Students set their sights on rainforest

Heading for Honduras - Alexander Armit, Jackie Reeves, Kate Handyside and Jeff Handyside.
Heading for Honduras - Alexander Armit, Jackie Reeves, Kate Handyside and Jeff Handyside.

INTREPID Amble students have kick-started a fund-raising campaign to help them embark on an epic trip to the rainforest.

Jeff Handyside, 17, as well as Kate Handyside and Alexander Armit, both 18, are sixth form pupils at James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) – Acklington Road, and are gearing up for an unforgettable experience next year, which will see them jet off to San Pedro Sula, in Honduras.

The expedition forms part of Operation Wallacea, which is a network of academics from European and North American universities who design and implement biodiversity and conservation management research programmes.

This research is supported by students who join the programme to strengthen their CV or resume, gain course credit, or collect data for a dissertation or thesis.

The Honduras trip will be run in the Cusuco National Park and the students will spend time in a forest camp, on site with an international team of academics who are collecting data on the carbon, biodiversity and community benefits of the forest.

Data collected will then be used as part of a submission under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme for funding the protection of the Cusuco forests.

The students will also go to the marine research site run by Operation Wallacea on Utila where the main research objective will be to complete annual monitoring of the coral and reef fish communities.

Jeff said: “We have already come a long way since the idea for the expedition was first conceived, however we still have a mammoth way to go.

“The cost of the trip will amount to around £2,500 for each team member, of which there are three.

“So we have set about in earnest trying to organise numerous fund-raising activities to finance the expedition.”

The students, assisted by the Coquet Youth Team and school staff, organised a non-uniform day with various break-time activities at JCSC last month which raised £495 and a very successful bag pack at Morrisons in Alnwick later in September helped increase the total raised to £1,100.

Jackie Reeves, teacher of biology and organiser of the trip, said: “This has been an excellent start towards achieving our target.

“Even though the journey of getting to the rainforest may be a long one and is going to take a lot of fund-raising, we feel that being able to say we have helped ‘save the world’ and the invaluable experience that the students will never forget, will more than make up for it.

“School activities like this reinforce the college philosophy that normal people, from rural Northumberland can go on to make a difference to the world in which we live.”