Earthwatch welcomes return of HSBC Climate Champions to Wytham Woods
Earthwatch has received 2011’s first group of twelve HSBC Climate Champions at its Europe Regional Climate Centre located in Wytham Woods, near Oxford.
The first team of the 2011 fielding season includes HSBC employees from six different European countries: Germany, France, Malta, Turkey, the UK and Italy. In addition to taking part in learning sessions on climate change, the HSBC volunteers will also work alongside Earthwatch scientists to establish the health of the forests through measuring tree growth, collecting soil samples or ground-leaf litter and data transcription and analysis.
Since the Europe Regional Climate Centre opened its doors in March 2008 more than 30 teams – involving over 300 HSBC Climate Champions have carried out forest-based research in Wytham Woods. In 2010 alone, 10 teams, 117 Climate Champions from 22 countries across Europe and the Middle East helped to complete 672 hours of fieldwork.
Earthwatch’s Head of Climate Change Research, Dr. Dan Bebber, explained that the research at Wytham has wider significance: “The aim of the research is to determine the influence of human activities on the responses of forests to climate change. Results from this research will assist in the development of guidelines for woodland managers across northern Europe, helping them to better manage and maximise the resilience of their forests to changing weather patterns and extreme climatic events”.
Richard Sylvester, Field Director at the Europe Regional Climate Centre said: “Staff at the centre are looking forward to the 2011 season. We’ve been really impressed with all the teams of Climate Champions and their dedication and willingness to learn. What is so exciting about this program is that one season equates to three years of a single scientist's time in the field.”
Earthwatch is on track to meet targets of engaging nearly one-third of HSBC’s 300,000 employees worldwide in a conversation about climate change and its implications for business, communities and individuals. Of these, 2,200 employees will participate in intensive, hands-on scientific field research as Climate Champions at Regional Climate Centres in Wytham Woods near Oxford, Brazil, China, India and the USA. Here, they will take part in workshops and action and planning sessions to further their understanding of climate change. During their time at the centre, they will develop projects to implement when they return to work to further HSBC’s commitment to sustainability.
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Earthwatch is an international environmental research charity, whose mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Our vision is a world in which we live within our means and in balance with nature.
World leaders in the field of ‘citizen science’, Earthwatch believes that by actively engaging with companies through partnership, it can build measureable commitment to achieving corporate environmental sustainability and, at the same time, mobilise the resources necessary to carry out its mission.
HSBC Climate Partnership
The HSBC Climate Partnership (HCP) is a $100 million, five-year partnership funded by HSBC, working with the Climate Group, the Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF.
As part of the HSBC Climate Partnership, Earthwatch is carrying out a program of forest research in five locations worldwide. This research will determine how we can best manage forests to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.
Earthwatch and HSBC have developed the world’s largest employee engagement program on climate change, which aims to motivate and enable more than 100,000 HSBC employees to take action. The program includes online learning, local volunteering projects and a residential field program on climate change and its implications for business.