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Open Day

Open Day - 50 Years

Fifty years of research and training – a record of which Gobabeb is indeed proud. Open Day, held on September 22, provided the opportunity for the Centre to present itself to its fellow Namibians – and a few international visitors as well – 300 people in all. The Open Day celebration highlighted our environment and its wonderful comparative research and training opportunities. But, it doesn’t stop there – the 50-years celebration continues. We look forward to our next 50 years and hope you will all be there to enjoy the celebration.

 

Fifty years of research and training – a record of which the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre is indeed proud. Throughout 2012, a variety of events celebrated this incredible achievement – something unusual for a self-funded research and training institution. Throughout the lifetime of Gobabeb, the organisational structure and support changed and for the past 14 years, it has existed as a Joint Venture between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia.

Meanwhile, throughout its fiftieth year - 2012, the Gobabeb Centre has had many reasons to celebrate. Starting in January, a group of tertiary students from throughout SADC spent two days at Gobabeb as part of their Habitable Planet experience. Soon thereafter, the Information Weekend culminating the Summer Land Care Programme reported back to friends and stakeholders alike. For the next five months of the year, the Gobabeb Training and Research InternProject worked with students from Polytechnic and the University of Namibia on an environmental restoration project. While GTRIP was going on, the Royal Society of Southern African held its Colloquium at Gobabeb with participants from as far away as NASA research laboratories in California. Soon thereafter the Southern African Association of Geomorphologists and the Southern African Quaternary Association held their symposia at Gobabeb. The cherry on the top of a year of extended celebration was Open Day.

“Open Day provided the opportunity for the Gobabeb Centre to present itself to its fellow Namibians – and a few international visitors as well – 300 people in all. What research do we do? What training do we do? These key components were complemented by the opportunity to highlight our environment and its wonderful comparative research and training opportunities. A Solar Coffee Shop, a Volleyball Competition, wonderful meals, an information competition with prizes – all contributed to the fun time people enjoyed.

Upon entering the gate, the first display eager visitors found was one manned by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, one of our partner institutions, focused on meteorology and climate. They also encompassed the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) and the Max Planck Institute’s tall tower measuring thevariability of important atmospheric biogeochemical trace gases. This is high-level international science! Then displays, posters, demonstrations morphed into those from the Summer Development Programme, the four MSc students working with Gobabeb, desert animals from the dunes, river and plains, the training programmes and the library.

A sundowner with drumming on the dunes, a fabulous dinner, and introduction of the new Executive Director of Gobabeb: Dr Gillian Maggs-Kolling, awarding of the prizes all brought the Open Day to a spectacular end.

But, it doesn’t stop there – the 50-years celebration continues. Many visiting scientists, an education group from Dartmouth University, the Summer Development Programme starts in December and later in December two groups of international students with professors arrive for the holiday period. We look forward to our next 50 years and hope you will all be there to enjoy the celebration.

By Viv Ward

 

 

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