Teenager Lauren looks to support global conservation expedition

Lauren McAuley (far right) alongside two other students running the fund raiser tuck shop
Lauren McAuley (far right) alongside two other students running the fund raiser tuck shop

A TEENAGER is looking to raise £3,000 to fund her place on a conservation expedition to Borneo.

Year 11 student, Lauren McAuley, 16, is part of a group of 17 students from University Technical College Portsmouth who has been selected to be part of a special scientific research team. The youngsters will be looking into biodiversity and conservation in the area.

Lauren McAuley alongside some of the other students hoping to take part in the expedition

Lauren McAuley alongside some of the other students hoping to take part in the expedition

‘The expedition will last for two weeks with the first being based in the rainforest and the second looking at the coral reef ecosystem. We are going to being examining biodiversity and carrying out species counts on endangered creatures to analyse the impact that people are having. A guidebook will also be produced about the wildlife which lives in the forest,’ explained Lauren.

The expedition is being led by Operation Wallacea - a network of academics from European and North American universities, who run biodiversity and conservation management research expeditions. 

The trip, which will run after students have taken their examinations, is being coordinated by geography teacher, Hannah Hawkins.

‘The students will be helping to protect important species such as orangutans in the rainforest and underwater species like turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. It is a real life scientific project in which students get to collect real data, giving them experiences that may prove useful for university,’ explained Ms Hawkins.  

‘I am really excited about the visit as it is one of those trips you will only get to do once in a lifetime,’ said Lauren.

As part of the coral reef research, students will also be completing their PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) open water qualification. 

In order to take part in the expedition, students are required to raise £3000. 

Ms Hawkins said: ‘To raise their sponsorship students are running a daily tuck shop  and are organising a film night on November 7. Bag packing, car washing and a summer fete are also in the pipeline for later in the year. There is also a sponsored 15-mile walk taking place in November.’

‘I am confident I can raise my sponsorship as I don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity. I want to become a primary school teacher and this is the kind of experience you pass on to young children to inspire future generations,’ added Lauren.

Ms Hawkins said that the work carried out by Lauren and the rest of the students will play a vital role in helping to protect endangered species and their habitats.