Portugal has been very active since the beginning of International Polar Year.
The Portuguese IPY launch was on the 28th February 2007 in Lisbon, at the Knowleddge Pavillion Ciencia Viva, a major science centre. This day had the presence of the Minister of Science Mariano Gago, the President of the Foundation of Science and Technology João Sentieiro and two international guest speakers from United States (Prof. James Brockheim, University of Wisconsin) and United Kingdom (Dr. Inigo Everson; Anglia Polytechnic University). Several talks took place in relation to the history of the IPY (from the president of IPY-Portugal Prof. Luis Mendes-Victor), to the science strategy of Portugal in IPY (by Dr. Jose Xavier) and the educational programme LATITUDE60! (by the Portuguese contact of IPY, Dr. Gonzalo Vieira), and the guest talks. At the end of the talks, children dressed as penguins, polar bears and other animals joined in. During this venue, an exhibition was held with an Antarctic field tent, experiments and food taken to the field. Interest from the media was quite big, including newspapers, TV and radio.
On the 1st March, Portugal was represented in Paris (at the IPY global launch) by Dr. Jose Xavier, member of the Portuguese committee for IPY. Jose attended the Global launch of the IPY in the morning and the launch of the International Action on Global Warming in the afternoon at the Palais de la Decouverte.
The following day a meeting of the Youth Steering Committee and the Education and Outreach sub-committee took place at the International Council for Science (ICSU) headquarters, also in Paris. There it was discussed how the various national educational programmes have been implemented. A presentation of the Portuguese educational programme LATITUDE60! was given, and it was well received. It was also discussed the work carried out by the Youth Steering Committee (YSC) website, the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) website and the international conference preparations. Representatives from art, education, media, museums, photo-journalism, and other active national committees were also present, which led to an excellent mixed discussion on polar issues related to education.
In Brussels (5-6 March), Dr. Gonzalo Vieira represented Portugal at the European commission Symposium on Polar Research: "Polar environment and climate: the challenges of European research in the contest of the International Polar Year".
During the first week of March, an advertising spot was on national TV promoting the IPY national contest, in which the first prizes are the participation in the Antarctic Students-on-ice expedition for two weeks (lectures will be given to students while they are on the cruise).
The following week (5-9 March 2007), polar scientists went back to school to give nearly 40 presentations in schools all over Portugal that are linked with the educational programme LATITUDE60! Presentations covered all schools levels, from 3 up to 18 year olds.
On the 16 March, an exhibition was launched in Lisbon titled "The polar regions and the environmental equilibrium of Earth". It focuses on the importance of the International Polar Year as a scientific and education programme to understand Earth systems, on the role of Portuguese polar science in this context and intends to stimulate the younger generations to research and arts. The exhibition will be in 5 major shopping centres during 2007.
Between the 21 March until 16 April, various talks were also given at the Azores Islands by polar scientists (covering 3 islands: Terceira, Pico and Faial) both in schools as at the University of the Azores (a MSc lecture on polar science and climate change given by Dr. Jose Xavier).
On the 20 April, the IV Paginarios - programme to promote reading in children organized by the Mayor of Albufeira (Algarve) - was related to the education in the polar regions, including the International Polar Year. Hundreds of children got dressed up in various costumes (penguins, polar bears, snow flakes, between others) that went into the streets, book prizes, theatre venues (given by children). On the final day, a lecture by the polar scientist Dr. Jose Xavier was given with the title "Icebergs, frozen land and penguins: the real reasons why Portugal is at the International Polar Year."
The Portuguese Committee for the International Polar Year is collaborating with various institutions to produce educational packages, including the Lisbon Oceanarium and Zoomarine water park (pamphlets are already available, posters and 3-D videos will be available soon).
Since 1st March 2007, more than 50 lectures were given in schools all over Portugal, several thousands of children are involved in our educational programme LATITUDE60! and nearly 400 teachers and students are associated with the e-learning platform (a website where forums and educational packages are available to schools).
Future work is focusing on producing a coin and stamps of the IPY-Portugal, complete the national contest to award the best work in arts, website, videos, scientific essay, polar writer and build an igloo continue producing educational packages (focusing on educational games) for school projects. Scientifically, the committee is working on the preparation of the Portuguese Polar Programme, an initiative that is starting during the IPY and which is probably the largest IPY achievement in Portugal.
Let the IPY continue...
Jose Xavier and Gonzalo Vieira
(Portuguese Committee for the International Polar Year)
Jose Xavier, Ph.D.
Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR)
University of Algarve
Faculty of Marine and Environmental Sciences (FCMA)
Campus de Gambelas
British Antarctic Survey
High Cross, Madingley Road
Further information can be found at the following websites:
INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEAR (PT)
INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEAR YOUTH
What is IPY
Friday, 11 May 2007 22:50
Portugal and the IPY: the first two months!Written by Lizzy Hawker
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