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14th Annual GLOBE Games Draw Community Involvement in Czech Republic

GLOBE Games have occurred annually since 1997, taking place each year in a different city in the Czech Republic. The objectives of GLOBE Games are:

  • To raise environmental awareness among GLOBE students through data collection and research;
  • To initiate collaborations among schools throughout the region;
  • To introduce participants to special environmental challenges involving many of the GLOBE protocol;
  • To encourage teambuilding as a vital part of the educational experience.

This year, the games were hosted by Vsetín Rokytnice Elementary School in the mountain country of Vsetín, Wallachia, known for its traditional folklore music, dance, and sheep breeding. The theme of this year's games was "What it Means to Participate in GLOBE," with opening ceremonies on 5 May to assemble scientists, 43 teachers, 150 Czech students, 40 foreign guests from Slovakian, Estonian and Polish schools in order to offer participants expanded experiences in the scope of the GLOBE Program. GLOBE Games provide students and teachers a special occasion in which to share their experiences and to introduce GLOBE to the general public in a festive setting. The public festival took place in the Panská Zahrada city park, allowing several Czech schools to demonstrate GLOBE activities for the public. Through GLOBE Games, students and community members gain new inspiration and initiate school-to-school collaborations while having fun, motivating participants to engage in future GLOBE projects!

The national coordinator for The GLOBE Program in the Czech Republic is the TEREZA Association, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that encourages and supports cooperation and active community participation in renewal and protection of a healthy environment, and thus contributes to the overall development of civic society. TEREZA has hosted the GLOBE Games every year for the past 14 years in the Czech Republic, bringing together environmentally concerned students, teachers, scientists and special guests from the Czech Republic and neighboring countries.

One of the most anticipated activities during the event was the outdoor game in the countryside of the Beskydy hills, where student endurance was tested along with problem solving and team cooperation. Students used maps to locate different GLOBE activities, each designed to expand knowledge that students would need to accomplish their GLOBE research projects. TEREZA Association Representative Barbora Semeráková stated, "Students found themselves dealing with challenges in diverse situations, such as how to inquire and formulate a hypothesis, propose solutions to local environmental problems, analyze data and discuss with a researcher, express their sensitivity for nature, work with a team, and communicate effectively under complicated conditions."

The teachers were equally as excited as the students to participate in the games and learn more about GLOBE. While students were enjoying the activities occurring in the hill country, teachers attended professional development meetings that provided a unique opportunity to meet and share their GLOBE experiences, as well as to gain and experience new information. This year's GLOBE Games included teacher workshops on GIS, lead by geographers from Charles University in Prague, along with an impromptu session on inquiry-based science methods to test teachers' hypotheses about nature.

Student representatives from each school wrote and presented papers about GLOBE studies conducted at their school throughout the year. Student projects were divided according to the topics: Solving Environmental Problems, Verification of Hypotheses and Observation and Measurement. A total of 31 teams presented to an audience of peers, teachers and scientists. Semeráková stated, "They were proud to present papers of their own investigations, research projects, and ideas of improving local environment by using GLOBE." The main focus of the student conference was to allow active GLOBE students the opportunity to advocate and communicate GLOBE ideas within the Czech GLOBE community. The conference also gave students experience in providing public presentations that allowed for open discussions, support and sharing ideas on how GLOBE influences local environment, and provided students with a greater understanding of how nature corresponds with scientific investigation.

While the games, conference and teacher workshops emphasized collaboration within the GLOBE network, the outdoor festival in the town of Vsetín reached out to include the public. The festival started off with a bright and musical parade through the town center, with townspeople following the iconic three meter wide Earth replica float through the streets. The festival attracted many local community members and provided student orchestrated, hands-on opportunities for the public to learn about GLOBE. The festival concluded with celebration and recognition of the participants as well as the official announcement of the location for GLOBE Games 2012 which will take place in Litomyšl, Czech Republic.

The annual GLOBE Games event has become a unifying tradition and source of strength for GLOBE implementation in the Czech Republic. Thank you to the TEREZA Association, Vsetín Rokytnice Elementary School for organizing, the town of Vsetin for hosting the event, the Czech GLOBE Alumni Association for organizing, and all other individuals who contributed to GLOBE Games 2011.

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8 June 2011