Local Teacher Awarded Wells Fargo Earthwatch Fellowship

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Moraga teacher Millie Wong-Tang will ‘teach’ students live from Nova Scotia;
Live conferencing with students scheduled for Thursday April 16th

Millie Wong-Tang from Los Perales Elementary School in Moraga is one of 10 teachers receiving a Wells Fargo Earthwatch Fellowship this year to participate in a research expedition aimed at promoting environmental awareness and a greater understanding of how local activities can affect other areas of the world.
Through the fellowship, Wong-Tang will travel to the South Shore region of Nova Scotia, Canada from April 12 – 25, 2009.  She will conduct hands-on research alongside Dr. Christina Buesching and Chris Newman from Oxford University to explore how the animals who live in this vulnerable ecosystem-from deer to voles-are coping with the impacts of climate change.  The work will also help scientists understand the implications of climate change for forestry, hunting and tourism practices that are vital to the local economy.

Using Earthwatch’s Live from the Field program, Wong-Tang will share her field experiences and photos with her students and classrooms around the country through an interactive website and live conferencing. On Thursday, April 16th at 2 pm, students will be able to communicate with her, ask questions and learn about how actions – even simple, everyday actions – affect nature. The blog sites can be accessed here: http://www.earthwatch2.org/LFF/Buesching09_Team1/.  A link to the site will also be available from the Environmental Affairs section of wellsfargo.com.

The fellowships also provide funds for each teacher to develop a community project upon their return that addresses a local environmental issue.  Teachers in the past have created butterfly gardens using native species, worked with local parks to clear invasive species, and more-further expanding the reach and legacy of their Earthwatch research experience.

“This is an exciting and unique opportunity for teachers to provide students across the globe with a rare frontline view of the importance of environmental stewardship,” said Mary Wenzel, director of Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo.  “At Wells Fargo, we believe it is our responsibility to make sure we do all that’s possible to continue to support education and healthy, sustainable communities.”

Wells Fargo has supported teacher fellowships through Earthwatch since 2006.  The 2009 teacher fellows-nominated by Wells Fargo team members-were selected based on their enthusiasm for teaching and ability to translate an adventurous field experience to their classroom, colleagues and community.

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 11,000 stores, over 12,000 ATMs and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally.

Earthwatch Institute (www.earthwatch.org), the world’s largest environmental volunteer nonprofit organization, is a world leader in experiential education. Its mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Earthwatch was founded in Boston in 1971 and affiliate offices are based in the UK, Australia, and Japan. With approximately 120 projects fielding in more than 35 countries worldwide, Earthwatch focuses its research efforts on oceans, climate change, cultural heritage and ecosystem services.

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