Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services
GLOBE TRAVELS TO ANTARCTICA
--Leading Science Education Initiative Also Renamed to Recognize Con Edison’s Support--
FLUSHING, N.Y., September 18, 2008—Students from kindergarten through high school will not have to travel far to learn first-hand about climate change in the coldest place on earth thanks to a research weather station that will be set up this fall on one of Antarctica’s active ice shelves. The environmental data-monitoring station is part of a science education initiative called the Con Edison/Queens College GLOBE-NY METRO program, which was just renamed to recognize the utility’s continued support. As a result of Con Edison’s long-standing commitment to GLOBE, the college has trained more than 1,700 teachers and staff from over 600 New York schools, agencies and community environmental groups.
“Con Edison has been a strong partner since 2001 when the college first became involved with GLOBE in New York,” says QC President James Muyskens. “In those seven years, the program has grown in size and scope, paving the way for future science education initiatives such as the Antarctica research weather station.”
Con Edison has received environmental accolades from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project for significantly reducing its carbon emissions and promoting corporate ‘climate governance’ policy. “Con Edison is committed to promoting energy efficiency and carbon policy awareness among all New Yorkers,” said Frances A. Resheske, Con Edison’s senior vice president for Public Affairs. “This Queens College program charts a great course for how tomorrow’s leaders will be better positioned to lead an enlightened public policy.”
The meteorological station will be brought to Antarctica as part of a National Science Foundation-funded expedition led by Stephen Pekar, a professor in Queens College’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, who will be accompanied by three of his students and a science teacher from a Harlem middle school. The expedition will study sediment deposited in Antarctica during the Cretaceous Greenhouse World period when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were similar to what is predicted for the end of this century. Each day the station will monitor and feed data on air and ice temperature, relative humidity, cloud cover and other research into the international GLOBE databank for use by students, teachers and scientists.
Among GLOBE’s many other successful initiatives was the opening three years ago of the GLOBE School for Environmental Research in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The innovative middle school was the first institution of its kind in the world to base an entire curriculum on GLOBE principles.
GLOBE emphasizes hands-on, age-appropriate activities that can be integrated into daily classroom work at any academic level. Each school in the program receives research equipment and instruction in its use on-site. Participants turn their campuses into open-air labs where they monitor specific environmental conditions in five categories: air, soil, water, land use/land cover and seasonal change. Then students enter their findings into an international GLOBE database, which can be accessed by scientists around the world. To date, student researchers have submitted more than 14,000,000 pieces of information.
“Students aren’t just learning chemistry, physics or biology,” says Allan Ludman, GLOBE-NY Metro director and a professor in Queens College’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. “They’re learning about the natural world in a way that makes science understandable. At the same time, they are developing observational abilities, math skills, general literacy and a sense of inquiry, research and the investigative process – an integrated approach that can be applied to any academic subject.”
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 115 undergraduate and graduate majors and a variety of specialized honors programs. Its more than 18,000 students come from over 140 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment.
Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College is highly rated by leading guidebooks—for example, it was named one of the nation's 25 "hottest" and "most interesting" colleges by the 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek How to Get Into College guide and is consistently included in the Princeton Review America's Best Value Colleges. In addition, the 2008 U.S News America's Best Colleges lists QC #12 in the category of "Top Public Universities-Master's, North."
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $13 billion in annual revenues and $30 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York. For additional financial, operations and customer service information, visit Con Edison’s Web site at www.conEd.com.