GLOBE Continues to Grow in the Asia-Pacific Region

The Regional Office for GLOBE in Asia and the Pacific conducted a myriad of activities in 2010, ranging from student climate research events, hosting school visits by NASA officials, and growing the training team for the region. A Train-The-Trainer Workshop for participants throughout the region was held on 2–5 June 2010 at different locations in New Delhi including the Bhabha Chamber, the Scope Convention Centre, and the Lodi Road and American Centre.

Sponsored by the Public Affairs office of the American Embassy in New Delhi, and the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, the workshop was attended by over 30 guests from India and countries throughout the region. Four GLOBE Master Trainers—Dr. Desh Bandhu, Atmosphere Protocol; Mr. R. K. Garg, Hydrology; Dr. Avinash Tiwari, Soil; and Mr. R. Mehta, Land Cover/Biology—provided hands-on experience to the participants during the workshop. Also in attendance were Ms. Elizabeth Thornhill, Deputy Public Affair Officer at the U.S. Embassy in New Dehli, and Ms. Diane Brandt, also from the U.S. Public Affairs office.

The workshop opened with a warm welcome from Mr. R. Mehta, Advisor, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, and Country Coordinator of GLOBE in India since 2000, and from Dr. Desh Bandhu, President of the Indian Environmental Society and Director of the GLOBE Regional Office located in New Delhi. Mr. R. Mehta informed participants that the dual purpose of the workshop was to prepare GLOBE trainers while also helping local community members in India and across the region to become more aware of the environment. He stressed the need for spreading awareness among all people asserting, "Understanding our world through practical training and scientific learning will help overcome many environmental problems." Additionally, Mr. Mehta detailed the status of the GLOBE Program in India, and congratulated the GLOBE community in over 100 schools in 16 states throughout the country—Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Orissa, Goa, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, West Bengal, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Himachal Pradesh—for their efforts to integrate GLOBE into the school curriculum.

Dr. Bandhu welcomed the GLOBE Training Team as well as participants from across India and neighboring countries Bhutan and Nepal. He explained that the region is extremely hopeful that Bhutan will soon be joining the Program, and this initiative placed a high priority on ensuring that quality Bhutanese trainers would be prepared to return to their country and implement GLOBE across Bhutan. Dr. Bandhu also provided a brief introduction to the GLOBE Program, explaining how GLOBE builds partnerships between students and scientists and strengthens peer networks across the world.

Ms. Elizabeth Thornhill followed with a word of appreciation to the Indian Environmental Society for organizing the International GLOBE Training Workshop. She commented, "GLOBE links students, teachers, and the scientific research community in an effort to learn more about the environment through student data collection and observation." She also stated that the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi hopes to continue strengthening measures toward implementing GLOBE in India and throughout the region. Ms. Diane Brandt closed the ceremony by highlighting the significance of the workshop, and extended her gratitude to Mr. R. Mehta and Dr. Desh Bandhu, and thanked all participants and others associated with the workshop. She stressed the importance of events such as this one that provide opportunities from all countries in the region to participate in professional development opportunities aimed at building collaborations between the countries in the GLOBE Asia-Pacific region.

The Train-the-Trainer Workshop focused on basic GLOBE Atmosphere, Hydrology, Soil, and Land Cover Protocols with a variety of activities including GLOBE theoretical applications, computer tutorial sessions, hands-on measurements focused on answering student research questions, along with field work providing students with opportunities for observing and studying their local environment.

Sessions on 2 June focused on Atmosphere, Soil, and Hydrology Protocols, while activities occurring on 3 June addressed Land Cover Protocols and a field survey focusing on using the Soil and Hydrology Protocols. On 4 June, participants were invited to the residence of Mrs. Sheela Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi where they toured her herbal garden, and she also offered an address to participants. Michael Pelletier, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, was also present and spoke to the participants. Land cover and associated biology activities took place in the field, followed by an extensive data entry session at the American Centre. In addition, all participated in the American Centre's Eco-festival, held on the eve of World Environment Day.

In addition to learning GLOBE Protocols, GLOBE Trainers and trainees discussed issues such as the implementation of the program, challenges, and strategies to ensure successful GLOBE activities in their communities. The workshop concluded on 5 June 2010, World Environment Day, with presentations from DPS Mathura Road and Bal Bharti Public Schools in Pitampura, on Hong Kong Wetland Park. Many GLOBE students also shared experiences from their research activities. Dr. Bandhu and Mr. Pelletier awarded participants with GLOBE Trainer Certificates, certifying them to begin high-level training sessions in the region. The event concluded with congratulatory remarks by Mr. Ramesh Jain, Senior Program Manager at the U.S Embassy.

Several visits by NASA officials and representatives from NASA missions have also occurred in 2010. The GLOBE Asia-Pacific Regional Office coordinated the visit of Dr. Michael Freilich, NASA Earth Science Division Director, to the Regional Office and Ahlcon International School in Delhi, India, on 6 August 2010. Upon the arrival of Dr. Freilich and his team, Dr. Desh Bandhu, Regional Office Director, described the activities of the Regional Office and the status of the GLOBE Program in India as well as in the remainder of the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Rajinder Mehta, GLOBE India Country Coordinator, talked about the role of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in implementing the GLOBE Program in India. The visit concluded with a question and answer session for Dr. Freilich and his team members to ensure their full understanding of the operation of the GLOBE Program in India.

Following their visit with Regional Office Leadership, the NASA team visited a GLOBE school in Delhi. According to GLOBE Asia-Pacific Regional Desk Officer Abhaya Tripathy, "The visit to Ahlcon International School was very encouraging for the principal, students, and teachers. We hope that the visit also left a positive impression with Dr. Freilich and his team members." Mr. Ramesh Jain and Ms. Lydia Barraza coordinated the event on behalf of the Public Affairs Department of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. As active participants in GLOBE, the principal, Mr. Ashok Pandey, as well as the students and teachers were all very pleased to welcome Dr. Freilich to their school.

The visit began with a warm welcome from the GLOBE team at Ahlcon International School. Guests from NASA were served tea in the school conference hall as students sang a song about nature. The opening song was followed by a full Indian classical music show from the students. Following the performance, Principal Pandey welcomed the guests and spoke briefly about GLOBE activities at Ahlcon. He commended the enthusiasm of teachers and students in their daily collection of GLOBE data as well as the research projects the students are involved in. Students followed by presenting their projects and results of ongoing GLOBE research activities. Mr. R. Mehta spoke on the status of GLOBE in India and expressed appreciation to GLOBE Schools for their commitment to the GLOBE vision. After being addressed by school members, Dr. Freilich took the stage, delivering a speech that emphasized the value of the Earth and motivated students to love and care for their planet in their everyday lives. The speech concluded with a question and answer session for students to ask Dr. Freilich. This event demonstrates a unique attribute of the GLOBE Program: a platform for students and teachers to interact with real scientists face to face.

As the audience dispersed, the NASA team visited with the principals, students, and teachers while touring campus to observe the GLOBE Student projects firsthand. The team members learned about the Roli Poli composting system, students' unique technique on waste management in which compost materials are converted into manure in just 45 days. Students also shared their knowledge of vermicomposting techniques, rainwater harvesting, and the utilization of solar energy. In addition, students demonstrated GLOBE Protocols utilized daily, such as Max/Min/Current Air Temperature measurement, Precipitation measurement, Cloud observation, and more. This memorable event serves as an example to the GLOBE Community of how schools and scientists collaborate to give the best care to our environment so we can continue to learn from it daily.

On 5 October 2010, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. paid a visit to Yasodhara Baudha Secondary School in Kathmandu, Nepal. Bolden visited with more than 70 students and teachers to share his experiences as a NASA astronaut, present books to the teachers, and speaking about the importance of working hard in school to achieve personal and professional goals. He encouraged students not to be afraid of failure and to always ask questions to teachers until they receive an adequate answer. When asked by a student about the possibility of becoming an astronaut, Bolden replied that he too came from a modest background. He explained that nothing is impossible through hard work and determination. Bolden visited the student's water conservation demonstration classroom and learned about their GLOBE activities. The visits by the NASA administrator Charles Bolden and NASA Earth Science Division Director Dr. Michael Freilich were an honor for the schools and the GLOBE Asia-Pacific Region.

CloudSat, a joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) satellite, has involved GLOBE countries around the world and students in the Asia-Pacific region have conducted many collaborative research projects as a part of the CloudSat Education Network. Schools from Thailand, Australia, and India have actively implemented CloudSat measurements into their daily scholastic activities and many other countries in the region are joining in as well.

For additional information about GLOBE in the Asia-Pacific Regional, visit their website.

Read other 2010 GLOBE Stars from the region:

22 December 2010


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