Local teen takes eco-trip to China

Canadian students Jennifer Liu from Vancouver, Lea Leung from Toronto and Elianne Abramovich from Richmond visited China. -
Canadian students Jennifer Liu from Vancouver, Lea Leung from Toronto and Elianne Abramovich from Richmond visited China.
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Hugh McRoberts student Elianne Abramovich was one of 40 teenage students from 10 countries who gathered for an eight-day trip to Yingjing County in Sichuan Province, China earlier this month.

As part of the Cathay Pacific Green Explorer 2011 program, which launched last April, students were selected from Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Taiwan, the United States and Taiwan.

“It was amazing,” Abramovich said Tuesday. “We learned a lot about environmental problems and what Conservational International is doing.”

The students arrived in China on Aug. 10, and their first outing involved a trip to a panda habitat, she said.

Students practised installing infrared cameras in the wild, to help observe animals in their natural surroundings.

“It was really nice seeing what organizations are doing to help save the pandas,” she said.

Abramovich was one of three Canadian students who were selected from about 150 to apply for the program. They all demonstrated a keen interest or involvement in environmental activities.

The group also visited an eco-resort where they spoke with local farmers and villagers who lamented the fact they didn’t get an opportunity to go to school, and instead had to work on the farm to help their families survive.

Even the elderly had to work all the time, she said, harvesting rice and corn while their same-age counterparts in North America got to enjoy playing cards while in retirement.

Abramovich said seeing what life is like half-a-world away helped her appreciate what she’s got at home.

Asked if she experienced culture shock, Abramovich said the food in Sichuan province is quit spicy, and that took some getting used to.

But the overall experience was something she wouldn’t trade for the world as she prepares to enter Grade 12 in September.

“It’s heartwarming to see how passionate and articulate these students are with regards to environmental issues,” said Cathay chief executive John Slosar.

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