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GLOBE Teachers' Conference in Helsinki

On 21 September, educators from around Finland gathered at the American Resource Center at the National Library in Helsinki to attend the GLOBE Teachers' Conference. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, Vaisala and the Finnish Board of Education, the Teachers' Conference helped revitalize the GLOBE program in Finland by bringing together leading educators for a full-day of activities that provided numerous networking opportunities.

The Conference featured addresses by Ambassador Marilyn Ware, Jari Koivisto from the Finnish Board of Education and NOAA's Dr. David Schultz, visiting professor at the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Using a variety of examples and historical models, Dr. Schulz addressed How Weather Observations Are Used to Make Forecasts. Irma Ylikangas, Business Development Manager at Vaisala, spoke about Weather and Environment – Piloting New Concepts. Educators also shared a series of classroom "best practices" and they established a governing body of teachers to oversee the GLOBE Program in Finland.

At the conclusion of the Conference, Embassy Economic Officer Glenn Lewis unveiled an exciting set of classroom materials that teach about sustainable development and global climate change and include practical exercises that introduce the importance of personal accountability. These materials cover five areas of sustainable development: energy, waste, transportation, biodiversity, and water. Originally developed by GLOBE United Kingdom, the materials were translated into Finnish using a financial grant provided by the U.S. Department of State and coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki. These materials, available on CD ROM, are now being made available free of charge to educators throughout Finland, through the Embassy.

Remarking on the success of the Conference, one educator said, "Thanks for the good meeting. I look forward to our GLOBE [Program] continuing to grow!"

2 November 2007