Malta and the US are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations. The strong bilateral relationship is this year epitomised by the US partnership with the ministry for education, sport, youth, research and innovation through educational exchange programmes. One source of celebration is the collaboration in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) programme. 

GLOBE is an international science and education programme, supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Department of State and other US entities, that allows students and the public worldwide to contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the global environment through scientific data collection. 

GLOBE is dedicated to supplying the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals of tomorrow with the knowledge necessary to better understand, sustain and improve Earth’s environment.

In 2007, NASA and Malta’s education ministry signed a memorandum of understanding to promote cooperation in GLOBE and establish GLOBE Malta as the local iteration of this prestigious international programme.

Celebrating GLOBE Malta’s achievements with representatives of the education ministry and other partners.Celebrating GLOBE Malta’s achievements with representatives of the education ministry and other partners.

During the past years, GLOBE has grown exponentially in Malta, advancing scientific understanding of Earth, commitment to environmental stewardship and increased achievements in STEM subjects and careers in local schools and among citizen scientists. 

Through a hands-on approach to inquiry, students engage in local investigations using the GLOBE Observer App and submit their findings to the GLOBE data and information system, which can be accessed freely online on GLOBE’s international database ( These measurements are combined with readings at automated stations to create a worldwide resource for conducting scientific inquiry, and some measurements serve as ground truth for NASA satellite data products (for example, clouds and soil moisture). 

A GLOBE Malta student measuring the soil temperature.A GLOBE Malta student measuring the soil temperature.

Through the GLOBE Observer mobile app, participants can measure and submit observations of clouds, mosquito habitats, ground temperature and trees, among other things. 

The US Embassy is grateful to its many partners, especially GLOBE coordinator professor Paul Pace, who, from its inception, have nurtured GLOBE Malta and made it into one of the most popular student environmental research programmes. 

Many Maltese and Gozitan schools are contributing valid research data to GLOBE’s worldwide database. With 54 schools and hundreds of students, ranging from primary to post-secondary level, participating, GLOBE Malta has significantly increased student engagement, especially of girls, in scientific and environmental experiments and generated so much interest in parents and other adults that many have since joined GLOBE as citizen scientists.

GLOBE Malta schools recognised for their contribution to the LEAF Programme.GLOBE Malta schools recognised for their contribution to the LEAF Programme.

It is a delight to see how passionately young students embrace GLOBE and to witness their concern about the ecological challenges we face today. 

Heartfelt congratulations are due to Ramona Mercieca, deputy coordinator of GLOBE Malta, whose tireless efforts to engage students in GLOBE’s programmes were recognised by international GLOBE leaders, who appointed her as an international GLOBE trainer mentor. 

Recognition of GLOBE Malta’s achievements also came in 2024 through the National STEM Awards, hosted by the National STEM Engagement Working Group and Esplora. Pace and Mercieca received the prestigious STEM Community Project Award for the GLOBE Malta Europe Direct Gozo Air Quality Campaign. 

Paul Pace and Ramona Mercieca, on behalf of GLOBE Malta, holding the STEM Community Project Award.Paul Pace and Ramona Mercieca, on behalf of GLOBE Malta, holding the STEM Community Project Award.

As part of the US Embassy’s commitment to environmental stewardship, US Embassy officials joined several GLOBE schools in Gozo to recognise students and teachers who participated in the Learning about Ecosystems and Forests (LEAF) awards programme through their contributions to GLOBE’s database by measuring the height of trees and observing cloud formations. 

The students engaged in local atmospheric and environmental investigations using the GLOBE Observer App, submitted their findings to the GLOBE data and information system, contributing important scientific data to GLOBE’s international database. 

GLOBE Malta participated in an international campaign ‘Save our Seas by Reducing your Plastics’, to investigate the impact of plastic waste on the seas, focusing specifically on Xwejni Bay, in Marsalforn.

GLOBE Malta also collected data from Ramla Bay, to investigate the conditions that draw loggerhead turtles to come ashore to lay their eggs. The data they submitted on the GLOBE database merged with other international data to provide important information on the deadly impact of plastic waste and the conditions that are conducive to healthy marine life. 

<em>Charges d'Affaires</em> Ken Toko planting a tree in Gozo as part of the US Embassy&rsquo;s commitment to environmental stewardshipCharges d'Affaires Ken Toko planting a tree in Gozo as part of the US Embassy’s commitment to environmental stewardship

Last week, education ministry officials and other partners were invited to the US Embassy to celebrate GLOBE Malta’s achievements. US chargé d’affaires Ken Toko thanked the numerous partners, including teachers and students, for their enthusiastic support of and commitment to GLOBE Malta. 

During the event, students who were selected as GLOBE Vloggers, shared their vlog-style videos to showcase their scientific experiments. These videos were posted to GLOBE’s primary YouTube channel and were presented at various GLOBE events and on the programme’s social media platforms.

Chargé Toko presented certificates of appreciation to the teachers, who have incorporated GLOBE into their daily lesson plans, and to the students who have demonstrated such commendable activism to safeguard the environment. 

The public is invited to join in the achievements of GLOBE Malta and its successes in promoting environmental stewardship and scientific research.

This article was provided by the US Embassy Malta.

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