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GLOBE Estonia -- Collaborating with Russian-Speaking Teachers in Ida-Virumaa

Recently, GLOBE Estonia conducted a very successful GLOBE collaboration project integrating GLOBE teachers of the Russian-speaking Ida-Virumaa region to Estonia's science teacher community. The project included organizing events at American spaces within Estonia. GLOBE Estonia launched this collaboration program for GLOBE teachers from the largely Russian-speaking Ida-Virumaa county, located in northeastern Estonia. The locations were chosen based on the venues of four American spaces i nthe country; these spaces provided a room for discussions and presentations but also enabled participants to learn more about the United States. 

Estonia has been trying to facilitate the integration of the Estonian- and Russian-speaking population for a long time; The GLOBE program was the ideal way to do so by including more teachers from Ida-Virumaa and encouraging them to take GLOBE measurements. In order to achieve the desired inclusion, the best way was to do that through face-to-face get-togethers and seminars. 

In Kuressaare, participants took hydrology measurements, visited a world cafe, made presentations and shared experiences. The purpose of the project was to improve teaching skills on how to take GLOBE measurements (through Estonian language instructions), learn about special environmental features of different regions and get to better know each other. 

In Tallinn, participants took biosphere measurements in winter conditions, discussed different GLOBE campaigns, and shared experiences from past GLOBE events. These seminars have helped to strengthen the GLOBE Community and promote exchange of best practices in different regions of Estonia. Every seminar focused on one GLOBE sphere (atmosphere, biosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere). 

In Viljandi, participants took pedosphere measurements in Spring, met the US Ambassador George P. Kent, and visited a local GLOBE school.

The project goals were to: 

  • integrate Ida-Viru GLOBE teachers with the Estonian science teacher community; 
  • eliminate misconceptions about teachers from Ida-Viru, who have been underrepresented at GLOBE events; 
  • improve the language skills of Ida-Viru teachers in terms of GLOBE vocabulary so that they can make measurements with students; 
  • create closer contact between teachers; 
  • conduct workshops and data analysis in each GLOBE sphere; and 
  • raise awareness of the environmental characteristics of various regions of Estonia and reflect this in the form of a report or presentation on the GLOBE expedition. 

The culmination of the project will take place during the GLOBE Estonia annual seminar in Narva at the end of November in 2023. There, participants will reflect back on all the activities done during the year and plan new ideas for 2024. There will be another opportunity for the teachers community to meet, inspire, share experiences and do GLOBE measurements together. The project was supported by the US Embassy in Estonia.

Merli Ilves (GLOBE Estonia) shares her thoughts on the project:

"We want to inspire other GLOBE programs to try out similar events. Also, at the GLOBE Market in Riga during the Europe and Eurasia Regional Meeting many participants were interested in our project and that's why we would like to share the experience even further. This project is important because it tackles an important problem in Estonia: segregation of Estonian and Russian speaking GLOBE teachers. It tries to solve that problem by bringing people together through The GLOBE Program. By organizing these collaboration days, we made the community stronger and can now do GLOBE even better."

Images courtesy Merli Ilves, GLOBE Estonia.