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Bhutan teachers to exchange ideas on environment at Mt. Abe

BRISTOL — Two Mount Abraham Union High School teachers have been working with two teachers from a school in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan to develop a new website dedicated to youth environmental and cultural exchange.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week the Tshering Pelden and Karma Phuntsho from Sherubling Higher Secondary School in Trongsa, Bhutan, will visit Mount Abe to spread the word about the exchange, called “Project 25,” along with their Mount Abe partners, social studies teacher Thomas Learmonth and global studies and psychology teacher Anne Friedrichs.
The Project 25 website, http://project25.ywpvt.net, is not ready for public exploration yet. Rather, it is in the initial stages of a three-year effort to bring substantive use to the site.
Green Across The World (a Shoreham-based organization formerly known as Green Across the Pacific) has been developing this site with Young Writers Project and collaborating schools to support an International Virtual Learning Network for Youth Environmental & Cultural Exchange. The effort, which is getting financial support from the Bay and Paul Foundations, began with a conference at the University of Vermont in November of 2014 to gather and coalesce initial partners.
After the Mount Abe visit, on Wednesday through Friday, Pelden and Phuntsho will take part in GATW’s second conference at UVM to work out technical challenges and determine how to adjust the original platform designed for Project 25 by Young Writer’s Project. Educators, students and others from Senegal, Thailand, Vermont, Nova Scotia, Puerto Rico, Kenya and Peru will converge at UVM along with the teachers from Bhutan. Most will participate on site, others virtually.
The goal of this virtual learning system is two fold, explained GATW President and Executive Director Peter Lynch.
“First, we want to facilitate grade six to 12 students to conduct applied studies of environmental and natural resource issues,” he said, in a press release. “Secondly, we recognize learning and studying together must include opportunities to deepen student understanding of other cultures, customs, and languages.”
In 2016 GATW will hold a third conference with an overseas partner to develop and strengthen the substantive use of the website by teachers and students.
Green Across the World “is really one such organization which brings future generations together through various means of exchange either through virtual or physical exchange.” Bhutanese teacher Phuntsho said.

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