Alcoa Employees Selected to Research Environmental Challenges

Alcoa Foundation announced today in partnership with Earthwatch Institute that 27 Alcoa employees have been selected to research environmental challenges in Brazil, Canada and China. Earthwatch is an environmental organization, whose mission is to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment,

“Our long-term partnership with Earthwatch Institute strategically combines two Alcoa priorities: environmental excellence and employee engagement,” said Tricia Napor, Principal Manager for Environmental Programs, Alcoa Foundation. “This program is a great opportunity to reward employees who have an interest in the environment and equip them with knowledge, a network and support from leadership to become true environmental ambassadors in the Company and their communities.”

The three week-long expeditions to Guyrá Farm in Brazil, the Arctic's edge in Canada and Dinghushan National Nature Reserve in China include world-class research on climate change, carbon sequestration, and other ecosystem services.

The data is collected using an assortment of techniques, from the identification of birds collected in mist nets in Brazil’s tropical forest to measuring greenhouse gases in the Arctic permafrost. The expeditions are:

  • Conserving Brazil's Atlantic Forest: Understanding the response of tropical rainforests to various human pressures, including how those pressures change species composition and structure, and how they alter the forests’ contributions to the ecosystem.
  • Climate Change on China’s Dinghushan Forest: Monitoring the structure and fruiting phrenology of mushrooms and understanding the change of mushroom biodiversity as it relates to changes in climate.
  • Climate Change at Canada’s Arctic Edge: Gathering data on the impacts of melting permafrost and the shift of trees in northern ecosystems, which demonstrates significant changes to a fragile ecosystem.

Upon returning home from the expeditions, the Fellows will lead sustainability action plans at work and in their communities. For example, last year an employee in Australia coordinated a beach clean-up with 13 co-workers. To recognize the volunteer service, Alcoa Foundation awarded a grant to a local nonprofit organization where students learn about the importance of protecting shorelines and marine habitats.

Crucial in facilitating these connections is the timely visit of an Alcoa Environment, Health and Safety expert to each expedition. The presence and expertise of these sustainability leaders allow Alcoa Fellows to participate in stimulating discussions on sustainability initiatives at Alcoa and brainstorm creative solutions to society’s biggest environmental challenges.

“We are delighted to be a part of Alcoa’s pioneering professional development program,” said Larry Mason, CEO of Earthwatch Institute. “From daily life, to community outreach, to business practices, we are thrilled that our partnership with Alcoa Foundation helps engage a diverse array of employees in so many aspects of sustainability.”

Meet the 2013 Alcoa Earthwatch Fellows, and follow the blog on

Over the past 11 years, 170 Alcoa employees representing 21 different countries have contributed more than 10,500 hours of research to help find solutions to a range of sustainability challenges.

About Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $460 million. Founded 60 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $570 million since 1952. In 2012, Alcoa Foundation 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. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2012, a record 60 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,050 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 450,000 people and 2,050 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.


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