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Hispanic Web Site Visitors on Rise

American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)
1444 I (Eye) Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 628-1500

For Immediate Release
6 July 2004

For more information, contact:
Oksana Hlodan, Editor, ActionBioscience.org
941-423-8636
editor@actionbioscience.org

ActionBioscience.org collection of Spanish articles draws an ever-growing audience from around the world

Washington, DC. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that residents who claimed Hispanic or Latino origins in the 2000 census made up approximately 13% of the American population, or 35.3 million. This population rose nearly 13 million, or 57.9%, between the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

In its effort to promote bioscience literacy to as wide a readership as possible, ActionBioscience.org became a bilingual site when it published its first Spanish translation of an article in March 2003. Currently, 19 Spanish articles are available online. Carlos de la Rosa, Ph.D., translates the articles, which are then reviewed by an independent biologist-translator. ActionBioscience.org ensures that all translations use fully current and accurate terminology.

Dr. de la Rosa, a respected environmental biologist who currently serves on the editorial board of ActionBioscience.org, makes a poignant statement about the need for bioscience education in his article “Improving Science Literacy and Conservation in Developing Countries”:

”Broad access to scientific information is key for people to understand, participate and respond to the challenges that development poses to civilization. Understanding of issues such as global warming, loss of biodiversity, evolution, implications of genetic research, and many other topics is essential, almost a requisite, for personal involvement in these issues. They affect all of us, and the better we understand them, the better we can respond with appropriate actions, whether these are activism in public causes or changes at the personal level. … Science literacy at the citizen’s level… is essential for the development of sustainability and for the protection and conservation of irreplaceable global resources. An environmentally aware society can make the right decisions about the environment and support their leader’s efforts towards sustainability.” http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/delarosa.html

The web site’s tracking service, SuperStats, shows that 5% of all ActionBioscience.org visitors in 2004 came to the site to read its Spanish articles (the 2004 total number of all page visits to date is 516,155). Half of the hits came from the U.S. and the other half from 17 Hispanic countries around the world. The most hits outside the U.S. came from Mexico, followed by Spain and Argentina.

Educators in the U.S. are encouraged to assign ActionBioscience.org Spanish articles to their English-as-a-Second-Language students who are of Hispanic origin. The students may find the site’s articles particularly useful if they are experiencing difficulty reading scientific information in English. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “One of the challenges currently facing schools is providing equal educational opportunities to students from various cultural backgrounds, some of whom are not proficient in English.” NCES reports that:

  • The Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing rapidly and will soon become the largest minority group by 2005.
  • In 2000, minorities constituted 39% of public elementary and secondary school students, of which 44% were Hispanic, or 17% of the total.
  • More Hispanic students than in previous years are taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests.
  • Hispanic enrollments in colleges and universities increased in the last 20 years.
  • About 2 out of every 5 Hispanics 17 years old and over participate in adult education.
  • In 1999, more than one third of the 71% of Hispanic children aged 5 to 17 who spoke Spanish at home had difficulty with English.

To read the full 2003 NCES report, “Status and Trends in the Education of Hispanics” see http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2003008.

AIBS plans to increase the number of Spanish translations from one a month in 2003 to at least two a month in 2004. It is hoped that additional funding will allow a more substantial increase of translations in 2005.

For information about ActionBioscience.org, an education resource of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, contact the editor, Oksana Hlodan, at editor@actionbioscience.org or ohlodan@aibs.org.


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