SHRINKING icecaps and endangered wildlife were brought into sharp focus for Wythall woman Freya Philips, who was one of only eight workers from global aerospace firm Alcoa to go on a fact-finding expedition to the Pyrenees.
The aim of her mission was to look at damage caused to the environment and to apply what she had learnt through her experience to the Park Farm firm so it can lessen its impact on the world.
“We helped a group of scientists, going on long treks and using motion cameras to get evidence of species in the higher and mid Pyrenees,” said the 20-year-old product management co-ordinator, who studied the sciences at school.
Using capture and release methods they monitored and measured animals like wood mice, shrews, edible doormice and birds as well as wasps nests and other ‘invader’ species.
“We also had lessons on sustainability and climate change and how Alcoa can affect this, and we also designed a project that we could bring back and apply to the company,” said Freya, who was on the mission with employees from Iceland, Hungary, the United States, France and Canada.
“We also got to see evidence of how the environment was affecting icecaps – we learnt how the mountains are the water containers of the earth and were shown pictures taken 100 years ago and we could see the difference in the ice coverage for ourselves.”
Freya, who is studying for an open university degree in business management, added: “Overall it was a tremendous experience, on one level to see the impact on the planet and on another to meet and network with colleagues and professionals from right across the company.”