Stars and STEM Stories
GLOBE Malta Cloud Challenge a Collaborative Success "During Difficult Times"
In order to celebrate The GLOBE Program’s 25th Anniversary and Earth Day 2020 (22 April), and World Environment Day (05 June), GLOBE Malta, the U.S. Embassy, and the Malta Embassy in Washington, D.C., teamed up in a joint project that highlighted U.S. and Maltese collaboration efforts designed to better understand the Earth systems and the global environment.
The project, “GLOBE Malta Cloud Challenge,” focused on cloud formation observations, was launched on 22 April (GLOBE’s birthday and Earth Day) through a video-conferencing platform. From 22 April through 01 June, participants recorded their research and developed creative ways in which to present their findings. Participants made their observations from their garden, yard, roof, balcony, or window. In all,108 students participated – and presented their individual projects to highlight their observations of cloud formations. The students came from a total of 14 schools, eight of which are already members of GLOBE, and nine individuals, including two MCAST (Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology) students.
“Students got familiar with the GLOBE Observer App and even made sky observations for the first time,” Malta Deputy Country Coordinator Ramona Mercieca said.
On Word Environment Day, 05 June, Ambassador Keith Azzopardi (Embassy of Malta in the United States) and Marji Christian (Acting Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Malta), together with GLOBE Malta coordinators, brought this initiative to an end, virtually, by praising the students’ works and thanking teachers and GLOBE coordinators for their support. Joined by teachers and students in Malta and Gozo, they discussed the students’ projects using a video-conferencing platform.
“Our generation has a great responsibility in raising public awareness to better understand the Earth system and the global environment for the benefit of future generations, and to do so, we must continue motivating our educators and students to learn about our planet,” Ambassador Azzopardi said. “The GLOBE Program offers a unique opportunity in this regard. The great success of our joint project on cloud formation, in collaboration with GLOBE Malta and the U.S. Embassy in Malta, proved that young generations are also keen in safeguarding our planet and therefore, similar programs are to be encouraged.”
“I have observed the clouds from our balcony for one week. I enjoyed myself taking photos. Moreover, I have learned that there are different types of clouds and I have also learned the days of the week,” Kayden G.
Chargé d’ Affaires Gwendolyn “Wendy” Green said, “We are delighted to be part of this collaborative effort to mark GLOBE’s 25th Anniversary and World Environment Day, and to bring the project on ‘cloud formations’ to its very successful conclusion.”
To participating students, Green said, “Students, your projects are amazing! I am truly impressed by the level of interest in and enthusiasm you have demonstrated. One-hundred and eight entries – that’s remarkable.”
“We are happy that the challenges of COVID-19 did not dampen your spirits and that you were able to dedicate so much time and effort, with the help of your teachers and parents,” Green said. “We are very proud of GLOBE Malta’s achievements on behalf of Malta, which has now become the role model for other participating countries.”
Representatives from the Regional Coordination Office (RCO) appreciated this collaborative project and joined both the opening and closing virtual meetings. They congratulated all participants and sent GLOBE certificates to all students.
“I am very proud it turned out to be such a successful event,” Ramona Mercieca said. “It was an original project, the first of it’s like in Malta. We managed to blend science with art and creative writing. I coordinated this project from start to finish. It involved a lot of planning, online meetings, communication with emails, and interviews for local television to promote and advertise the challenge. I made new contacts with heads of schools, teachers, students and even parents. Not only did I introduce The GLOBE Program to new schools, but also to citizen scientists. It was a truly rewarding experience with new friendships made along the way. Hard work surely paid off!”
Ramona Mercieca, from Gozo College Middle School (Victoria, Gozo, Malta) – who has been with The GLOBE Program for three years, said, “The challenge brought many people together during difficult times. It opened up new opportunities for collaboration and exposed The GLOBE Program to new schools, teachers, students and the general public.”
This Star Story was submitted by GLOBE Deputy Country Coordinator of Malta, Ramona Mercieca.