Terms and Conditions
Updated March 24 2011
1. How do I enrol?
The first step for group leaders is to select a project and identify the dates when your group would be able to go. Earthwatch can work with the leader to select a project that matches your group's interests, desired destination, desired schedule, and budget. Expedition dates can be created to match group needs, and therefore do not necessarily have to fit within the published schedule. After the group leader has selected a project and dates have been confirmed by the scientist, a group agreement form and volunteer registration forms will be sent to the group leader. The agreement form should be faxed on 03 9686 3652 or emailed back to Earthwatch. Then, informational materials specific to that project and expedition will be sent to the leader for any student/parent meetings.
All volunteers/group participants must complete a registration form and return it with their initial deposit; no one will be officially enrolled until his or her deposit is received by Earthwatch. Total deposits owing should be paid in full by the school/group leader after receipt of the deposit invoice.
The registrations should be collected by the group leader and submitted to Earthwatch either via fax, email or mailed to:
126 Bank St
South Melbourne, VIC, 3102
2. General Payment Information
Earthwatch accepts credit cards (Visa, MasterCard or Diners), cheques or bank transfers– do not send cash. Cheques should be made payable to Earthwatch Institute. Group leaders should collect the payments from the students and submit one total payment to Earthwatch. When doing this please clearly mark payments with:
Group leader’s full name
Expedition name (e.g. “Costa Rican’ Coffee” or “Trinidad’s Leatherback Sea Turtles.”)
Cheques should also contain the above information on the back
3. What is the Payment Schedule and Process?
Initial Deposits in the amount of AU$500 per participant are required to secure your place on the team. Balance is then due 90 days prior to the expedition start date. We can also organise a part payment to suit the teams preferences.
4. Exchange, Refund, and Cancellation Policy
Cancellations and exchanges up until 90 days:
Cancellation: the initial deposit of $500 per participant will be retained by Earthwatch Institute.
Exchange: There is no fee to replace one participant with another. All volunteer forms are due 90 days before the team start date.
Cancellations and exchanges after final payment deadline
Cancellation: All payments are non-refundable.
Exchange: Replacements will be considered on a case by case basis and are subject to a $500 fee. Volunteer forms are due at least 90 days before the team start date.
No replacements will be considered within 60 days of the start date of the expedition.
All completed volunteer forms must be collected by the group leader and submitted to Earthwatch no later than 90 days before the departure date for the Expedition. Failure to submit these volunteer forms by this date may result in cancellation from the team without refund.
In the unlikely event that Earthwatch must cancel an expedition, your expedition contribution will be refunded in full. Earthwatch does not reimburse airfare or other personal travel expenses associated with a cancelled expedition.
5. Contribution Rates
Earthwatch's contribution setting for groups is based upon total number of participants. If your group does not meet the number of estimated volunteers, Earthwatch reserves the right to reset the contribution accordingly. Earthwatch’s "Leaders go for no contribution" promotion is based on a minimum of 6 contributing volunteers plus a leader. Under this promotion, the contribution for the leader is pro-rated among the other participants. Should the group not fulfill the 6:1 ratio of participants to group leaders, the no-contribution place on the expedition would be forfeited.
6. What does the contribution cover?
The contribution associated with each expedition covers your meals, accommodation, on-site travel (not airfare or other travel costs to/from the rendezvous point), emergency medical/evacuation insurance, 24-hour emergency service, the guidance of experienced field scientists and Earthwatch staff, and all of the various costs of field research (field permits, etc.). For some expeditions, additional project costs may exist (i.e. SCUBA/snorkel equipment) so please check with your Group Coordinator if you have any questions.
7. What about travel insurance?
Your contribution to your expedition includes our mandatory emergency medical, dental, and evacuation insurance. You can find the most current information on what is covered within this policy at http://www.earthwatch.org/expedition/insurance/. This insurance can not be waived for any reason. In addition to this coverage, Earthwatch recommends that group members purchase trip cancellation insurance. Group members are responsible for protecting themselves against airline and travel agency cancellation fees.
8. Departure and Arrival Requirements
Earthwatch expeditions have pre-set rendezvous and departure locations and times. Rendezvous and departure locations are normally at or near the airport or hotel closest to the research site. This rendezvous information will be communicated to the group leader when initial deposits are made. Group flights must be arranged to arrive and depart in accordance with the designated location and time. Any deviations may result in additional contribution fees or a decrease in field time. Earthwatch expedition contributions do not include airfare.
9. Risk and Safety Management
Earthwatch subscribes to an international risk management provider, ISOS, which thoroughly evaluates all of our project locations and volunteer activities for the safety and security of our participants. Should any problems occur in the field, all projects have an emergency response plan for both minor and major incidents and have communication protocols both with area health care facilities and with the Earthwatch office. Earthwatch has a staff member on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist volunteers and field staff and to be available to relay emergency messages from home.
11. Can I be removed from a team?
Earthwatch Institute reserves the right to refuse reservations on its projects. Such a refusal would typically, but not exclusively, be due either to an applicant's failure to meet the health requirements of a particular project or in the interest of team compatibility. Earthwatch Institute will support the right of the Principal Investigator (lead scientist on a project) and/or his or her appointed project manager(s) to send volunteers away from a project should their behavior compromise the safety, research objectives or general performance of the team. Misrepresentation of one’s qualifications in any way, including but not limited to age, health, intentions on the expedition, etc. will also be grounds for rejection of reservations or dismissal from project. In the case of deliberate misrepresentation, volunteers will not be eligible for a refund.
PLEASE NOTE: These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time, and each Earthwatch Institute office implements its own policies according to the laws and subsidies of their country of residence, whether the US, the UK, Australia, or Japan.
FINAL REMINDER: Earthwatch Institute projects are scientific research expeditions, not tours. Earthwatch Institute makes every effort to describe field conditions accurately both in its publications and verbally, but fieldwork in remote locations is a delicate business and prone to last-minute changes. We accept this variability as part of what makes an Earthwatch Institute project a unique experience and encourage volunteers to embrace the role of the unexpected in scientific discovery
Earthwatch Health and Safety Policy
At Earthwatch we are committed to caring for the safety and welfare of all individuals involved in our expeditions anywhere in the world.
Although risk is an inherent part of the environments we work in, we believe that through careful risk management and diligent planning all participants can have a rewarding, educational and inspirational Earthwatch experience.
When you join us on an Earthwatch expedition and you can expect:
• Thorough risk assessments carried out prior to the start of the project
• In-depth information provided to participants in the form of printed Expedition Briefings before fielding, including project conditions and risks associated with the project
• Safe drinking water to be available at all research facilities
• Accommodation that is suitable to the project and research location
• Field staff trained in emergency procedures
• Detailed emergency response plans for each and every project
• Around-the-clock emergency assistance from dedicated Field Management staff
• Trained incident management team