June 18, 2018

Alcoa Employees Join Earthwatch in the Andorran Pyrenees to Research the Impacts of Climate Change


Alcoa Foundation selected eight Alcoa employees to participate in a unique professional development opportunity with Earthwatch Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting citizens with scientists to conduct conservation research worldwide.
 
The fellows will head to Valley of Ordino in Andorra from September 15th to the 21st to participate on Earthwatch’s Wildlife in the Changing Andorran Pyrenees expedition, where volunteers and scientists are measuring how climate change and human encroachment are impacting mountain ecosystems.

In the field, these fellows will work alongside leading scientists to collect data in the field and participate in facilitated learning sessions that will support a post-fielding sustainable action plan in their workplace or community.

The team will identify key species in the alpine ecosystem during their time in the field. They will collect weight and measurement data on vole, mouse, and shrew populations; monitor camera traps; track biodiversity within selected transects; collect tree growth data; and survey how snow is impacting vegetation.

During facilitated learning sessions, the fellows will learn about the basics of climate change and how their action can significantly impact our environment.  Each fellow will develop their own post-fielding project that will engage their peers and community members in sustainability initiatives.  In addition, each fellow will lead a volunteering event that will benefit their local environment and present back to their community on their experience.

“Throughout our long-standing partnership with the Earthwatch Institute, we see our Alcoa Earthwatch Fellows return from the expeditions with a newfound dedication to enhancing sustainability in the workplace and in their home communities,” said Rosa Garcia Pineiro, VP, Sustainability and Alcoa Foundation President. “We are looking forward to seeing what this year’s team will learn and achieve.”

In 2017, the Alcoa fellowship team developed and implemented a vast variety of impactful projects when they returned from the field.  Ranging from a Global Warming-themed ice cream stand executed to educate customers on current environmental issues, to a detailed Environmental Ambassadors Program that integrated environmental solutions within Alcoa’s operations and increased accountability and environmental performance on site.  Miltiadis Constantine and Shelley Ranii of Alcoa’s Pittsburgh office developed a plan to reduce paper cup, paper towel, and printer paper usage and effectively label recycling bins on site.

“Since the beginning of our partnership, Alcoa Foundation has enabled nearly 300 employees to contribute to critical environmental research through their Earthwatch fellowships,” said Scott Kania, CEO, Earthwatch Institute. “But what’s even more impressive is the way in which these employees bring their skills and experiences back to their communities – leading sustainability initiatives that will pay dividends for years to come.”

This year’s fellows include: Claude Thivierge (Electrical Technician; Deschambault, Canada), Donna Herum (Technical Specialist; Newburgh, IN, United States), Erika Bransky (Mine Operator; Myara, Australia), Larissza Keresztes (Accountant; Székesfehérvár, Hungary), Patrick Dight (Reliability Engineer; Ferndale, WA, United States), Paul Dwyer (Store/Emergency Response Officer Coordinator; Waroona, Australia), Paulo Eduardo Belato (Environmental Health & Safety Analyst; Poços de Caldas, Brazil), Saerun Kristinsdottir (Potline Coach; Reydarfjordur, Iceland).

Since 2003, 282 Alcoa employees from 24 countries have contributed more than 13,800 hours of research, which Earthwatch uses to inform sustainable solutions.

To learn more, visit http://www.alcoa.com/foundation/en/partnerships-programs/earthwatch-fellowship-program.asp.

About Earthwatch Institute
Earthwatch Institute is an international nonprofit organization that connects citizens with scientists to improve the health and sustainability of the planet. Since its founding in 1971, Earthwatch has empowered nearly 100,000 volunteers from all walks of life to join leading scientists on field research expeditions that tackle critical environmental challenges around the globe – from climate change to ocean health to human-wildlife conflict. Earthwatch works with all sectors of society, including corporations, teachers, students, community leaders, zoos and aquaria, and more. For more information about Earthwatch, visit earthwatch.org.

About Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation’s predecessor, currently known as Legacy Alcoa Foundation (and formerly known as Alcoa Foundation), was founded in 1952 as one of the few endowed corporate foundations in the United States. As a result of the separation of Alcoa Inc. into Alcoa Corporation and Arconic Inc. in November 2016, two new foundations were formed, into which the assets of Legacy Alcoa Foundation were transferred. One of the newly formed foundations, known now as Alcoa Foundation, is the foundation associated with Alcoa Corporation. Today, Alcoa Foundation invests where Alcoa Corporation has a presence, providing grants that contribute to environmental excellence around the world, particularly in the areas of biodiversity conservation and climate change research. Learn more at alcoafoundation.com and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.