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GLOBE Chile Promotes Leaders for the Future

In December 2010, students, teachers, scientists, government representatives, and Chilean authorities gathered at the United Nations Building in Santiago, Chile, to share the results of GLOBE research conducted in two of the country's watershed areas. Chilean students from Clara Solovera and Hermoso Peñalolén GLOBE Schools developed Cloud, Soil quality, Water quality, and Land Cover investigations in order to understand the environment of the Maipo and Tinguirica Watersheds. The event was organized by the Chilean Department of Environmental Education of the Ibero-American University of Science and Technology. Authorities from Ibero, GLOBE Country Coordinators, and city Mayors of San Bernarod and Chépica were also in attendance to learn about the investigations carried out by the two local GLOBE schools. Students from Clara Solovera school studied the Maipo River Basin, the main river flowing through the Santiago Metropolitan Region of Chile. The Maipo River is considered a major water source for irrigation essential for wine production and potable water for the region. The start of the river begins on the west slope of Maipo Volcano in the Andes, receives three major tributaries, El Volcan, Yeso and Colorado Rivers, and eventually snakes down into the Pacific Ocean at the port of San Antonio. Students from Centro Educacional Valle Hermoso in Peñalolén studied the Tinguiririca River. Like the Maipo, the Tinguiririca starts in the Andes with Clarillo and Claro tributaries which empties and ends into Rapel Lake.

The Department of Environmental Education in Chile has a mission to promote environmental awareness through local and regional community efforts. These efforts contribute to the sustainable development of watershed dynamics research. The Department of Environmental Education believes it is essential to promote the development of knowledge, values, and skills in students through a territorial intervention model that allows the recognition of local areas used for educational learning experience. Chile recognizes the necessity to develop a network of scientists, educators, students and government personnel to address many environmental issues that include monitoring of atmospheric variables, soil, hydrological and biological characteristics of watersheds. "The GLOBE Program is a great asset to the country and the department because it provides appropriate methodologies and tools to encourage learning through inquiry and a unique experience of sharing information," stated Ms. Amalia Aubone, GLOBE Latin America-Caribbean Regional Help Desk Office representative located in the neighboring country of Argentina.

Chile is acknowledged for their success in the sustainability of the GLOBE Program by making GLOBE a fundamental part of the environmental cooperation agreement between Chile and the United States. The supplemental agreement on environmental cooperation framed in the Free Trade Agreement established the GLOBE Program as a priority to strengthen environmental education. "It offers an authentic model for teaching science and the collection, analysis, and sharing of data. All these elements are very important in the current educational situation in Chile under the education strategy, Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE)," stated Chile Country Coordinator Nicole Orellana Castillo. The IBSE encourages a strong involvement of scientists, working as active partners with their local educational systems, to build capacity in content knowledge as well as improve teaching and learning of scientific concepts enhanced over time.

Ms. Castillo concluded the event by stating, "GLOBE is a real and practical supplement; it is a strategy that may be part of the Educational Improvement Plans in the country, and an obligation of the sectors who apply for funding from the Law School Grant Preference, which seeks to ensure a quality educational service for Chilean students."

Many thanks to the Department of Environmental Education of the Ibero-American University of Science and Technology, and GLOBE Chile leadership for organizing and executing this event, and demonstrating the effectiveness of student-driven, inquiry-based science education.

Read more about environmental research in Chile:

29 June 2011