team takes the helm on 1 October
by Bob Henson
UCAR and Colorado State University have teamed up to manage the landmark
science-education program called GLOBE. Starting 1 October, UCAR and
CSU will assume primary responsibility for developing and overseeing
Launched by thenVice President Al Gore in 1994, GLOBE enlists
teachers and students from over 12,000 primary and secondary schools
in 48 states and 102 countries. Participants take regular observations
of weather and other variables. As they collect data and post them on
the Internet, the students learn about science and the environment.
Their reports eventually provide a unique data set on the local atmosphere,
hydrology, soils, and land cover.
UCAR members of the GLOBE team include (clockwise from lower left)
Jack Fellows (UCAR vice president for corporate affairs), Paula Robinson
(UCAR Joint Office for Science Support) and Sandra Henderson (UCAR
Education and Outreach), and Peggy LeMone (NCAR Mesoscale and Microscale
Meteorology Division). (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)
GLOBE began as a multiagency effort based largely in NOAA. Over the
years, NASAs share of funding increased, and when NOAAs
support was cut from its budget in fiscal year 2002, NASA picked up
the reins. Through a competition overseen by NASA, the UCAR-CSU management
team was chosen this spring for a renewable five-year term. NASA
looks forward to working with UCAR to grow and strengthen the program,
said GLOBEs NASA program manager, Dixon Butler, in a recent interview.
We are very excited and honored to have been selected to help
guide GLOBEs future evolution and success, says Jack Fellows,
UCAR vice president for corporate affairs and the interim executive
director of GLOBE. We are firmly committed to the GLOBE mission
and to improving the program in all GLOBE countries, communities, and
Fellows was involved in the creation of GLOBE while working in the
White House in the early 1990s. A lot has happened since then,
he notes, and GLOBE has become an important component in global
math and science education reform. We will be encouraging all UCAR university
members and affiliates to participate in and contribute to the GLOBE
Both institutions on the new GLOBE team have been involved with the
program since its earliest days:
UCARs Joint Office for Science Support has arranged GLOBE
training and logistics.
Several GLOBE investigators have hailed from CSUs atmospheric
science department, including faculty members Graeme Stephens and Debra
CSUs Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere
(CIRA) handles data distribution and oversees the GLOBE Web site.
The new GLOBE team will also call on the skills of CSUs Center
for Science, Math, and Technology Education and UCARs Office of
Education and Outreach. According to Fellows, these two groups
bring an extensive history and expertise in teacher training, curriculum
development, equity and diversity, education standards, and distance
learning to the new partnership.
Transition activities began in mid-June and will unfold through the
summer. With a search now under way, GLOBE plans to hire a new executive
director and bring her or him on board by 1 October.
A chief scientists
While GLOBEs new managers are pondering new directions and ways
to enhance funding, they are intent on keeping what works well in the
programincluding its enthusiastic cadre of teachers and students.
Retention is going to be really important, says Margaret
(Peggy) LeMone. The NCAR senior scientist will be working quarter-time
as GLOBEs chief scientist. Rather than drumming up large numbers
of new participants, she says, the new team plans to focus on improving
support to those already entrained.
Likewise, the emphasis will be on working to strengthen existing protocols
for data gathering rather than generating new protocols. LeMone got
a first-hand look at how hydrologic data is collected when she sampled
a train-the-trainer workshop in June near Colorado Springs.
The protocols are pretty sophisticated, she says. As
a scientist, I was impressed.
Although she has been active in K-12 education efforts for many years,
LeMones only previous involvement with GLOBE was sitting on an
advisory committee when the program began. But her work in boundary-layer
processes and land-atmosphere exchange in Kansas convinced her of the
value of GLOBE-style data. One of the things thats really
critical is to know what the land cover is, she says. Satellite
imagery helps, but you really need ground verification.
GLOBE uses a modified version of a land-classification system developed
by the United Nations. Its tractable for kids, she says, and the
data can make a real difference.
The scientific journal articles [based on GLOBE data] are just
starting to come out. People might have hoped for a lot more a lot faster,
but publication is never instantaneous, and typically the more complex
the scientific endeavor, the longer it takes. LeMone stresses
the unique nature of GLOBE: Theres a certain amount of learning
involved to get things right. I think, with patience, we can get these
data used by more scientists.
A side benefit to having thousands of children taking millions of
readings is that the program serves as a mass beta test. On occasion,
GLOBE will go back to a manufacturer with recommendations for improving
an instrument, says LeMone. Some companies now tout certain instruments
as being GLOBE-certified.
Mindful of the programs somewhat politicized origin as a White
House initiative, GLOBEs managers past and present take special
care to focus on science-based goals. However, LeMone notes, the implicit
goal of making students more environmentally savvy is something that
transcends politics. We hope to help raise a generation of children
who are sufficiently aware of the environment to be aware of its fragility,
to be aware of our impact, and to act accordingly.
GLOBE headquarters can be reached at P.O. Box 3000, Boulder CO 80307-3000.
The new phone number is 303-497-2620. The general e-mail alias is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some members of the
new GLOBE team
|Jack Fellows (UCAR),
interim executive director
|Edward Geary (CSU),
|Margaret LeMone (NCAR),
|Karyn Sawyer (UCAR),
interim international program director
|David Brown (DHB Associates),
chief technologist and senior advisor
|Peggy Finarelli, Washington
|Cliff Matsumoto (CIRA),
|Paula Robinson (UCAR),
|Debra Krumm (CSU), science
|Sandra Henderson (UCAR),
education program manager