Letter to the Community
Greetings to you from Colorado on this lovely last day of August. For all our academic community members who operate on the school-year calendar and are in the Northern Hemisphere, you may be getting ready for the annual student migration back to school... if you haven't done so already. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere may be mid-stream in your school year. In any case, our calendars have lots of events scheduled in the months ahead. To give you a heads up, this is some of what we have in store.
23 September - 1 October - The GLOBE Student Research Xpedition to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro
This Xpedition, led by GLOBE teacher and partner Michael O'Toole, is a joint project between The GLOBE Program, GLOBE Africa, the Education Foundation of St. Vrain Valley and Discovery Education. Students and teachers on the expedition will assist with data acquisition for NASA's SMAP Satellite Mission. While observing firsthand the diversity of the six biomes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, they'll be challenging those following around the world to answer the question: What is it like where you live?
During the eight-day trek to the summit, 10 GLOBE students and 12 teachers from Benin, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Oman and the United States will work side by side with research scientists Dr. Erika Podest (research scientist - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Mr. Sylvester Chaisamba (research scientist - Tanzania Meteorological Agency), Dr. Hamid Sulaiman (scientist - Department of Biology Sultan at Oman's Qaboos University) and Yliass Lawani (graduate research assistant - University of Benin) collecting data on the changing biomes and glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro. From their classrooms, thousands of students from around the world will follow online. The mountain has been a focus of study for the GLOBE Research Xpedition for the past eight years.
What's new to this year's Xpedition? Several things. We welcome participants from three GLOBE regions who will help create a great diversity of observations on the mountain. We are also delighted to have Jason Barnes of Discovery Education on the trek. And since the 2015 Xpedition will be an important part of GLOBE's 20th Anniversary year I, too, will be joining the celebration, and I'll be blogging from the mountain. I'm sure you will want to tune in to our online coverage from the mountain to see me leaping up to the summit at 5,895 meters (19,341 ft.) above sea level!
Getting in shape for Kilimanjaro with my rucksack and flag of Tanzania.
I hope you will follow the 8-day trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro to engage with student-scientists in the field. Teachers and students are invited to interact with expedition members via email while on the mountain. Online followers of the Xpedition are encouraged to contribute scientific measurements and biome descriptions from their communities to compare with those on the mountain and to post email questions to the climbers. You will find more details about the Xpedition on the GLOBE website in the weeks ahead.
15 September ... an online Webinar with Erika Podest from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) team in Pasadena, California. Dr. Podest will be talking about the upcoming SMAP Data Collection Campaign, which will begin on 1 October and continue for 6 months. During this period, everyone is encouraged to collect and download SMAP data.
Finally, we don't want to forget about one more event on the GLOBE calendar: and that is the second Data Entry Challenge, which will take place during Earth Science Week, 11-17 October.
I was very pleased with the overwhelming response to our first Data Entry Challenge, which took place during Earth Week, this past April. Our data entry increased significantly that week, and many of you sent in data that had been collected, but had not been reported. Remember: your data never goes out of date! They are as important now as they were the day they were taken. So please go out and collect new data during the upcoming Data Entry Challenge and do report any old data that you have not managed to enter into the database. We will recognize our top data contributors, so please note 11-17 October on your calendars to participate in this worldwide effort.
As GLOBE progresses through its 20th Anniversary Year, we celebrate the great work that you have done and continue to do. However, we can only know about it if you share it with us. Please keep us in the loop on events that you are doing. Whether they are specifically connected to the anniversary year or events that you are doing on a regular basis, we want to hear from you.
And until next month, Asante Sana (Swahili for Thank You Very Much) for all you do for GLOBE!
Dr. Tony Murphy
Director, GLOBE Implementation Office