School competition 'Earth Guardians 2.0': ideas to safeguard the environment

'Earth, not plastic – breakfast without waste', 'We are saving our school pond', 'Fabric bags, not plastic' and '10,000 dominoes for an African rainforest' – these and other projects were conceived by primary school children for the school competition 'Earth Guardians' in 2014. Acting on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPO), the DLR Space Administration is once again organising an ideas competition for Alexander Gerst’s second ISS mission – 'Earth Guardians 2.0'. This time, the question put to secondary school students is: "What can we do to protect habitats and preserve the diversity of species?"

The competition aims to motivate students to become scientists themselves. School classes are asked to select and research one of four habitats (towns and villages, forests, fields and meadows or water) and to design a project for the protection of the environment. Alexander Gerst will take part in the competition as an 'Ambassador from Space', sending video messages to participants during his mission and communicating important information on the various habitats. Birds are at home in all of these settings and will be placed at the centre of the competition, as they are an important indicator of the state of the environment and biodiversity.

It is important that the students develop their own ideas and consider how they can be put into practice in everyday situations. Here, the birds' eye view and the ICARUS initiative will provide invaluable assistance. ICARUS (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space) is a project of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, which has developed a space antenna used for the virtual observation of birds that have been fitted with miniaturised radio transponders. Birds are found in almost all habitats, which means that they can provide important information about the condition of the environment. The ICARUS data can be analysed using the Animal Tracker app. Combined with satellite images, habitats can be explored in greater detail and from a variety of perspectives.

School classes and their teachers (including research and project groups) that are completing the 9th or 10th grade in school year 2018/2019 (age 14 – 15) are eligible to take part. A winning class will be selected for each type of habitat. These four classes will meet Alexander Gerst in spring 2019 in Berlin. One of the winning classes will be chosen as the overall winner and invited to attend a summer camp at the MaxCine centre for communication and exchange.

Applications can be submitted from now until 10 July 2018. Go to registration. https://beschuetzer-der-erde.de/

Related Links


Elke Heinemann

Digital Communications
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-1852

Volker Schmid

ISS Specialist Group Leader, Head of the Cosmic Kiss Mission
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Space Agency at DLR
Science and Exploration
Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn

Martin Fleischmann

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Space Agency at DLR
Communications & Media Relations
Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn
Tel: +49 228 447-120