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Life-long Learners Help GLOBE Grow in The Netherlands

Six adult volunteers were trained in the GLOBE protocols recently in Bennekom, The Netherlands, so they can support GLOBE activities in their communities.

The Dutch program aims specifically at training post-career adults who have enough free time to be able to assist GLOBE teachers and students. These volunteers - four men and two women-help school children to perform their GLOBE protocols, and - very importantly-- to enter their data on the GLOBE website for scientists and other GLOBE students to analyze.

"This is a pioneer program that we hope will expand to link as many senior volunteers to GLOBE schools as possible," said Netherlands' GLOBE Country Coordinator Michiel van Yperen. "They can share their wisdom, energy and experience to deepen the roots of GLOBE in The Netherlands."

The volunteers were recruited through volunteer networks, environmental publications and via the Weather Amateur Society, a group of skilled volunteers who take measurements for the Netherlands weather bureau.

This is just the start of what van Yperen and others - especially GLOBE teachers - hope will become a widespread army of helpers. Local teachers visited the training to meet with their volunteer GLOBE counterparts and answer their questions about making GLOBE central in today's classroom.

Three of the volunteers were once teachers themselves. "I miss having contact with the students," said one former teacher. "GLOBE is a meaningful way for me help out in the classroom and get back in touch with the kids."

Other volunteers are equally excited about the program. "We wished we had had a program like GLOBE to help us learn about science when we were in school," said one. "Working with young people keeps me young myself, "added another.

Such volunteers personify the GLOBE precept of life-long learning. They say they are enjoying the chance to perform different kinds of activities, to master GLOBE's scientific protocols and, in the process, to contribution to their community by helping GLOBE grow. At the same time, they said they are satisfying their own curiosity about the atmosphere and the environment.

Peter Reijnders, a volunteer and "weather amateur" for The Netherlands weather bureau, said that the authentic scientific rigor in which students were being taught to collect data convinced him of the high caliber of the contribution that GLOBE makes to understanding education, science and technology.

05 April 2001