Asia-Pacific Region Boosts Training Initiatives and Student Inquiry Projects


Twenty representatives from the Asia Pacific region, consisting of Government Officials together with GLOBE Country Coordinators, Teachers, Scientists and NGO's, met in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 1-3 April 2010, to plan future student inquiry activities for the region. Countries represented from the region included Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Palau, and Thailand. Discussions included identification of the challenges and possible solutions to successful implementation of GLOBE in the Asia-Pacific region, the types of research campaigns and topics that are of interest to teachers and students in the region, and how to fit GLOBE activities and campaigns into the curriculum of science topics that students are already studying. Countries stressed the need for robust impact evaluations and assessment models to help verify the benefits of GLOBE which is essential to gaining approval for implementation within their ministries, decentralized models for implementing GLOBE in conjunction with university scientists, NGO's and other community members has been successful.

The GLOBE Asia-Pacific region has organized working groups around promoting and strengthening regional and international implementation; strengthening national implementation; coordinating GLOBE Projects; organizing master trainer workshops, enhancing communication, and regional sustainability through fundraising efforts. Dr. Donna Charlevoix, Director of GLOBE's Science and Education Division and leader of the GLOBE Student Climate Research Campaign, led a detailed discussion via Skype to prepare the region for upcoming GPO climate initiatives. A seminar on Climate Change followed the meeting and included leading scientists from the region, including representatives from UNEP and experts from the ministries and universities.

An important outcome of the regional meeting was an outline agreed upon to address regional training needs and a detailed plan for a follow-up regional work-shop and Train-the-Trainer professional development event that took place on 2-5 June 2010 at the Auditorium of the Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy in New Delhi. A special training guide was created and used in the workshop. Trainers from Thailand and Nepal participated in the event, as did neighboring country Bhutan, who sent two representatives to be trained in anticipation of their country joining GLOBE. All expenses for the event were covered by the U.S. Embassy in New Dehli, India, as a result of an extensive funding proposal submitted to increase the training capacity of the region.

Delhi Public School in New Delhi is extremely active in developing research projects under the leadership of GLOBE Teacher Sasmita Satpathy. Students from 7th through 11th grades (ages 10 to 16) record daily cloud and temperature data and have even developed a CD used in teaching GLOBE students about the atmosphere and its importance in Earth science research activities. Studentsplant trees on school campus and in nearby areas to use with Land Cover/ Biology Protocols and consistently tend to the trees while monitoring their health and growth. Through this process, they learn about life cycles of different vegetation types, and how the care they give contributes to the quality of the plants' lives. The school also recycles bio waste from the school canteen, leftover food, and tree leaves by vermi-composting these resources into manure. The manure produced is then used by students in planting, and the trees draw rich nutrients from compost in the soil.

The school also has a top notch paper waste recycle facility on site, where students produce handmade paper products as a science activity. Students use the paper to make classroom files folders, envelopes, writing pads and decorative items. The products also have a good market value and can be sold to consumers. Another project benefiting the school is a water harvesting system with which students collect rain water to use in school and for charging the underground water table. Students actively participate by testing the water quality regularly. The students also participate in environmentally positive campaigns such as "No Crackers," "Keep the Environment Clean," and "Biodiversity Conservation." These projects are funded by the Department of Environment, Government of NCT of Delhi and Ministry of Environment and Forests under National Green Corps which is coordinated by Mr. R Mehta, Advisor in the Ministry of Environment and Forests and GLOBE Country Coordinator.

A group of six New Delhi students and teachers presented these remarkable GLOBE projects at the Climate Change Education and Earth System Science Seminar held in Thailand 16-21 December 2009. Students were also able to share their research with Ms. Lynne Weil, Director Communication, House of Foreign Affairs Committee, Washington, D.C. when she visited their school recently, accompanied by two other Public Affairs staff members, and participated in discussions with students about current projects. She praised the interest and contribution of students on GLOBE initiatives under the leadership of their teachers. This school serves as an example to other Asia-Pacific GLOBE teachers as they strive to plan and organize research projects that will both engage and enlighten their students.

Thank you to Delhi Public School for demonstrating fun and beneficial ways to mold current level science curriculum into GLOBE activities. Many thanks also to the entire GLOBE Asia-Pacific team for your contributions to the Regional Meeting in New Delhi and to all at the GLOBE Asia-Pacific Regional Office for their coordination and leadership in the region. We look forward to seeing your ideas implemented inside and outside the classroom as students discover that they can actually become scientists, not only in their studies, but in a fascinating part of their everyday lives.

28 June 2010




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