In 2018, ATTO junior researchers in Brasil initiated an education project with the local communities near ATTO.
These communities of Bela Vista, Maracarana and Macacaboia are located along the Uatuma river, partially within the USD reserve. They are small communities that live partially self-sufficient and without much access to central services such as electric power, water, sewage and waste disposal.
Because of the proximity of the communities to ATTO, we have been in contact with them since the project first started. Members of the communities are often helping out at the site, for example as tree climbers. When one of them once asked what it was exactly that we are doing in their “backyard”, and what we keep bringing in and out of the forest in these large metal boxes, we realized that we needed to engage more with them and start a collaboration. We knew that this could be beneficial to all of us.
We took the first steps in this effort in 2018, and have since established a fruitful exchange with them. Our focus is on two things:
- supporting the local schools in their science education, including giving insights into our ATTO research
- supporting environmental awareness
The gymkhana happened in December. In this game competition, the students had to collect the largest number of used batteries and exchange for tickets to later receive a gift (toy, book, notebook, …). All of the presents were donated by the ATTO project to the schools (toys and school supplies). The activity was carried out in two schools, and a total of 475 used batteries were collected and recycled.
Also in December we delivered more scales to continue with the water level monitoring of the Uatumã river. With the intense dry season, the water level went lower than ever registered, so we needed to manufacture more scales to deliver to the schools that were responsible for the installation and monitoring. Also, a new notebook with simple installation and monitoring instructions, including the parameters water level, meteorological parameters, tree diameter) was printed and delivered to each school for the continuous monitoring.
Franciele Oliveira and Gildo Feitoza gave a lecture and a practical class on tree measurements (dendrology), about forest inventory. The students were split into groups to measure some trees and manufacture the bands. Apart from the explanation they were also making and fixing bands on different tree species near each school.
This activity is planned to be continued, to update the instructions on how to use a caliper, and how to execute a frequent measurement on the bands that were installed.
Also in November, Ranyelli Figueiredo went to one school to explain about the weather station, what is it measuring, names and position of the instruments, and the meaning of the meteorological parameters.
The activity was the Carbon Cycle Game, with Ingrid Chanca teaching concepts about the carbon cycle. The idea and dynamics were suggested by Jordi Vila. Ingrid explained what a molecule is, and how the carbon moves in the environment. For a better understanding, the students were invited to form three groups to represent the carbon molecules in the different environments (Natural/Biosphere, Urban and Ocean), separated by color. After the game they discussed the place where most of the molecules stayed.
This month’s activity took place in the three schools, where Carla Webber and Hellen Fernanda gave a talk on the theme: ‘Friends of the Soil – Our precious asset’, addressing the topic of soil composition, exemplifying each type of soil, properties, nutrition, fertilizers, what is used to ensure a plant’s health, organic fertilizers and composting. The activity was followed by an experiment in which the students were able to observe the different layers (litter cover, tree cover and bare soil).
The first activity of the month was given by Ranyelli Figueiredo, Denisi Hall and Isabella Diógenes, covering the mini Weather Station installed in the communities and meteorological parameters, explaining how sensors work and the importance of meteorological monitoring. They showed them in person details about the installation and the type of parameter each sensor measures.
The second activity of the month was carried out by Layon Demarchi and Kelvin Uchoa, giving a practical botany lesson on plant identification, characteristics and sampling procedures. It covered the process of collecting, making exsiccates and preserving plant specimens for identification and deposit in the herbarium. And the students could prepare their own samples.
Right after, a research activity was proposed to the students about the history of the community and curiosities about the site, to be used on the trail. The best text and drawing will be chosen to be placed on a sign along the trail.
In July, as two schools were closed for renovation, an activity was held in only one community, about the importance of atmospheric science in the Amazon, by Cybelli Barbosa. Through an oral explanation using geography concepts, dynamics in class, and a globe, they were told why this is a unique forest, how far it influence reaches. She also explained that, in order for research to be carried out, scientists use various tools to get a closer look of the atmosphere, its processes and connections. Then the students could use a magnifying glass to see small things.
In June, the work continued in the classroom about the correct separation and disposal of solid waste. Another explanation about the risk of batteries disposed at the river was done by the teachers.
Activities in schools in the Macacaboia, Bela Vista and Maracarana communities began in May with personal meetings with the teachers. This meeting was held in person in each community to assess teacher’s interest, demands and plan the activities.
Early December 2022
Amidst the Cloud Roots campaign and intensive radiosonde launch, some of us from the CloudRoots team had the opportunity to visit and participate in the ATTO Community Education project in the schools of the Uatumã communities.
Our group, composed of meteorologists, aimed to explain what meteorology studies, what the atmosphere is, basic concepts of temperature, humidity, pressure and wind, and how clouds form. Finally, we talked a little about the work that we were carrying out in the ATTO with the radiosondes. At the end of the lectures, we did some demonstrative experiments with cans, disposable cups and balloons to exemplify the performance of atmospheric pressure for the students.
On the first day, we gave two lectures to students from 5th to 9th grade in the Maracarana community. On the second day, we started the lectures in the Macacaboia community in the morning, and in the Bela Vista community in the afternoon.
Last weekend, we received a visit from teachers of the nearby schools, along with a team from the Secretary of Education of the municipality of Presidente Figueiredo at ATTO.
It was a very fruitful day where everyone had the chance to get to know the project facilities and ask questions about our research. They also had the chance to climb the tall tower to the first platform to enjoy the view above the canopy.
On this occasion, a cooperation agreement was signed with the Secretary of Education to continue the work started in the neighboring schools and possibly expand to other schools in the rural area.
Everyone was very impressed with the structure of the research and is looking forward to the next activities. It is worth mentioning that our staff has spared no effort to ensure a safe and successful visit for all visitors.
~ Cybelli ~
Late June 2022
Recently, the groups from KIT & MAUA participated in the community education project.
The team held four lectures between the 22nd and 23rd of June, two in the Macacaboia Community, one in the Bela Vista Community, and one in the Maracarana Community. During the lectures, we addressed the ATTO project in general and answered a lot of their questions. We then shared information with them about the relationship between forests, the atmosphere, the water cycle, and the carbon cycle. Finally, we presented of our new ATTO project, Hydrotraits. Our two doctoral students Hilana Hadlich and Caroline Mallmann participated in the lecture at the Maracarana school. In addition to the oral presentation, the students from Maracarana and Bela Vista carried out practical activities in the forest area, such as measuring the diameter and height of trees, collecting GPS points, and measuring the area.
Cybelli accompanied us in all the activities. She took the opportunity to deliver the river monitoring rulers to all schools and carried out practical activities with the students, teaching them how to read the rulers.
~ Flávia ~
Early June 2022
These days, we have continued our interaction with the communities. We have been at the Macacaboia community regarding the Uatumã water level measurements. The objective was to enable the installation of further level meters with the decreasing water level. The daily monitoring of the water level has taken place very responsibly after the installation of the first level meter a few weeks ago.
First, we gave a short interactive presentation at the school for all students about the importance and the background of these new measurements as well as the important role of everyone participating in this project. Then the whole group went to the measurement site at the river to discuss the upcoming installations in the drier season, which just started. The second level meter was successfully mounted a couple of days afterward when the water decreased by more than 50 cm. The topic of scales and measurements will be included in the mathematics class in the upcoming days. All participants are very motivated.
In Bela Vista, further installations are foreseen shortly. In Maracarana a further level meter installation has also already taken place when the river level had fallen a bit.
~ Stefan ~
Recently, we had the first meetings with the communities. Even with unforeseen circumstances and bad weather, we had a very fruitful exchange with the community members.
On the occasion, the MAUA-INPA group presented their research in progress, a proposal for natural trails, in addition to talking with the community about the impacts of the Balbina’s Hydroelectric Power Plant dam on the daily life of the community.
We also presented the project for monitoring the water level of the river, and made the material available to them.
During these meetings, we also noted the different priorities and needs of each community. Therefore, we plan to put together an action plan aligned with the interests of each school.
The most discussed topics were:
- Extreme flood levels affecting homes and plantations,
- Quality of water for general use,
- Scarcity of drinking water in schools,
- Interest in trails for educational, recreational and income generation purposes.
In addition to working on some actions focused on the demands of the communities, we also want to inform about the projects developed at ATTO, so all research groups that are interested are invited to a brief lecture at schools during the period of stay at ATTO.
~ Cybelli ~
Since last year we have been discussing the approach and how to proceed in a safe way to execute our projects in the communities. In a meeting with the Secretary of Education of Presidente Figueiredo, the teachers, and school coordinators, they selected the following topics of interest:
- Water quality
- River water level monitoring
- Solid residue disposal
- Meteorological monitoring
- Ecological trail
The water level monitoring of the Uatumã river, as part of the school project, was planned to start in 2020. But with the pandemic and lockdowns, everything was postponed.
As a start, we requested technical support from the local Superintendence of the National Hydro-meteorological Network (coordinated by ANA – National Water Agency) to install the limnimetric scales at the ATTO port. They approved it and installed the rulers this week following the national regulation.
The next step is to install the scales close to the schools, and we’re just waiting for an answer regarding the scholar calendar to confirm some talks, related to the topics above, at each school.
~ Cybelli ~
We want to share with you some news about an exciting project that developed over the last few weeks. Back in November, we had some very special visitors to our site. We had invited teachers from four nearby communities along the Uatumã River to ATTO. Representatives of the Secretary of Education of Presidente Figueiredo, the municipality to which these communities belong, joined them on this visit. This was a fantastic opportunity to get to know our neighbors in the forest better, to tell them about our research, and show them the observatory. Afterward, we discussed over lunch how we can best collaborate in the future.
One of the outcomes was to arrange for our team to engage the youth in those communities. So, over the last two weeks, some of our scientists visited these local schools and presented our research. Prior, most students and residents hadn’t known much about our work and were amazed by everything they saw and heard. Some teachers have already asked about the possibility of further developing this partnership. One such option is to create school projects with an environmental focus associated with our research at ATTO. Additionally, we had a visit from the coordinator of the Sustainable Development Reserve Uatumã. He was impressed with the project and would like to expand the interaction with the other schools in the reserve.
We are very excited about this development. And we hope these visits will not only serve as a way to inform the whole community about our work but also spark curiosity for science among the children.