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Extraordinary Enthusiasm for The GLOBE Program in The Dominican Republic!

"This was one of the most important events for the GLOBE Program in the Dominican Republic since its introduction 15 years ago," proclaimed GLOBE Country Coordinator Lic. María Lorraine de Ruiz-Alma. Thanks to the support of the Franklin Center of the United States Embassy, teachers from all over the country were united in Santo Domingo on for a 3-day professional development event on 28-30 May 2012 that captured the attention of the Dominican educative community. A few days before, a Regional Meeting including GLOBE Coordinators from 15 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as a training seminar for trainers and master trainers, took place.

The workshop of Dominican teachers was sponsored by the TROPIGAS Natural Foundation of the Martí Petroleum Group, an institution that after learning of the principles of the GLOBE Program, found in it the answer to their social and environmental worries for the country. The sponsorship of the TROPIGAS Natural Foundation consisted of a donation of RD$400,000.00 (around US$10,000.00), which was awarded by Mr. René Del Risco, TROPIGAS Vice-President of Marketing and Communications, to cover the costs of the training, also donating a complete set of atmosphere and land cover scientific instruments to the Loyola Polytechnical Institute, an educative institution that has years of promoting scientific investigation. The Foundation, now dedicated to serve as an official sponsors of the GLOBE Program in the Dominican Republic, acknowledged the great importance of environmental education in the public and private schools throughout the country.

The event began with the viewing a short segment of a NASA Connect video about GLOBE followed by an enthusiastic welcome from Lic. María Lorraine de Ruiz-Alma who shared her excitement about the possibility of public and private schools working together through GLOBE. Mr. José Amado Rodríguez, Director of the Department of Environmental Education of the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic, attended the opening ceremony and congratulated GLOBE in the Dominican Republic for their hard work and dedication to promote environmental awareness. In addition, Dr. Teresa Kennedy, GLOBE Program Office International Division Director, welcomed all teachers and thanked the sponsors and the Ministry for their generous support of GLOBE. During this important inaugural act, Lic. María Lorraine de Ruiz-Alma, stated "Environmental conscience is gaining momentum in the world by leaps and bounds, new generations demand a complete study of the changes occurring in the environment and measures that ensure a sustainable development since it is not enough to study and protect the natural resources, but there is need to analyze the relationships and connections of their properties of the Earth as a system. The impact of human actions is global."

During the atmosphere training, a special emphasis on Aerosol measurements as well as the collection of surface temperature measurements was covered by Mr. Edwin Sánchez, Aeronautic and Space Engineer, who completed the Master Trainer Program by leading the instruction with the oversight of Master Trainer Lic. María Lorraine de Ruiz-Alma. In addition, participants learned how to participate in the Operation Ruby Throated Hummingbird project. "A special moment was shared when hummingbirds appeared in the shrubs that bare their name (Hummingbird Bush) during lunchtime as if they were participating as specially invited guests of the workshop," shared Lic. María Lorraine de Ruiz-Alma.

GLOBE Master Trainer Prof. Marta Kingsland from Argentina led the training of GLOBE hydrology protocols, ensuring to link to other investigation areas including atmosphere during the discussion. Hands-on practice took place at the Botanical Garden in Santo Domingo. Different study sites were set up to examine transparency, temperature, pH and conductivity. According to Prof. Marta Kingsland, "This experience demonstrates the enthusiasm and commitment that we all work for in order strengthen the GLOBE Program in the region."

Prof. Marta Kingsland also served as the training mentor to Mr. Jesús Fúster, Geological Engineer from the Dominican Republic, enabling him to complete the Master Trainer Program by successfully leading the Soil training.

Prof. Claudia Caro (Peru) led the training of the Land Cover/Biology protocols, assisted by Lic. María Lorraine de Ruiz-Alma who completed the first step in becoming a future Master Trainer in GLOBE's Land Cover/Biology investigation area.

Many accomplishments were realized during this three day event! As a result of this workshop, the Dominican Republic now has 66 new GLOBE Teachers representing 26 new GLOBE schools and 1 university, and includes 6 trained representatives from the Office of the First Lady (presently the Vice-President Elect of the Dominican Republic), as well as representatives the Ministry of Education and from the National Botanical Gardens Environmental Program. According to Prof. Michael Coradín from San José Obrero School, "Immeasurable growth during the days of work, many new friendships, experiences and innovative teaching techniques to integrate in our work and enhance awareness in our young people to reduce the impact of malpractice against our planet." Mr. Eric Mercedes Rodriguez from Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra added, "We have to include this program in our curriculum, teachers and professionals in areas related to these projects should be aware of the scope and possibilities that they can participate in and make a positive difference in the world."

"Many thanks to the Dominican Republic for this incredible event that has not only taught science and education but also demonstrated the value of teamwork and the importance of inspiring students to better understand and protect our planet," stated Prof. Claudia Caro from Peru.

Read more about GLOBE activities in the Dominican Republic:

Students from the Dominican Republic Present GLOBE Program at Model United Nations in New York City

Read about past Latin America+Caribbean Regional Meetings:

Successful Regional Meeting and Training Event in Latin America and the Caribbean (2012)

GLOBE Leaders Discuss Projects and Progression at GLOBE 2011 Regional Meetings (2011)

GLOBE Latin America and the Caribbean Prepares for Student Climate Research Campaign (2010)

Latin America and the Caribbean VI Regional Meeting, Iguaza - Argentina (2009)

Latin America and the Caribbean V Regional Meeting San Antonio, Texas (2007)

Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Meeting and Training Workshop (2007)

Third Latin America and Caribbean Regional Meeting and International Training Workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2006)

19 June 2012