Jader Fontoura (foreground left), father of Rio Partners of the Americas member Leandro Fontoura (foreground right), passed away unexpectedly on 10 February 2016. Jader was a wonderful, kind host in welcoming Maryland-Rio Partners of the Americas members to his home in Buzios during the 50-year anniversary celebration of the Partnership in 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with Leandro and his family.
Maryland-Rio Teacher Exchange Program
November 29, 2015
Professoras Elizabeth Nunes (left) and Angela Colaco (right) of the Maryland Partners School in Nilopolis, Brazil.
Maryland-Rio Partners of the Americas helped to establish the Maryland Partners School in Nilopolis, Brazil, some 50 years ago. We have always hoped to implement a teacher exchange program between the school and schools in Maryland, USA, and finally made it happen. During October 31 – November 12, 2015, two teachers from the Maryland Partners School traveled to Maryland to visit several schools in the area. Professora Angela Colaco, a history teacher and vice principal, and Professora Elizabeth Nunes, an art teacher and curriculum coordinator, visited three schools in Maryland and one school in Washington, DC. They also learned about environmental education programs at the Howard County Conservancy and Robinson Nature Center.
The two teachers spent one day at North Harford High School in Pylesville, Maryland. North Harford is a magnet school for Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. Magnet schools are part of the public school system and operate under the same administration and school board. The unique quality of a magnet school is that it usually has a special curricular focus. Common themes include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), the arts, and vocational or career paths. Students still study a complete range of subjects. Magnet schools receive additional funding to enable them to spend more money on their students, supplies, teachers, and educational programs.
Teachers also spent a day at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Silver Spring, Maryland. Loiederman Middle School is an arts-focused magnet school in Montgomery County providing a unique opportunity for students to experience an accelerated core curriculum and specialized elective arts courses in a public school setting.
Angela and Elizabeth spent two days at Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore, Maryland. Patterson Park is a community school. The goals of the community school effort are to create improved outcomes for students, achieve greater family stability and involvement, improve attendance and school climate, and support a stronger surrounding community. As a Community School, Patterson Park creates a network of partnerships with other community resources that promote student achievement and family and community well-being.
The teachers’ schedule included one and a half days at E. W. Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Stokes is a language immersion elementary school for students in the District of Columbia. It teaches children to think, speak, read, write and learn in two languages: English and French or English and Spanish. With a dual focus on academic excellence and community service, the Stokes School accomplishes its mission by creating an environment of achievement, respect and non-violence.
Angela and Elizabeth spent one day focused on environmental education with the Howard County Conservancy and Robinson Nature Center, both of which work closely with Howard County Public Schools. Field programs at the Howard County Conservancy are geared to the lesson plans teachers are focusing on in the classroom. The day Angela and Elizabeth were there, students were learning about the properties and nature of soils from expert volunteers and staff of the Conservancy.
Over the weekend of November 7-8, Angela and Elizabeth toured museums in Washington, DC, and learned some early history and culture of Maryland by visiting Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater, Maryland.
For more information on the Maryland Partners School, please click on “What We Do” on this website. Also, there is a short video you can view by clicking on “Colegio Municipal Companheiros de Maryland” on the panel on the right side of this webpage.
Brazilian Graduate Student Studies in Maryland
Ana Elisa Silveira, a graduate student at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niteroi, Brazil, traveled to Maryland in late 2014 to learn about research being conducted on the Chesapeake Bay by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. In her own words, she briefly describes her experience below.
“I was in Maryland from October 15 to November 25, 2014. It was an amazing experience for me. I had the opportunity to visit many different places and to see different sampling techniques and analyses being conducted on Chesapeake Bay that will improve my research in Brazil that is focused on Guanabara Bay.
“During my stay in Maryland, I worked in the Horn Point Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, in Cambridge, Maryland. My interest in visiting Horn Point and Chesapeake Bay was to learn more about different ways of disposal of dredged material, beneficial uses of dredged sediments, monitoring programs, and sampling techniques and analyses of contaminated and non-contaminated sediments. I achieved my goals.
“I took part in a meeting between the Laboratory, the Port of Baltimore, and the Maryland Environmental Service where many important issues were discussed about the dredging that would begin in a few weeks and the research that took place in Chesapeake Bay during the past year. The results and the new targets were also discussed.
“I had the opportunity to watch three PhD defenses in geochemistry and biology, and it was very nice to see how dissertation defenses are conducted in an American University. They were very high level expositions.
“Thanks to Dave Nemazie of the University of Maryland, I took part in a Dredging Material Management Program Annual Meeting. Definitely, it was a very important experience to understand the policy and the popular participation in the dredging process.
“I visited Hart-Miller Island and collected sediments and water samples. Hart-Miller is an artificial island built for disposal of contaminated sediments dredged from access channels to the Baltimore Harbor. Nowadays, it is not being used as a confined disposal facility. There are some environmental issues, such as a very low pH effluent. The low pH makes the water discharge very slow. Many procedures have been implemented to correct this problem, which is related to oxidation of a high level of Fe in the sediments in anoxic condition.
“I also visited Cox Creek and Masonville Cove, each a Dredged Material Confined Facility (DMCF) used by the Port of Baltimore for disposal of contaminated sediments. I had seen the project plans and could discuss the monitoring program, environmental permits, and other issues with the Maryland Environmental Service team.
“I had a very important meeting with David Blazer, the Harbor Development Director of the Maryland Port Administration, about the dredging of Baltimore Harbor, the policy, prices, equipment, community and other issues related to the harbor.
“I saw a Water-Sediment Interface Analyses in the laboratory and helped to collect some samples in the field.
“I visited Poplar Island in Chesapeake Bay, which is being built up with dredged sediments. This is a very interesting project that involves a huge and multidisciplinary team to restore an island.
“Another interesting project has been taking place in the Oyster Lab at Horn Point, where researchers work to improve oyster production in Chesapeake Bay. Two benefits of this work are improved production of oysters and decreased nitrogen level in the water. High nitrogen and phosphorus levels are environmental concerns in Chesapeake Bay.
“I read many papers to prepare myself for discussions with professors and a great specialist, Jeffrey Hankla, and also with non-governmental organizations that work in a monitoring program in the creeks.
“I had the unique opportunity to be on board with the US ARMY Corps of Engineers in two dredges. By that time we could discuss many issues that are so important in Brazil; many Brazilian standards are based on their studies.
“In return for such hospitality, I prepared a presentation of an overview of Guanabara Bay about the main environmental aspects, and depollution projects in the past and for the future.
“It was an unforgettable trip and I have many thanks for some very special people, hoping to be back soon. From the University of Maryland, I thank Mike Roman, Jeffrey Cornwell, Dave Nemazie, Lorie Staver who kindly shared her room with me, Lowell Adams who made it all come true, and Debbie Hinkle. From the Port of Baltimore, I thank David Blazer and Holly Miller. From the Maryland Environmental Service, I thank Kenna Oseroff and Jeffrey Hankla. From the US ARMY Corps of Engineers, I thank Kevin Brennan and Willie Pack. From Brazil, I thank my advisor Edison Bidone, and Willian Zamboni and Elisamara Sabadini, all of Universidade Federal Fluminense. The personal connections of Ronald Hees, Axel Grael, and Lowell Adams of Rio-Maryland Partners of the Americas made it all possible.”
“Eu estive em Maryland de 15 de outubro a 25 de novembro de 2014. Foi uma experiência surpreendente. Eu tive a oportunidade de visitar vários lugares diferentes e ver diferentes amostragens e análises que melhoraram muito a minha pesquisa aqui no Brasil.
“Durante minha estada em Maryland, eu trabalhei no laboratório de ciências ambientais de Horn Point no Campus de Cambridge em Maryland. Meu interesse em visitar Horn Point e a baía de Chesapeak era aprender mais sobre diferentes maneiras de dispor o material dragado, os usos benéficos deste material, programas de monitoramento e amostragem e análises de sedimentos contaminados e não contaminados. Agora eu posso dizer: Eu atingi os meus objetivos e fui além.
“Eu participei de uma reunião entre o Laboratório, o Porto de Baltimore e o Serviço Ambiental de Maryland, onde várias questões importantes foram discutidas sobre a dragagem que iria acontecer em poucas semanas e a pesquisa que vinha acontecendo na baía de Chesapeak no último ano. Os resultados e as novas metas também foram discutidas.
“Eu tive a oportunidade de assistir a 3 defesas de doutorado, em geoquímica e biologia, foi muito bom ver como as coisas acontecem numa universidade americana, além do alto nível das exposições.
“Graças a Dave Nemazie, da Universidade de Maryland, eu participei da Reunião Anual do Programa de Gestão de Material Dragado. Definitivamente, esta foi uma experiência muito importante para entender a política e a participação popular no processo de dragagem.
“Estive em Hart-Miller, coletando amostras de sedimento e água. Hart-Miller é uma ilha artificial construída para dispor sedimento contaminado do canal de acesso ao Porto de Baltimore. Hoje em dia, não é mais utilizada como CDF ( Cava de Disposição Final), entretanto, existem alguns inconvenientes de ordem ambiental, como um efluente com pH muito baixo. O Baixo pH da água faz com que a descarga para o mar seja muito lenta, vários procedimentos têm sido tomados para corrigir este problema, que está associado a oxidação dos altos teores de ferro no sedimento em condições anóxicas.
“Eu também estive em Cox Creek e Masonville, ambos estão sendo usados com DCMF (Unidade de Disposição de Material Dragado) pelo Porto de Baltimore para dispor sedimento contaminado. Eu vi o projeto, pude discutir sobre o programa de monitoramento, as licenças ambientais e visitei toda a área com a equipe do Serviço Ambiental de Maryland.
“Eu tive uma reunião muito importante com David Blazer, Diretor de Desenvolvimento do Porto, sobre a dragagem, políticas, preços, equipamentos, comunidade e o porto como líder deste processo.
“Eu pude ver uma análise em laboratório da interface sedimento-água e participei de algumas coletas em campo.
“Estive em Poplar Island, um projeto muito interessante que envolve uma equipe grande e multidisciplinar para restaurar uma ilha que está sendo construída com sedimentos de dragagem.
“Outro projeto interessante acontece no laboratório de ostras onde há um estudo para melhorar a produção de ostras na baía de Chesapeak com dois benefícios: melhorar a produção e diminuir a quantidade de nitrogênio na água. Os índices elevados de nitrogênio e fósforo na baía de Chesapeak são uma preocupação ambiental.
“Eu precisei ler muitos artigos para me preparar para tudo isso e tive a oportunidade de discuti-los com os professores de lá e com um grande especialista o Dr. Jeffrey Hankla e também com uma ONG que trabalha com programa de monitoramento nos rios de lá.
“Eu tive uma oportunidade única de estar a bordo com o Corpo de Engenheiros do Exército Americano em duas dragas. Na ocasião pudemos discutir várias questões que são tão importantes no Brasil já que muitas das nossas normas são baseadas nos estudos desenvolvidos por eles.
“Como retorno a tanta hospitalidade, eu preparei uma apresentação geral da baía de Guanabara sobre os principais aspectos ambientais, projetos de despoluição do passado e do futuro.
“Esta foi uma viagem inesquecível, eu tenho muito a agradecer a algumas pessoas muito especiais, esperando voltar em breve: da Universidade de Maryland: Mike Roman, Jeffrey Cornwell, Dave Namezie, Lorie Staver que gentilmente dividiu sua sala comigo, Lowell Adams que fez tudo isso virar realidade, Debbie Hinkle, Laura; Porto de Baltimore: David Blazer and Holly Miller; Serviço Ambiental de Maryland: Kenna Oseroff and Jeffrey Hankla; Corpo de Engenheiros do Exército Americano: Kevin Brennan and Willie Pack. Do Brasil, agradeço ao meu orientador Edison Bidone, ao coordenador Willian Zamboni, Elisamara Sabadini, todos professores da Universidade Federal Fluminense. E aos amigos Ronald Hees, Axel Grael e Lowell Adams do Companheiros das Américas Rio-Maryland, que tornaram tudo isso possível.”
May 24, 2014
Benno Sander, president of Rio de Janeiro Partners of the Americas, passed away on April 29, 2014. He was a native of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and Citizen Niteróiense for his contributions to education in the city of Niterói.
Benno earned his Masters and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Education from the Catholic University in Washington, DC, USA, and Bachelor and Masters degrees in Languages and Literature from Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a retired professor of UFF and a former professor at the University of Brasilia, Brazil. Benno also was a former Professor of Education at Harvard University, USA, and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Buenos Aires, Argentina. While at Harvard, Benno conducted studies in educational planning and economics. He was a researcher and author of considerable intellectual production, with more than a hundred academic papers published in different languages and countries, including 16 books and hundreds of national and international conferences on education and social sciences. For three decades, Benno worked for the Organization of American States (OAS). He was Chief of the OAS in Brazil and OAS Representative in Argentina. He finished his career with OAS as Director General of Education and Social Development at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.
Benno was an active member of numerous scientific and cultural associations and national and international organizations, having been president of the National Association of Educational Policy and Administration; elected and re-elected by his peers for 13 years. Benno was an academic member of the Brazilian Academy of Education and honorary member of the Sao Paulo Academy of Education. In July 2012, Benno was appointed a Director of the National Board of Education for a 4-year term by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.
Benno was a strong supporter of Partners of the Americas. As president of Rio Partners, he co-hosted the 50-year anniversary celebration of Rio-Maryland Partners in early December 2013 in Niterói. Benno was a gracious host, with a ready smile. He welcomed old friends and made new ones. Benno represented the true spirit of Partners of the Americas. Surviving him is his wife Lucia, a son Pedro and his wife Wen, and a grandson Luca. Benno will long be remembered in our hearts.
Rio-Maryland Paretners Celebrate 50-Year Anniversary
December 19, 2013
During the first week of December 2013, Maryland-Rio Partners of the Americas celebrated its 50-year anniversary in Rio and Niteroi, Brazil. One of the goals of the celebration was to specifically honor Ron Hees, Executive Director of Rio Partners who was present in November 1964 when the first delegation from Maryland traveled to Rio to establish the partnership.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, Governor Cabral of Rio and Governor O’Malley of Maryland signed a proclamation recognizing the 50-year history of Rio-Maryland Partners, pointing out some of the accomplishments of the partnership over the years. Governor O’Malley specifically recognized Ron Hees for his work. Ron has been a guiding force in the partnership since its establishment.
On Thursday, December 5, Governor O’Malley visited the Grael Project in Niteroi. Included in the event was interaction with several partnership high school exchange students of the late 1960s and several recent university exchange students. Students were quite excited that the Governor and Mrs. O’Malley took time to talk with them and indulge their photo shots.
On Friday, December 6, several members of Maryland-Rio Partners visited the Maryland School in Nilopolis (Escola Companheiros de Maryland). About 100 of the younger students and school officials welcomed the group by singing the Brazilian and Nilopolis anthems. The group discussed school programs and operations with school director Roberta Capetine, teachers, and other officials. The Maryland School in Nilopolis is one of the longest-running programs of Rio-Maryland Partners.
If you are not familiar with the school, please review the Maryland-Rio Partners history on this web site. You can also click on “Maryland School” on the right side of this page for a short video.
On Saturday, December 7, an all-day celebration was held at the Grael Project, hosted by Axel and Crista Grael. The Grael Project occupies the former Hotel Samanguaia, where the first group from Maryland met Governor Torres of Rio and other officials in November 1964. An excellent lunch was provided by the owner of Familia Paludo, a fine restaurant in Niteroi. If you travel to Rio, please consider an excursion to Niteroi, where you will find many attractions, including Familia Paludo.
Following lunch on Saturday, we viewed a slide show prepared by Mary Hilton, with assistance of others. The show reviewed the history of Maryland-Rio Partners over the past 50 years, with a particular focus on Ron Hees and his contributions to the partnership. The presentation included audience participation and was enjoyed by all. It was a wonderful opportunity to visit old friends and make new ones.