Press Release

NatureBridge and Alcoa Foundation Announce 2019 Cohort of the NatureBridge Alcoa Scholars Program for Global Student Environmental Leaders

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For Immediate Release
May 7, 2019  
Contact: Annie Schuler 

San Francisco, CA—NatureBridge and Alcoa Foundation are again partnering to provide the unique opportunity to study biodiversity and climate change in two of the United States’ most iconic landscapes for a diverse group of high school students from around the world. Chosen for their interest in the natural world and their motivation to make an impact in their home communities, 63 students from global Alcoa communities will travel to Yosemite and Olympic National Park this summer for an immersive two-week experience as part of the NatureBridge Alcoa Scholars Program. During the program, students will backpack through national park wilderness, develop a science investigation, care for the park through a service project and explore environmental issues from a global perspective.

This summer, the Alcoa Scholars will travel from six countries and five U.S. states to Yosemite or Olympic National Park. There, they will study topics ranging from forest ecology, water quality and soil science to the impact of visitors on park landscapes while hiking in the backcountry. The Alcoa Scholars will also discuss how these topics intersect with initiatives surrounding mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity, two of Alcoa Foundation’s key areas of engagement. Upon returning to campus, students will synthesize their learnings and present their findings from the science investigations they completed while on the trail. 

“It only takes one inspiring experience to spark a lifetime of dedication to the environment, and our partnership with NatureBridge is giving youth in Alcoa communities 63 chances to foster future leaders in sustainability through our program,” said Rosa García Pineiro, Alcoa Foundation President and Alcoa VP of Sustainability. “Scholars will get to practice hands-on science and consider the implications of their findings, to practice discussing critical environmental topics in a supportive setting and to determine how they will continue these conversations in their home communities.” 

This year’s program builds on the legacy of successful years of partnership. Since its inception in 2014, nearly 300 high school students have completed 140 science investigations across three national parks and presented their findings to their peers, park visitors and invited guests. In 2017, Scholars began formally sharing what they learned and how they intend to apply their experiences through blogs, videos and presentations in local community centers back home. Scholars have completed more than 73 of these post-trip projects to date. 

“I know my relationship and fascination with nature has definitely deepened through the program,” said 2018 Alcoa Scholar, Rachael, of Australia. “I have grown in knowledge of the world around me and can now more effectively preserve and become a better steward for the environment.” 


Founded in 1971, NatureBridge connects students to the wonder and science of nature and inspires the environmental stewards of tomorrow. As the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service, the organization serves more than 30,000 students each year and offers programs in seven national parks: Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Channel Islands National Park, Prince William Forest Park, and Shenandoah National Park. For more information, visit 


Alcoa Foundation’s predecessor, currently known as Legacy Alcoa Foundation (and formerly known as Alcoa Foundation), was founded in 1952 as one of the few endowed corporate foundations in the United States. As a result of the separation of Alcoa Inc. into Alcoa Corporation and Arconic Inc. in November 2016, two new foundations were formed, into which the assets of Legacy Alcoa Foundation were transferred. One of the newly formed foundations, known now as Alcoa Foundation, is the foundation associated with Alcoa Corporation. Today, Alcoa Foundation invests where Alcoa Corporation has a presence, providing grants that contribute to environmental excellence around the world, particularly in the areas of biodiversity conservation and climate change research. Learn more at and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter. 


The NatureBridge Alcoa Scholars program, hosted by NatureBridge and Alcoa Foundation, is an immersive, two-week environmental science program that allows high school students to learn and grow in some of the world’s most beautiful protected lands. 63 students from communities in which Alcoa operates around the world explore the wonders of the natural world in Yosemite National Park and Olympic National Park through backcountry exploration, hands-on science experiments and research, outdoor experiential learning and social emotional learning activities designed to connect scholars to nature, sustainability, and each other. The NatureBridge Alcoa Scholars converge from different nations and backgrounds to form a community of environmental stewards that will explore environmental issues from a global community's perspective.