Peel students thrilled on UNESCO world heritage sites tour


Peel student Jayde Watts makes her way out of the Hoh Rainforest with fellow scholars from around the world.
Peel student Jayde Watts makes her way out of the Hoh Rainforest with fellow scholars from around the world.

OVERCOMING physical challenges, wild bear sightings and new friendships were just some of the highlights for six Peel region students who recently returned from expeditions through UNESCO world heritage sites in the US.

The students conducted research and explored environmental issues in Yosemite National Park in California, Olympic National Park in Washington or Shenandoah in Virginia as part of a NatureBridge scholarship awarded by Alcoa Foundation earlier this year.

Pinjarra resident Jayde Watts (16), who hiked through Olympic National Park in Washington, said the team had to overcome both physical and mental challenges on a daily basis.

“Every member of our team was pushed to their limits, but it was then that we found our mental strength to battle any challenge… nothing could stop us,” she said.

North Yunderup resident Chad Plummer (16) also travelled to Washington to hike through Olympic National Park.

He said new friendships were his standout experience during the two-week adventure. “The best part from the trip was the people I met and the bonds I made,” he said.

The NatureBridge program is designed to empower students aged 16-18 to learn how their actions affect their community and the world around them.

In 2016, 100 scholarships, including 16 from Australia, were awarded to young people in communities where Alcoa operates around the world.