GLOBE Europe Country Coordinators Meeting in Warsaw, Poland
The fourth GLOBE Europe Regional Consortium meeting took place in
Warsaw, Poland, on 17-20 April 2008. With over 60 participants from 16 countries in attendance, the focus was on past and future activities of GLOBE Europe. Participants were greeted and welcomed by the Director of UNEP/GRID-Warsaw, Dr. Marek Baranowski; Vice Director of UNEP/GRID-Warsaw, Ms. Maria Andrzejewski; Senior Environmental Specialist of UNEP/GRID-Warsaw, Dr. Piotr Mikolajczyk; GLOBE Poland Country Coordinator, Mrs. Magdalena Machinko-Nagrabecka; GLOBE Europe Regional Consortium Chairperson and GLOBE International Advisory Committee Representative as well as GLOBE Norway Country Coordinator, Mr. Karl Hetland; GLOBE Program Office Deputy Director, Dr. Teresa Kennedy; and GLOBE Program Office European Desk Officer, Mr. Noah Newman.
Participating in the conference were representatives from Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, and the United Kingdom. Conference attendees exchanged useful information on new research fields, methods of environmental education and strengthening collaboration and ties between GLOBE programs within Europe.
Following the opening ceremony were a number of interactive presentations including updates from the GLOBE Program Office including a general summary of the scientific process of inquiry-based education and it's natural applications and connections with the GLOBE Program, as well as GPO efforts to incorporate GLOBE across the curriculum. Other presentation topics included Landcover/Biology analysis studies, incorporating National Parks resources with GLOBE Protocols, and updates regarding GLOBE Alumni in Poland. Country Coordinators met to discuss issues concerning regional GLOBE activities and collaboration. A separate meeting was held to tour the new GLOBE Web site, including updates that have occurred within the GLOBE Administration Pages and Annual Survey submission process.
Conference attendees were invited to a reception at the home of U.S. Ambassador Victor Ashe and Mrs. Joan Ashe in Warsaw. Mr. Warren Gray, Second Secretary, Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy Warsaw, spoke about the importance of education, science education, and most importantly, the value of the GLOBE ‘inquiry' model of pedagogy. One highlight of his presentation related a story about Dr. Isidore Isaac Rabi, one of the great physicists of the 20th century and a Nobel Prize Laureate. According to the story, Rabi's parents moved to the U.S. from Poland soon after his birth and Rabi could remember that his friends' mothers would always ask their children, "How did you do in school today? Did you get a good grade?" Rabi's mother, however, would ask him, "Izzy, did you ask good questions today?" Rabi believed that his mother's approach to learning, stressing that ‘learning means asking good questions', is what made him want to become a scientist. Mr. Gray then continued on to stress that this is the great strength of the GLOBE program. "You are teaching your students science not by just reading books or memorizing facts. You are having them ask good questions about the earth and its ecosystems. In this way, you and the GLOBE program are developing the scientists and leaders of tomorrow."
Conference attendees and GLOBE Teachers also attended a Professional Development Workshop on Global POP, learning from Project Lead, Eldbjorg Heimstad, and additional science experts within the Global POP program, providing an opportunity to participate in the actual protocol involving the dissection of locally caught fish.
During the GLOBE European Board Meeting, Chair, Mr. Karl Torstein Hetland from Norway, announced that he was retiring. Elections were held to replace the Chair Position, as well as Vice-Chair, and one additional open position on the Board. The new Chair Person elected was Dr. Andy Tasker, Country Coordinator for GLOBE U.K. The new Vice-Chair Person elected was Mrs. Dana Votapkova, Country Coordinator for GLOBE Czech Republic. In addition, Ms. Birgit Rademacher, Country Coordinator for GLOBE Germany, was elected to serve as a new member of the GLOBE European Board. Board members remaining in their positions include Ms. Danielle De Staerke, Country Coordinator for GLOBE France; Mr. Jimmy Mangelsen, Country Coordinator for GLOBE Denmark; and Ms. Magda Machinko-Nagrabecka, Country Coordinator for GLOBE Poland.
Throughout the conference, all attendees enjoyed networking at wonderful restaurants and cultural experiences. The beauty and wonder of the city of Warsaw will remain in the hearts of all who attended. The GLOBE Program Office and GLOBE Europe sincerely appreciates the hard work and extraordinary talents of the leaders of GLOBE in Poland and the entire staff at UNEP/GRID Warsaw.
Conference documents, pictures and presentations are available on the GLOBE-Europe in Warsaw Web page. For more information on GLOBE in Europe, please see the GLOBE Europe Web site.
The next GLOBE Europe regional meeting will be held in Switzerland, in 2009, hosted by GLOBE Switzerland Country Coordinator, Mr. Hanspeter Meier.
11 June 2008