Stars and STEM Stories
"2023 Learning Expedition to the Sea" in the Maldives
The GLOBE Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Office (RCO), in collaboration with GLOBE Maldives, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO) organized a three-day GLOBE Learning Expedition to the Sea in Malé, Maldives from 30 September 2023 to 4 October 2023. The expedition aimed to bring together students, teachers and the scientific community from different Asia-Pacific countries to collectively “learn through observation” about issues surrounding our oceans and water systems due to manmade and natural events. Participants also learned how to use GLOBE protocols as a means to contributing to the understanding of the Earth System and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
The main objective 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 and to create a platform for exchanging experience related to learning about The GLOBE Program along with cultural knowledge exchange. The expedition welcomed 151 participants from seven countries (India, Maldives, Mongolia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam).
Participants visited GLOBE/STEM schools and studied the coral reefs in Villingili Islands (natural island), implementing GLOBE protocols on Hydrosphere (water temperate, pH, TDS, and salinity) Biosphere (land cover, tree circumference and tree height), Atmosphere (air temperate, clouds, surface temperature) and Pedosphere (soil temperature and soil characterization) and contributing data to the GLOBE database via the GLOBE Observer App at Hulhumalé (artificial island). The EPA and RCO teams facilitated the protocol sessions.
Participants discussed the importance of coral reefs in the Maldives and combined its study with GLOBE protocols and and the impact on the local environment that comes from engaging in a focused study of the reefs and sea water. Biotic life and environmental conditions near the Central Park (Hulhumalé) on a reclaimed island (artificial island) located in the south of North Malé Atoll, Maldives were also observed and discussed. Participants could observe and learn about topographical variation and the type of aquatic life on islands and observe the impact of the landscape on lifestyles of the islanders living there.
Participants shared their research done on water bodies in their home countries with other participants, which lead to a discussion on future collaboration among different students. Participants also shared their best GLOBE practices that they have organized to keep their communities motivated and informed about their local environment.
All participants visited two schools in the Maldives: Ghaazee School in Hulhumalé and Muhiydheen School on Villingili Island. The participants were welcomed by the Maldivian culture, welcome speech given by schools' STEM Club members, and the students exchanging their views on STEM activities and GLOBE activities in their respective schools. Students from both schools gave a presentation on their ongoing STEM activities. Nature Club students gave a presentation on The GLOBE Program in school. Following that, participants took part in a snorkeling event organized by GLOBE Maldives, EPA and Muhiydheen School; students and teachers from the school paired up with students and teachers from participating countries to study the coral reef adopted by the school. A team of Maldivian Coast Guards were present to help all the participants. The closing program was held in Malé with the certificate distribution.
This expedition provided opportunities to the GLOBE schools of India, Maldives, Mongolia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam in active participation and understanding of the GLOBE protocols. With this effort, the student researchers and teachers got an opportunity to take part and share how they collect GLOBE data as well as create a research paper using the data. The expedition also provided a large platform for students to share their GLOBE activities and projects, the status of The GLOBE Program in their respective schools, and defining characteristics of their varying cultures.
This expedition created an opportunity for new schools in the Maldives who were introduced to The GLOBE Program by Capacity Building Project participants. It was the first time for these school to see GLOBE live in action.
A Country Coordinator of GLOBE Maldives expressed, "I am glad that the visiting students enjoyed the 'Learning Expedition to the Sea.' Our Local schools are also excited to start their GLOBE Protocol and engage in knowledge sharing. We are looking forward to hosting more such expeditions in the Maldives."
Images courtesy Dr. Desh Bandu, GLOBE Asia and Pacific Regional Coordination Office.