September 11, 2018
Local green teens encourage ‘leave no trace’
Taking action against climate change is now on the personal agenda of 18 local high school students following their adventures in UNESCO world heritage sites in the United States of America as part of the Alcoa Foundation funded NatureBridge program.
The recently returned teenagers were greeted by Alcoa representatives, family and friends at a welcome home event where they shared stories of wild animal sightings while kayaking along pristine lakes, hiking to the top of mountain peaks to see snow for the first time, and the long campfire chats with new lifelong friends from around the world.
Mandurah Catholic College student Liam Hannah and Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School student Giselle Taylor shared their desire for fellow Australians to adopt a ‘leave no trace’ policy at home.
“The idea of little things can make a big difference was a huge focus and although we can’t change much alone, there were a few things we could take back to our homes that will help such as cooking smarter and using only what you need,” Giselle said.
“Since NatureBridge, we now understand the importance of minimal impact to natural habitats, by removing your rubbish and leaving what you find, you can leave no trace and protect these areas.”
Baldivis Secondary College student Daniel Iversen said he learned a lot about the environment and how simple changes can have a significant impact.
“This trip taught me just how much humans are influencing the natural environment and that it’s time to really start making changes in our lives to preserve these natural wonders,” Daniel said. “Things like reducing plastic waste, putting the effort in to recycle and to not worry about a little dirt on your food if you drop it.”
Students worked together in groups to explore the themes of climate change and biodiversity through scientific investigations in either Olympic National Park in Washington or Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Alcoa of Australia Managing Director, Michael Parker, said the NatureBridge program aimed to inspire and empower high school students to become long-term environmental stewards with strong connections to the natural world.
“We are building the next generation of sustainability ambassadors and we strongly believe that being immersed in nature while studying science will have long-term impact on these young people.”
A total of 288 scholarships have been awarded by the Alcoa Foundation since the inaugural NatureBridge expedition in 2014, 57 of them benefiting students from Western Australia. The scholarships cover the cost of airfares, visas and the full two-week program.
The students were excited to share stories after returning from their NatureBridge experience.
Sonia Nolan | Senior Communications Adviser | 0401 034 103 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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