GLE 2000 - Arkansas USA

Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA - 25 - 28 June 2000

Putting Faces with Places - a GLOBE Learning Expedition

The GLOBE infrastructure provides a number of opportunities for GLOBE students to communicate and ultimately make friends - through GLOBEMail, School Collaboration projects, GLOBE Games, GLOBE Learning Expeditions and conferences. One such opportunity was available this summer at the International GLOBE Student/Teacher Conference at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville from June 25 to 28, 2000 - otherwise known as "Putting Faces With Places."

The gathering included about 100 students, educators, scientists, U.S. GLOBE Partner Coordinators and GLOBE Staff from Finland, Israel, Spain, and the United States (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia). The differences in ages, languages, and cultures didn't matter because GLOBE is what Partnership Coordinator Lynne Hehr of the University of Arkansas calls a "binding force."

"The barriers were down," Ms. Hehr said. GLOBE was the commonality. "We had local fifth-grade students who are Hispanic translating Spanish for us. We had people of all ages and cultures working together for the betterment of Earth and making friends in the process."

Percy Shmuel, an Israeli participant, echoed those sentiments, noting that nations worldwide can be united around environmental issues. Added Gloria Edwards from Charleston, Arkansas: "This has been a terrific opportunity to make connections between schools. My students will be motivated to make use of GLOBE data to do research. Our local motto, 'Access the Future Through GLOBE,' will more likely become a reality."

Student papers played a starring role. "The science papers presented by the students included wonderful examples of inquiry-style student research," said Dr. Dixon Butler, GLOBE Chief Scientist.

Participants helped GLOBE scientists from the University of Arizona test some proposed protocols and

braved pouring rain to complete their assignments within the GLOBE Games. After the conference, most participants climbed into canoes to float down seven miles of the Buffalo River in the Ozark Mountains, taking in the green canopy, purple Michaelmas daisies (Aster novi-belgii), and the brilliant scarlet of Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea).

U.S. Partner Coordinators from other partnerships also helped with the conference logistics, including the University of Idaho in Moscow, the University of South Carolina at Aiken, and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Everyone now has faces attached to places from GLOBE's map and they left with fond remembrances," Ms. Hehr said. "And this is GLOBE after all - before leaving, several participants were already talking about keeping in touch by working together on research projects."