News - Europe and Eurasia
My Journey with GLOBE
What I am doing this year, is something a bit different. At the time of writing, I am in Slovenia, one-third into my year-long sabbatical trip through Europe. I am a biology teacher at the International School of The Hague (NL), and together with my partner (geography teacher), we have been on the road since August 2022 in our little hybrid car.
Our mission is to look at inspirational examples of teaching for sustainability, which we can bring back and implement in our school. Something, we feel, that is essential in the education of our future generations in the face of global climate change. As a part of this journey, I am meeting up with my peers at GLOBE schools and the country coordinators wherever possible in the countries we visit. I want to draw inspiration and learn from them about how I can implement and firmly re-establish the GLOBE program in my school when I return next year.
I was blissfully unaware of the existence of GLOBE when I joined the school in 2017. It turned out that my school joined the GLOBE program already in 2013, but it has been lying dormant since 2016. Teachers involved in the program either left or changed position, not finding replacements or time to keep it going. I was only introduced to the GLOBE program in 2021 when a teacher in our school forwarded a GLOBE newsletter to me mentioning the European Phenology Campaign.
I have a background in academic research looking at climate change impacts on forested landscapes in the UK and Australia. Consequently, this campaign instantly resonated with me, and I decided to sign up. Shortly after, the former GLOBE coordinator in our school asked me in the corridors if I would be interested in taking over her role. She suggested that I might have a closer look at the entire program and perhaps join one of the coordinator meetings that are regularly scheduled by GLOBE Nederland. I did, and it all went from there!
I embarked on the greening down campaign with my final year biology students and trialled the GrowApp with them. In the stressful time of preparing for the exams, the students really enjoyed the opportunity to be outside and monitor their specific trees. My former biology students have frequently mentioned that learning outdoors was one of the more memorable and inspiring aspects of biology. As a biology teacher, I have noticed a growing disconnect and respect in my students for the natural world around them. I feel that taking students outside as much as possible, and having them interact with the natural environment, is essential to turn this trend around.
The phenology campaign gave me an excellent opportunity to do just this, also providing me with a chance to revise the ecology-related content with my students outside the classroom. The power of the phenology campaign lies in the fact that I could clearly link it with the (exam) curriculum content. I believe that this is an essential criterion for a teacher to use GLOBE in class. I am, however, lucky that my school also provides me with time to organise GLOBE as an extra-curricular activity. But how to do this effectively in my school? That is what I am trying to find out this year!
My journey continues until June 2023, when I am still to visit Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Belgium. I believe we can learn from each other by sharing our experiences, so I would really like to hear from you if you are willing to meet with me to discuss how GLOBE fits in your school. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
The article was written by: Niels Brouwers, IB Biology teacher, International School of The Hague, The Netherlands
Picture 1: Niels Brouwers
Picture 2: During one of my school visits, I (Niels Brouwers) am observing and discussing how students are taking greening down measurements of a linden tree (Tilia cordata) at Primary School 'Venclja Perka', Slovenia.
Picture 3: Student recording data of greening down measurements of a birch tree (Betula pendula) at Primary School 'Venclja Perka', Slovenia.
Picture 4: Student entering rainfall data in the GLOBE database at Primary School 'Venclja Perka', Slovenia.
Picture 5: Students at Primary School 'Venclja Perka', Slovenia, taking rainfall measurements.
Picture 6: The GLOBE country coordinator of Slovenia discussing how students are taking water quality measurements of their local river next to Domžale secondary school, Slovenia.
Picture 7: Student taking a water sample from the local river next to Domžale secondary school, Slovenia.
News origin: Europe and Eurasia