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GLOBE hits the beach, then goes underground

Rostov-on-Don, July 29, 1998: Monday was another HOT and HUMID day in Rostov with temperatures in the low 80s (low 100s F). We began our day with an overview of the GLOBE Program hydrology investigation protocols. We then boarded a bus for the city of Azov and our field study sites. After a hour drive we arrived at a day camp on the banks of the Kagalnik River, a small river with tidal influence from the Azov Sea.

Our group then began to practice the hydrology protocols in four teams composed of both Russian teachers and American teachers. Several of the Russian teachers had experience with conducting hydrology tests as part of the EcoBridge program, a United States Information Agency program linking students in the Rostov region with students in the Tennessee Valley of the USA. These teachers willingly shared their expertise in these measurements with their American colleagues along banks of the Kagalnik River.

GLOBE travels to Russia
This is the second in a series of stories about a weeklong American-Russian workhop 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 worldwide network of K-12 (or equivalent) students working under the guidance of teachers trained to conduct the GLOBE Program.

After lunch at a cafe called "Fort," located in a historic building in central Azov, we then visited School #13, the home school of one of the Russian teacher participants, Larisa Heilo. An interesting tour provided by the school director was highlighted by the wonderful display case full images and examples of the joint activities of Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala. (a GLOBE school) and Azov School #13. This 4-year partnership has allowed numerous studnet and teacher exchanges and will be complimented by the GLOBE program.

We then left School #13 bound for the Azov Sea shore. We drove through beautiful fields of sunflowers and newly plowed fields with soil the color of coal. Our destination was another day camp that provided a shelter and tables for our discussion the GLOBE salinity protocols. Dr. Feodor Surkov, our host from Rostov State University and an expert on the Azov Sea, gave us an excellent overview of the high productivity of the Azov Sea due to the unique balance between fresh water and salt water found here. Our participants helped to pilot test a new GLOBE protocol for taking water temperature measurements by total body immersion (it was so hot!!) and the water felt very good to all. Many of the participants were amazed by the large number of tiny shrimp found in the water along the Azov Sea shore.

Our 16-hour day ended with a long bus-ride back to Rostov and the comfort of our un-air conditioned hotel. Day 2 complete.

Tuesday morning was a bit cooler than previous morning, but it was still in the mid-60s (mid-80s F). After breakfast at our hotel, Tourist, the participants arrived at the computer center of Rostov State University for a day of soil investigations.

A note on the pictures: Each links to a larger JPG up to 1152 pixels wide and from 100K to 1.1M in size. Photo credit: NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center

Our study site was located in a field near the Institute for Mechanics and Applied Mathematics. The site was reserved for a 22-story Rostov State University central administration building during the original constuction of the university in the mid-1960s, but it was never built.

An excellent 1-meter (3.28 ft) deep soil pit was dug by two of our Russian participants and was our gathering point for the GLOBE workshop participants for the field soil characterization protocols. The rich black soils of the Russian steppe found here were observe and manipulated by hand and the teachers enjoyed getting their hands covered with it while making texture and composition determinations. With soil temperatures of over 31 deg. C (88 deg. F), we were not surprised by the extremely dry moisture values we observed. Our hot and thirsty group then proceeded to lunch.

Our lunch was arranged at a nearby cafe located in the middle of an area of high-rise apartment buildings. We began the soil laboratory investigations after lunch in the computer center. After placing two large plastic cloths on the floor which we used as our chemistry bench, we completed our study of bulk density, soil particle size distribution, and soil pH. The integrated teams of Russian and American teachers worked well, even despite the language barrier. GLOBE Science became our universal language.

Dinner Tuesday evening was modest and welcome. Our hosts planned to end our day early because of the very long previous day. An unscheduled bus tour of the northern district of Rostov was completely enjoyed by everyone. We marveled at the huge number of high rise apartment buildings found there. Over a quarter of Rostov's 1.2 million residents live in this district! The day ended with a short walk around the hotel area by several of the participants and a quiet drink by others at the edge of the fountain and reflecting pool in front of our hotel.

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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Check back tomorrow for more images and notes from GLOBE at Rostov-on-Don.


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More comments from GLOBE teachers

It was great fun working with groups of educators from Russia. They are focused, excited, friendly individuals with talents that are characteristic of their heritage and national pride.
Janice Cohen, Southbury, CT

Together we will face tomorrow focusing on the conflicts of our educational world in search of global resolutions. We are responsible for the future. Together we will face a problem and rename it a challenge to be resolved by educators of a global community. We are taking that first step toward a global educational team. I am proud to have worked with such a dedicated group of professionals.
Cheryle Wallace, Anderson, IN

Working with the Russian teachers in the GLOBE workshop has been a very educational and enlightening experience. The language has been quite an interesting challenge, one in which both sides have adapted to quite well.
Ken Kakasuleff, Frankton, IN

The GLOBE program fits perfectly into my junior high science curriculum. The components are manageble because you are able to choose what is feasible for you and your students. What a perfect add-on with important impact!!
Jennifer Lockett, Mobile, AL

The Azov Sea is beautiful. The trip to Azov as well as the sea was lovely. I especially enjoyed the sunflowers and following the old coastline as we drove to the sea. I was surprised at how dark the soil is in this region. Russia gets more beautiful everyday.
P.S. It's HOT! HOT! HOT!
Sandy Childrey, Mt. Gilead, NC

When we discussed how productive the Azov Sea could be I listened politely. I was truly amazed at the many organisms living in the Azov Sea when I got in the water with them. The hands-on experiences we have been having are truly educational. I got some great ideas for how to manage soil profile data in Alabama from doing the laboratory protocols here in Rostov. I am having a wonderful time!
Sherrell Durand, Heflin, AL

The small town of Azov was both pretty and fascinating. It is amazing to think of the more than 930 years of history in this area. I've also enjoyed tremendously visiting with the Russian teachers, and visiting Azov School #13.
April Bates, Cleveland, AL

How exciting to stand in Asia and Europe in the same day with the Don river as the dividing line!
Tina Hall, Huntsville, AL

Learning, working and singing with teachers from across the world has been an eye opening and gratifing experience. We really are all the same - caring ... sharing ... jabbering people!! I learned the Don River divides Europe and Asia!!
Carol Kraus, Willimante, CT

Good news!! My luggage finally made it to Moscow!! I hope it arrives in Rostov before we leave the weekend. Everyone has been wonderful by opening their luggage to me. Friends are still friends even half way around the world.
Becky Hollingsworth, Vestavia, AL

Spending time chatting, albeit haltingly, with the Russian teachers has allowed us to discover all the similarities in our lives. from the plants and trees here in Rostov to the children and their style of dress.
Joyce Stemple, Schwenkville, PA

Today we took our first step toward establishing contact with our sister school in Rostov-on-Don. Friday we will visit and take pictures to take home. We look forward to spending the day with our new friend Natasha.
Kelly Kelly, North Wales, PA

I have eaten some of the best tomatoes here in Russia. It is hot, hot, hot!!! We are learning a lot about the GLOBE Program and how to communicate with Russian teachers.
Debbie Jones, Eufaula, AL

GLOBE has been great!! We have made water and soil tests here that our students will love to do at school during Integrated Science!!
Jerry Lee Easterwood, Valley, AL

The GLOBE activities have been very exciting and interesting. While completing hydrology studies yesterday, we saw much of the countryside. I enjoy combining cultural experiences with learning activities.
Elizabeth Orr, Dalton, GA

What did I do on my summer vacation?? We just completed our third exciting day in the Russian Connection Program. We have studied hydrology at the beach of course and had an opportunity to play in the water. We learned about pedology, which is the study of soil, not DIRT!! Did you know that you can hardly talk about any subject that doesn't in someway relate to soil?
Nancy McIntyre, Chatsworth, CA

It was exciting to visit Azov school #13 and see an Alabama flag displayed with our State map in the school's display case.
Willene Huddleston, Heflin, AL

I really have experienced the Russian culture first hand. I lost a cap on one of my teeth and went to a Russian dentist. It was an eye (and mouth) opening experience. All I can say is I only chew on one side of my mouth until I get home!! Weather is hot and the people in Russia are gracious. Paka (bye).
Carol McCaffery, Apple Valley, CA

Rostov-on-Don GLOBE schedule

Saturday, 7/25: Arrive, Moscow. Sightseeing. Depart for Rostov

Sunday, 7/26: Rostov State University Geographical Information Systems Technologies Center. Meet Russian participants. Earth System Science and GPS lectures.

Monday, 7/27: Hydrology lecture; practice hydrology protocols at Azov Sea shore.

Tuesday, 7/28: Soil lecture, practice protocols in field and laboratory.

Wednesday, 7/29: Archaeology at Tanais; remote sensing overview and multispectral software; GLOBE computer web site access and practice

Thursday, 7/30: Land cover and biology lectures and field protocols; atmospheric science lectures and field protocols

Friday, 7/31: Field assignments along banks of Don River; evaluation, farewell party

Saturday, 8/1: Depart for Moscow and rest of program

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