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2010 Case Study: Earthwatch expeditions
The Earthwatch Institute is an international not-for-profit organisation that supports scientific field research through its volunteer program. Its mission is ‘to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.’ As part of Alcoa Foundation’s support for the Earthwatch Institute, our employees have the opportunity to participate in Earthwatch expeditions around the world. These expeditions contribute to a global knowledge base on sustainability, but they also promote personal development, nurture relationships between environmental and business organisations and help raise awareness and appreciation of the earth’s ecosystems.
In 2010 Alcoa Inc. sponsored 15 employees to participate in Earthwatch expeditions. Two Australian employees secured places: Megan LeRoy from our Huntly Mine in Western Australia and Lisa Mills from our Anglesea operation in Victoria. Megan travelled to the Czech Republic, collecting water samples and taking pH, conductivity and oxygen readings from streams and reservoirs in the Jizera Mountains that have been damaged by acid rain. Lisa visited the Gazi Bay in Kenya to rehabilitate mangrove forests and to monitor the effects of these plantations on rates of beach erosion and on the animals, particularly crabs and fish, dependent on them.
In 2010 Alcoa Inc. also provided, for the first time, 12 Alcoa Earthwatch Community Fellowships to enable local community representatives to join these expeditions. Community leaders from Australia secured three of the 12 fellowships. Congratulations to:
  • Rowan MacKenzie, Environmental Manager Surf Coast Shire;
  • Thelma Cook, Greening Australia WA; and
  • Bridget Ure, Water Conservation Officer, Barwon Water.
The Foundation’s partnership with the Earthwatch Institute has been operating for eight years and has helped 94 Alcoa employees volunteer more than 6,800 research hours toward solving critical sustainability issues. In the past three years Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $26 million to inform public policy, build community capacity and awareness and mobilise individual action on climate change.