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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

22 April 1999

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES GO GLOBAL AT FOOTSCRAY CITY SECONDARY COLLEGE


Students from Footscray City Secondary College are mapping local water and atmospheric conditions as part of an international effort to improve environmental knowledge about the planet, Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, said today.

Mrs Stone said 22 April marked Earth Day, the 4th anniversary of the GLOBE program, an environmental education project, supported by the Federal Government, that is aimed at enhancing young people's awareness of environmental and conservation issues.

40 accelerated learning students from years 8 and 9 take part in the GLOBE program at Footscray College. To date, student experiments have focused on meteorological and water testing, because of soil sampling problems identified in the area.

"It is fantastic that students can participate in practical environmental studies right in the heart of a highly industrialised area of Melbourne," Sharman Stone said.

GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) is an interactive environmental science education partnership between the scientific community, teachers and school students.

"GLOBE works so well because it is a real partnership. Students undertake 'hands-on' scientific activities which are then analysed and used by international scientists to contribute to a global understanding of the environment," Sharman Stone said.

"Footscray students are even planning a trip to the USA later this year to meet with NASA scientists involved in the GLOBE program."

As part of the GLOBE program students collect scientific data about the atmosphere, climate, water, the landscape, flora and fauna. Students then report their findings on the Internet using standard GLOBE data protocols. In turn, these findings are used by scientists and other students around the world to help develop a better understanding of the earth's environment.

To help students identify geographic sites to undertake measurement activities they are provided with sophisticated satellite images of the Footscray area.

"GLOBE gives students a unique chance to develop practical scientific skills while learning about the types of environmental challenges we face on a local and global level," Sharman Stone said.

The types of testing undertaken by students include measuring salinity, water quality, nitrate and PH levels, cloud cover assessment, monitoring rain gauges and air temperatures and mapping land and canopy cover.

The Howard Government supports GLOBE in Australia by providing funding and resources through Environment Australia, the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs and the CSIRO.

200 hundred schools around Australia and 5,900 schools from 71 countries around the world are currently participating in the GLOBE program.

GLOBE activities vary according to students' age, and programs are available for primary and secondary schools.

"Footscray City Secondary College prove that any school any where can get involved in practical environmental studies. I encourage all schools throughout Melbourne and Victoria to get involved in this innovative environmental education project," Sharman Stone said.

Further information about the GLOBE program, including information on how to participate, is available on the Internet at http://ee.environment.gov.au/globe/.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415

Commonwealth of Australia