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Walk-a-Thon for Water: GLOBE Protocol Helps U.S. Students Raise Scientific and Cultural Awareness

Students at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School

GLOBE hydrosphere protocols in hand, and practical purpose at heart, students in Newport News, Virginia, USA, increased their insight into how children in other parts of the world live with, and sometimes without, readily available water.

“Since 2014, when I started training my students in collecting atmospheric data using GLOBE protocols,” Angela Rizzi, the students’ teacher at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, said, “it has been evident that they have been making strides in their scientific studies; but working with GLOBE has brought up much more than that. GLOBE has provided my students with insight about how children in other parts of the world live."

In the process of teaching her students how to use GLOBE protocols in the field, Rizzi reached out to a school with an outdoor classroom on an estuary. “My students learned how to make hydrosphere measurements and cleaned trash from a local beach. In preparation for these activities, I taught my students about the lack of fresh water in some areas of the world.”

During this scientific endeavor, Rizzi said her students’ cultural awareness increased. “They learned how, in several third world nations, young people are often in charge of finding potable water and bringing it back to their families.”

The students decided that they wanted to raise awareness, and money, for people in the developing world who might not have access to clean water. “They decided that they would do a walk-a-thon in solidarity with those who face this hardship on a daily basis. For one week in April 2017, the students gave up their recess time to carry filled water jugs around the perimeter of the field. They enlisted sponsors to donate a specific amount of money per lap.”

The students raised over $800, which they then used to purchase two hand-washing stations, two family wash kits, one water pump tools/training kit, and one community latrine. “Being a Catholic school,” Rizzi said, “we chose to donate the items through Catholic Relief Services, an organization committed to assist the poor and the vulnerable overseas.”

“As a science teacher, it is my goal that my students participate in authentic scientific research experiences; but with GLOBE I have accomplished that and much more: GLOBE is also helping shape my students as responsible global citizens that are aware of how other children live and who care about making a difference for those children in other parts of the world.”

“This is important,” Rizzi said, “because it is a concrete example in which students developed a broader cultural awareness through GLOBE. Students gained insight about how other people in the world live and they decided to do something to help others.”


This STAR Story was contributed by Rosalba Giarratano, GLOBE Air Quality Intern, Science Directorate, NASA Langley Research Center.