Five years championing climate change in Wytham Woods
Earthwatch is celebrating after receiving the final team of volunteers from a leading banking group, at its learning and research center in Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire, England.
A group of ten HSBC volunteers, known as ‘Climate Champions’ arrived this week from Paris to take part in the Climate Champion program established under the five-year HSBC Climate Partnership. This team are part of more than 2,000 volunteers that have taken part in the program worldwide since 2007.
Designed by Earthwatch, the Climate Champion program builds knowledge and professional skills through a forest-based research program.
The research at Wytham Woods will provide a comprehensive picture of the carbon cycle in ‘fragmented’ forests – typical of most woodland in the UK. Understanding the carbon cycle - the movement of carbon through the earth’s ecosystem - is a key step to understanding climate change.
James Campbell, head of Earthwatch’s global program with HSBC said: “Earthwatch is extremely pleased with the success of the Climate Champion program. Over the last five years, dedicated HSBC employees from across the bank have been taking part in this ground-breaking initiative. They’ve been brought together by a common vision to take action on climate change and make a positive difference in their region, workplace and communities."
“Climate Champions from Mexico to Dubai have been helping to create an internal global taskforce of engaged and committed employees that are helping to implement change in the business environment."
The Hill End Center in Wytham Woods has provided the setting for Earthwatch’s Europe Regional Climate Center – one of five such centers worldwide.
James added: “During this time, more than 600 HSBC employees have spent time at Hill End, working alongside our scientists to gather data on how the world’s degraded forest ecosystems are responding to climate change, at the same time developing their individual understanding of environmental and sustainability issues.”
The aim of Earthwatch’s forest research program is to determine the influence of human activities on the responses of forests to climate change and will assist in the development of guidelines for woodland managers across northern Europe, helping them to maximize the resilience of their forests to changing weather patterns and extreme climatic events.