*Photo supplied
*Photo supplied

U.S. Consul General Bob Settje today announced the signing of a five-year agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Bermuda Ministry of Education and Economic Development to cooperate in scientific exploration through the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program.  Minister of Education and Economic Development Grant Gibbons signed the agreement of behalf of the Government of Bermuda. 

GLOBE is an international environmental science and education program that brings students, teachers, and scientists together to study the global environment.  Its aims are to increase student awareness throughout the world about the global environment, further scientific understanding of the earth, and support improved student achievement in science and mathematics.  To that end, GLOBE has created an international network of primary, middle, and secondary school students who study environmental issues, take environmental measurements, and share environmental data with one another and the international science community. 

Consul General Settje explained, “The decision to implement GLOBE in Bermuda came about as part of the March 2012 NASA-Bermuda agreement to establish a temporary space flight mobile tracking station at Cooper’s Island.  Under that agreement, NASA agreed to develop an education plan in collaboration with the Bermuda Government.  Participation in the GLOBE Program is one of the results.  The Consulate is pleased to see that Bermuda is taking advantage of the GLOBE Program to inspire and encourage student and teacher interest in science and the environment.”

In addition to providing training for those who will administer and teach GLOBE in Bermuda, the program will design, develop, operate, and maintain GLOBE data processing capabilities and other necessary technology and equipment and provide GLOBE software, as necessary, for use on Bermuda’s GLOBE school computers.  NASA will receive environmental data from GLOBE schools around the world, including from Bermuda, and will develop and provide resultant global environmental images to the Ministry of Education and Economic Development.

Statement by Minister of Education and Economic Development Dr. Grant Gibbons

Mr. Speaker,

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with the US Consul General, Mr. Robert Settje to sign the NASA GLOBE Agreement.  The agreement represents a joint effort between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the US Government, and the Ministry of Education and Economic Development.

Mr. Speaker,

The purpose of the agreement is to introduce a programme to the Bermuda public school system that will:

Increase awareness of our students about the global environment;

Contribute to increased scientific understanding of the Earth; and

Support improved student achievement in science and mathematics.

Mr. Speaker,

The GLOBE Programme began on Earth Day, 1985.  GLOBE stands for Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, and according to the programme, is a “world-wide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science education programme. GLOBE’s vision promotes and supports students, teachers and scientists to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth system.”  This occurs with NASA and other US federal agencies that support science research and innovation.

Prior to Bermuda’s signing of the agreement, the rate of participation was at 112 countries, and there are over 66,000 GLOBE-trained teachers representing more than 24,000 schools around the world. To date over 10 million students have taken over 100 million measurements which are now part of the GLOBE data base.

Mr. Speaker,

The GLOBE programme has benefits for both teachers and students.  Teachers will participate in world-class professional development provided by NASA, and will receive continuing support by the GLOBE Help Desk.  They will also be in contact with scientists, teachers and students from the GLOBE Partner Network, which includes other participating countries, schools and universities. Other signatories to the GLOBE Agreement include: Australia, the Bahamas, Cameroon,
Canada, China, India, Germany, and of course the United States.

Under the guidance of NASA and our teachers, an inquiry-based approach to practical and real science will be used. Our students will ask questions and make observations about the environment, design investigations and take environmental measurements in their own local environment.  They will use GLOBE measurement protocols, take measurements, report their observations, use tools on the GLOBE website, analyse data and present and publish the results of their analyses. They will also get to work with other GLOBE scientists and students from around the world.

Mr. Speaker,

Following the signing of the GLOBE Agreement, the programme will be rolled out in the coming school year in selected primary and middle schools, with a view to expanding the programme to more and more schools over time. In all cases, at schools and the Department, existing staff will be used to implement and support the GLOBE programme.

The GLOBE programme complements the inquiry-based approach of our Cambridge science curriculum.  It will help provide a significant resource to teachers, and give students the opportunity to be part of the larger science community, and to participate, explore, and better understand the world of science in their own local environment. 

Before closing, and on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, I would like to extend a special thanks to the US Government, the US Consul General, Mr. Settje and Ms. Astrid Black of the US Consulate for this great opportunity for local public school students and teachers.

Thank you Mr. Speaker