2018 Lake Pokhara Expedition Creates Platform for Successful Scientific and Cultural Exchange
The GLOBE Regional Coordination Office for the Asia and Pacific region, in association with Indian Environmental Society (IES), and in collaboration with Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA), organized an adventurous seven-day (02-08 October 2018) GLOBE Learning Expedition in Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal. The goal of the expedition was to create a platform for culturally diverse participants to engage in a hands-on learning experience centered around understanding the effects of climate change in the region through the use of relevant GLOBE protocols.
The expedition – which began with a virtual welcome speech from GLOBE Implementation Office Director Dr. Tony Murphy – included 44 participants from five countries (Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Nepal, and India). Specifically, there were 15 participants from Taiwan, seven from Oman, eight from Thailand, eight from India, and six from Nepal.
During the expedition, students and teachers had the opportunity to conduct GLOBE protocols (including hydrology, soil, and atmosphere) and to use the GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper App, in Pokhara, Nepal. The ECCA and IES teams facilitated the field protocol learning. Expedition participants were able to collect measurements related to water temperature, pH values, total dissolved solids, turbidity and conductivity, transparency, and soil temperature; they were also able to collect cloud observations. Participants were given the time to discuss, and share about, the importance of using GLOBE protocols. They were also given the field time necessary to experience the direct impact on the local environment that comes from engaging in a focused study.
During the expedition, biotic life and environmental conditions near the lake's periphery were studied. Participants were able to observe, and to learn about, topographical variation and the type of vegetation in hilly areas – and to observe the impact of the landscape on the lifestyles of the nearby villagers.
While in Pokhara, expedition members visited White Gumba, where they were able to engage in cloud observations using the NASA GLOBE Observer App, The group also visited Devi's Fall – where the water cascades from Lake Phewa to Gupteshwor Cave (where the water subsides into the Earth).
Dr. Hameed Sulaiman Lebbai, a GLOBE Science Working Group member, gave a presentation on why GLOBE data is important, and how the data can be effective used. He explained how GLOBE student data and researcher data is very similar. He also went over the hydrological data taken on Phewa Lake.
On 07 October, the expedition group visited ICIMOD Biodiversity Knowledge Park (situated on the southern slopes of the Kathmandu Valley) to learn about organic farming, the biodiversity of Nepal, different environmental technologies, and the use of scientific advancements for conservation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region (HKH Region).
Expedition participants visited the Crescent Academy (a GLOBE school), where they were able to experience a slice of Nepali culture. After a welcome speech, given by a member of the local nature club, the students engaged in an exchange regarding views on The GLOBE Program and GLOBE-related activities in their respective schools. The closing program was held in Kathmandu, where students were given certificates acknowledging their participation in the expedition -- and then given time to share their personal and cultural experiences and knowledge with one another.
"It`s my first time to participate in The GLOBE Program,” Mariam Hanan, a student from Oman, said, "but from here, I am going to learn many more things about GLOBE protocols. Now I feel like I have knowledge about how to observe GLOBE protocols, so I'm really thankful towards The GLOBE Program for this opportunity.”
Suryateja Vanama, a student from India, said ”I really enjoy learning different ways to observe different GLOBE protocols, and I'm also able to know the benefits of using GLOBE protocols for the environment and for our general life, as well. I also learned how to use the mosquito habitat mapper; it was new to me, but now I'm clear about this protocol also."
Yu-Chen Chan, a student from Taiwan, said "When I do GLOBE protocols in Taiwan I am quite confused. When I did the same protocols in Nepal, I had more confidence while learning the protocols, and I really enjoyed learning them – as well as discussing them with my friends and reaching a conclusion about our findings.”
Overall, the expedition served as a platform for a scientific and cultural exchange – and a focused field study – designed to give participants a place to share their GLOBE-related activities and projects and a few defining characteristics of their diverse cultures.
This Star Story was submitted by Dr. Desh Bandhu, Asia and Pacific Regional Coordination Office.