Bratislava, April 22nd, 2020 – Slovakia has officially become a member of GLOBE, the prestigious international scientific and educational program led by NASA. The U.S. Embassy to the Slovak Republic is pleased to highlight the cooperation between the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic and NASA on the 50th anniversary of International Earth Day, which is celebrated every year on April 22nd.
Thanks to the Slovak government’s participation, Slovak schools can now use various educational materials, perform various measurements and conduct practical experiments. They can then share the results of their measurements through the GLOBE Observer application, allowing them to be further processed by NASA scientists. They can also take part in meetings with participatory states, establish contacts and inspire each other in environmental activities. The collection and sharing of data is also available to the general public.
“To protect our planet, we need to work together. Through NASA’s GLOBE program, every Slovak student, teacher, or aspiring scientist can join the international environmental science community. Even in these challenging times, you can join with experts and activists across the globe to participate in the scientific process and help protect our common home for generations to come,” said Ambassador Bridget Brink.
GLOBE brings together students, teachers and scientists to explore the environment at a global level. It creates an international network of primary and secondary school students who study the environment, measure the quality of the environment, and exchange useful information about the state of the environment with the international scientific community.
“In order to improve our environment, we need our children to understand nature and to protect it. Through GLOBE, students develop their research competencies, strengthen their relationship with their surroundings and natural sciences. Therefore, I believe that as many schools as possible will want to participate in the program,” stated the Minister of the Environment, Ján Budaj.
“I would like to congratulate Slovakia, which has become the youngest member of the GLOBE family. There is no better opportunity than the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the 25th anniversary of the GLOBE program, to welcome the 123rd member state. I look forward to working with young scientists,” said Peter Falcon, program coordinator at NASA.
Schools interested in participating in the program can contact the Daphne Institute of Applied Ecology (Inštitút aplikovanej ekológie Daphne). They will provide schools with more information and guide them on how to proceed further. The Daphne Institute of Applied Ecology is a member organization of the Špirála network of environmental and educational organizations, which is the main coordinator of the GLOBE project in Slovakia. Daphne was commissioned to implement the program.
Aside from Earth Day, the Ministry, together with the U.S. Embassy, calls for participants to collect data on trees through the Globe Observer mobile application. Tree height is an indicator of ecosystem and environmental health, as trees help regulate temperature and CO2 levels. Near rivers, especially in dry areas, the height of the tree is particularly important, because their shade can affect the water temperature. The tree height measurements inform NASA’s scientists about biomass and the structural diversity of trees. NASA is currently collecting tree height data via ICESat-2 satellites and directly comparing them with measurements obtained via GLOBE. Thanks to citizen measurements using the Globe Observer application and NASA satellite data from ICESat-2 and GEDI, scientists can create a comprehensive database that can help them understand the complexity of the planet’s changes, even with data as simple as the height of trees.
The GLOBE International Science and Education Program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Together with Slovakia, the program connects 123 participating states from all over the world. Since 1995, the data collected from countries exceeds more than 178 million measurements from over 10 million students and 169,000 people. In participating countries, the GLOBE program has become an important part of the curriculum of environmental subjects.
Ambassador Bridget Brink Meets with Slovak Environment Minister Jan Budaj
“What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day than to meet Environment Minister Jan Budaj and celebrate Slovakia joining NASA’s GLOBE program on environmental education. GLOBE’s innovative and interactive methods of learning about the nature around us are more important than ever.” – Ambassador Bridget Brink