Stars and STEM Stories
Diego Luna Vélez of Colegio Montessori of Cartagena Represents Colombia in the LAC Annual Meeting in Panamá
Student Diego Andres Luna (year 10) represented his research unit, presenting an ongoing investigation regarding the Ecosystem Services that urban forests bring to people at the GLOBE LAC Regional Meeting in Panama. As part of the research process, Biontessori had to make a tree inventory of two parks near the school; as a result, they took 77 trees' biometrics during the GLOBE IOP campaign “Los árboles dentro de LAC (Trees Within LAC)."
This accomplishment led them to win one of the places with five other schools from Uruguay and Argentina to visit Panamá as part of the 2023 LAC Annual Meeting and enjoy the beauties and treasures this incredible country offers. Diego and other students visited The Smithsonian Institute in Punta Culebra and the Miraflores lock in the Panamá Canal. But, the main event was observing the annular eclipse and taking measurements during it.
In Diego´s words, “At the regional meeting in the lovely country of Panama, I had the opportunity to embark on a life-changing adventure where scientific curiosity has no boundaries. Interacting with a variety of initiatives that my colleagues had to offer, the cooperative environment fueled my curiosity. GLOBE offered a cultural journey that showed me Panama's marvels outside of the meeting rooms, which included a fascinating tour of the Miraflores lock. This event offered an immersive experience that sparked interest and ignited passion in my heart, going beyond what is found in textbooks.”
The importance of this event is giving students a chance to exchange experiences and see the importance and transcendence of being part of the GLOBE Community.
Diego continues, “For high school students, taking part in hands-on scientific events like the regional gathering hosted by GLOBE and NASA is really important. These experiences go beyond traditional classroom instruction, offering a dynamic setting where students may work on real-world projects, connect with other students who share their interests, and see how scientific principles are put to use. A thorough understanding of scientific subjects is cultivated through exposure to a variety of projects, which also helps to build critical thinking abilities and intellectual curiosity.”
The importance of Diego and his classmate's project is that it counts, identifies and classifies trees in Cartagena´s urban forests in Parque Lácides and Román, and offers quantitative data. It answers questions such as "How much oxygen does each tree produce? How much carbon does each tree capture? And how much carbon dioxide does each tree process?" This project also seeks to find the correlations between these variables, the urban heat islands and the diversity of birds in these two parks. The project continues Biontessori's 2021 IVSS project, measuring Surface and Air temperature, as they will also do in December 2023 and February 2024; the invitation is to be tuned in to the IVSS 2024 to see the final results of this investigation.
The importance of having students and teachers in the GLOBE LAC meeting is that it strengthens the connectivity and cooperation among students and teachers, setting the example for other teachers and students in their regions and encouraging them to join and enjoy this magnificent program.
Images courtesy Juan Felipe Restrepo Mesa, GLOBE Mentor Trainer, Knowledge Management Chief and Environmental Education Coordinator at Colegio Montessori Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.