-space to be used by all Rostovites. This natural area has many lakes and ponds and served as our study site for the morning activities.

This is the last in a series of stories about a week-long American-Russian workshop in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program introduced in April 1994 by U.S. Vice President Al Gore. GLOBE is a world-wide network of K-12 (or equivalent) students working under the guidance of teachers trained to conduct the GLOBE Program.

We broke into three groups of both Russian and American Teachers to begin an investigation based on a group hypothesis and using the GLOBE protocols we have learned during the week.

A note on pictures: Each links to an 1152x864-pixel JPG up to 128 KB in size. Photo credits: NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.

Our study site was located on Blue Lake. Nearby, a small cafe provided both shade from the hot sun and tables for our work. After two hours of data collection and analysis, each group presented their findings during a peer review session. Each group's presentation was well received by both the participants and the instructor. It can be safely stated that these newly trained GLOBE teachers can return to their classroom with confidence in their skills in conducting GLOBE protocols.

After the presentations, a luncheon of shashlik, or Russian-style barbecue, was well received. Combined with various forms of cold liquid refreshments, all the participants enjoyed the knowledge that their week of hard and HOT work was well worth the price.

After lunch, we boarded our bus for the drive back to Rostov. Many of the American participants went shopping and exploring the center of the city with their Russian colleagues. In the evening, a final banquet was held at "our place" in which our new-found friendships and sister schools were toasted several times. With GLOBE as the central focus for our week in Rostov, it became clear to all the participants that hard work under difficult conditions can sometimes strengthen a friendship. Tomorrow [Saturday], as we fly to Moscow and then on to St. Petersburg to continue our visit to Russia, we know that the friendships created here in Rostov will not soon be forgotten.

With the help of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Rostov State University, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, we also know that the GLOBE Program will continue to be the catalyst for change in education, both in America and in Russia.

Web Links
GLOBE national home page
Alabama GLOBE program
GHCC Education activities include EcoBridge, Project Earth Sense, and other activities.
Geographic Information Systems Technologies Center at Rostov State University will host most of the GLOBE activities.
Students "explore" ancient site with aid of modern navigation and pictures (GHCC education project using remote sensing)

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