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GLOBE races to measure landcover before goats eat research

Rostov-on-Don, July 31, 1998: Wednesday, day 4, was again a hot one in southern Russia. Day 4 of the GLOBE workshop saw temperatures again over 38 deg. C (100 deg. F). Our day began with a tour of the Rostov Catherdral in the central part of the city. It was both beautiful and breathtaking. The incense was heavy as many of our group light candles to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of travel in the Russian Orthodox Church. We marveled at the painted ceilings and panels with their numerous icons. A small service at a minor altar took place as we watched. It was a memorable experience for all.

Right: Alabama GLOBE director Greg Cox instructs teachers in the use of a GPS receiver.

Our excusion then continued to the Rostov Natural History Museum. We were treated to a private showing of the golden treasures from Tanis, a bronze-age city on the Azov Sea shore near Rostov. This city is noted as being the farthest northern ancient Greek city. We were amazed at the beauty of the collection. Also at the museum was a special collection on loan from St. Petersburg. We had our photos taken with Peter the Great, Lenin, Stalin, Gorbachev and President Yeltsin. These wax figures were so lifelike, they too were sweating in the Rostov summer heat!

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 bus then delivered us to the café near the university for lunch. We again sampled beef, pork and sturgeon with a cold cucumber soup. The GLOBE workshop then continued with an overview of remote sensing basics. Our afternoon also included a guided tour of the GLOBE website. Many of the participants, both Russian and American had not been exposed to such a sophisticated website. As Greg Cox lead tour of the site in the Rostov State University's Computer Center with the aid of their computer video projector, the participants were able to follow on individual workstations provided by the Center.

The bus picked us up at the end of the day and took us to "our place," the small estaurant we have eaten at almost every evening. The day ended with a cool breeze that foretold tomorrow's weather.

GLOBE travels to Russia

This is the third 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.

Day 5 began with a wonderful rain shower. As our bus arrived at the Instiute of Mechanics and Applied Mathematics, the rain was a perfect introduction to our discussion of the GLOBE atmosphere protocols. Unfortunately, this shower was too brief and did little to dampen the rise in temperatures later in the day. The Russian and American teachers taught each other atmospheric vocabulary words in their native language and we all shared a good laugh as we discussed the GLOBE snow measurement protocol, wishing we could actually sample such an event today. The cloudy "oblaka" skies soon turned to clear "yasno" and the day continued to warm.

We also were introduced to the GLOBE land cover protocols. Using a Landsat thematic mapper image of the Rostov-on-Don region as a guide, we saw the fields around the Institute turn into pixels. We began to construct our land cover analysis tools using materials brought from America. The U.S. teachers were asked to bring two empty toilet paper rolls "uncrushed" on their trek to Russia. They and their Russian colleages were amazed that such a useful device as a densiometer for making canopy cover estimates could be make from these materials. The Russian and American teachers worked side-by-side constructing both the densiometers and clinometers from drinking straws, dental floss and metal washers. Who said trigonometry isn't fun??

We traveled to "our place" again for lunch this time. We enjoyed a Rostov version of borsh, mashed potatoes, meat balls and chocolate ice cream. Afer lunch our bus took us to the Rostov Botanical Gardens. This 1000 hectare garden is over 70 years old and served as our land cover and atmosphere training site.

We divided into two teams and took off in different directions. One group made their way to a woodland area (MUC 1211) and shared it with a small herd of goats who did not seem to care that they were eating away at the ground cover before we could get an accurate percentage measurement. The second group found a grassland area (MUC 4212) near a small spring. The spring was a gathering site for many of the local Rostov residents who come to receive the blessing of St. Sophia at the spring. These Rostovites were intrigued by this strange group of Russian and American teachers using a GPS receiver to locate the center of their landcover 30x30 meter study site.

We all regrouped on the steps of the Botanical Garden Administration Building to drink cold water and "kvas," a Russian drink made from black bread. A quick check of our U-tube thermometer in the instrument shelter showed a temperature of 37 deg. C (98.6 deg. F). This was the end of our 5th hot, hot day in Rostov!

Check back Monday: The GLOBE team wraps up their training with Day 6!

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.

Comments from Russian GLOBE teachers

This Workshop give us the possibility to learn different methods of environmental investigation (the methods for testing natural substances as well as computer result entering procedures and others). That knowledge we've got on GLOBE classes we would forward to our students. This will let the children realize the great importance of our common efforts for the benefit of environment and feel the responsibility for the Earth. It's very important we have the opportunity to work in the open air (river and sea beaches, gardens ...) I'm enjoying the communication with the American colleagues.
Evgenia Morozova, School# 77, Rostov-on-Don.

I'm very happy to participate the Program that units all the World. It's very important we have the opportunity to compare our results with the results of other cities and even countries. It attaches the special importance to children investigations and at the same time it raises their responsibility for the regular and accurate data collecting process. I like very much the American side preparation for the theoretical and practical parts of this Workshop. It would be fine to have a Russian copy of the Teacher Guide Book. We feel the great enthusiasm when communicate with Americans. They are spontaneous and open people, they are quit ready to international collaboration.
Tatiana Kalmykova, School #100, Rostov-on-Don

The GLOBE Workshop give us the excellent opportunity to make our knowledge about scientific methods for environment broader and deeper. The GLOBE investigations look very accessible and interesting for the children of different ages. Especially I want to point the high professional level of our GLOBE Teacher - Mr.Gregory Cox. His classes are very interesting and quit clear. He is an emotional and experienced teacher. With a great pleasure I'll participate this program in Russia. We hope we will make the partnership between Russian and American schools (the teachers - Mrs.Susan Gregory and Mrs.Kelly Kelly). The GLOBE experience allows us to find out the new possibility of communication and data exchange between the students from the different parts of the World. We can see the results of student activities both from Russia and USA.
Natalia Ivanova, School #23, Rostov-on-Don

There are many books related to nature, environment and ecological statistic in Russia. But Russian teachers very often needs the systematic stuff and equipment for their classes. It was very useful we had detailed practical recommendations at GLOBE seminar how to prepare and do each test. All problems have been solved during the practical learning. I would like to be in touch with the colleagues who are participating GLOBE in America. I graduated from the Rostov State University and teach geography and environment now. We have environmental club at our school where we learn some ecological problem of Rostov region. I would like to contact with the geography teacher from USA who are interested in environment. I guess the GLOBE program will be very fruitful and bring the great benefit to the people of our Planet.
Ludmila Kubrakova., School #103, Rostov-on-Don

This Workshop gave the unique opportunity to Russian teachers to have a practical experience related to environmental investigation. We have learned also the different ways for organization and transformation of collected data. Besides we've learned the unknown (for Russians) methods of environmental investigation. It's very important to note the very high quality of classes and practical study. First there were the theoretical material (introductory information, some basic principals of measurements, description of previous test results) and then we worked at the open air in order to improve our theoretical knowledge. All the protocols were very clear and well organized. The experience we had got we would use both at school and clubs environmental activities. The comparative approach in testing technology is very interesting and important. We have investigated different natural objects (the rivers and the sea) and then compared the results. Also we had the opportunity to make discussion, to exchange personal impressions, to tell each others what was especially important and interesting. I guess the language barrier is the only shortage of our Workshop activity.
Vladimir Zhinzhilo, School #97, Rostov-on-Don

This Workshop was given us the opportunity: to become acquainted with GLOBE equipment and leaned much how to use these tools to do the measures by ourselves to make new friendships and find new partners for the further work.
Michael Khanin, Rostov State Pedagogical University

I'm very grateful for the Workshop. The water testing research was especially interested for me. I've learned how to use the Internet. I've found my partner school info via Internet and got interesting data.
Olga Zhilevich, School #43, Rostov-on-Don

It was great luck to participate this Workshop and communicate with American colleagues. I'm very happy my school will participate GLOBE and get the opportunity to use the GLOBE data and compare them with ours. It's very important to learn new practical methods and use modern tools to nature observations.
Larisa Kheilo, School #13, Azov

I understand that GLOBE is very timely and useful both for the teachers and the students. Basically the impressions are positive: the Workshop is well organized, the participants are opened to communication. I wish: the Workshop takes longer time (the scientific and practical program is too busy), and don't choose not such hot month to hold the seminar.
Elena Bakaeva, School #37, Rostov-on-Don

We live in time when information is the most important resource. One of the famous scientist said: "Those who own the information own the World". The GLOBE program gives us the opportunity to share this information together. That is why we own the whole World together. The most important is that GLOBE information is about nature. The Earth is the only home for all of us. We must keep our common home a healthy home and we will do it through GLOBE or other environmental programs because we are working together.
Natasha Petkova, School "Finist", Rostov-on-Don

Above: Teachers learn atmospheric vocabulary words in Russian and English.

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

 

More web links

More science headlines - NASA research

NASA's Earth Science Enterprise Information on Earth Science missions, etc.