YOSEMITE – NatureBridge and Alcoa Foundation announced the 2014 NatureBridge Alcoa Scholars program. Twenty-four high school students were selected from more than 160 applicants from Alcoa communities around the world, representing 18 countries. This summer, these Scholars will participate in a 10-day program immersed in the wonder and science of Yosemite National Park while building connections with each other.
Founded in 1971, NatureBridge provides residential, environmental science programs for students in the national parks, connecting students to the nature in order to inspire the stewards of tomorrow.
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $460 million. In 2012, Alcoa Foundation is said to have contributed more than $21 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering.
“Alcoa Foundation’s focus areas are environment and education, and our geographic focus is regions where Alcoa operates,” said Tricia Napor, Principal Manager, Alcoa Foundation.
“We are excited about the new partnership with NatureBridge because it brings our two focus areas together while engaging youth from Alcoa communities around the world. We believe the experience of being immersed in nature while studying science will have a long-term impact and inspire the students to become ambassadors of sustainability.”
The Scholars will learn from NatureBridge environmental science educators as well as National Park Service scientists. These lessons will provide background in the natural history of Yosemite in order to give students a strong environmental and historical sense of place for the park.
Scholars will deepen their interpersonal connections during a four-night backpacking trip in the Yosemite Wilderness during which they will explore remote granitic landscapes, discuss pertinent environmental issues from a global communities perspective, and end each day sleeping under the stars.
“It is an honor and pleasure to have students from Alcoa communities all over the world come together and experience one of America’s treasured landscapes, Yosemite National Park,” said Jason Morris, Executive Vice President of NatureBridge.
“We hope they take the ideas and the science and the wonder of what they learned back to their home communities to make the world a better place.”
The NatureBridge Alcoa Scholars will complete their journey with an ecosystem restoration project designed to rejuvenate the iconic yet fragile meadows of Yosemite. Over the course of the program, they will gain the tools necessary to make meaningful connections to their home environments.
According to YNP Ranger Kari Cobb, “NatureBridge Alcoa Scholars will leave a positive impact on Yosemite as Yosemite will surely leave a positive impact on them.“