Earthwatch inspires connections between people and the environment. Our mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.
Since 1971, we’ve been enabling people from all walks of life to join leading scientists working on crucial, environmental research projects locally and globally. We currently support about 60 projects across nearly 40 countries. And here’s how:
Inspiring Connections in Science
We’re one of the world’s largest private funders of scientific research, and we’re dedicated to walking the talk. Outcomes from Earthwatch projects are published in hundreds of peer-reviewed journal papers every year, and shared with partner organisations, government agencies and policy-makers. We support research into:
- Ecosystems and Wildlife: Enhancing and protecting biodiversity in global ecosystems that provide us with valuable goods and services, such as clean drinking water, food, timber and medicines.
- Ocean Health: Protecting marine biodiversity, focusing on those parts of the ocean most quickly impacted by society: highly threatened coastal habitats such as mangroves and coral reefs.
- Climate Change: Improving our understanding of how climate change is affecting different environments, and find ways to help communities mitigate the impacts or adapt to the changes.
- Archaeology and Culture: Shining a light on the combined genetic, ecological, cultural, and linguistic variation discovered in native biological and cultural communities; unearthing the past in a way that safeguards their future.
Inspiring Connections in People
Nearly 100,000 people from the general public have joined Earthwatch in the field, contributing roughly 10,000,000 hours of data collection. Far more than a scientist could collect alone! The data have informed policy and practice, and helped conserve species and habitats all over the world. Our Earthwatchers have ranged from age 10 to the over-80s! Our standard expeditions have a minimum age of 18, unless accompanied by parent or legal guardian, in which case the minimum age for most expeditions is 15. We also run teen and student teams. What’s more is that you don’t need a scientific background to be an Earthwatcher. No prior skills are required – except a SCUBA certification for our diving projects. Our standard duration projects are tax-deductible in the US, and we encourage you to consult your tax advisor to get the details down.
The Bradt Wildlife and Conservation Volunteering Guide, which comprehensively evaluates more than 50 international conservation volunteer organisations, gave us full marks for our pre-departure information. Our cumulative score places us among the highest scoring organisations!
Inspiring Connections in Education
Earthwatch expeditions provide unparalleled learning experiences, turning amazing landscapes into natural classrooms. Around 4000 students and 5000 educators have benefited from Earthwatch fellowships. Funded by individuals, foundations, and corporations, these Fellowships have even allowed educators to teach 'live' from the field via real-time video streams. Students not only get to work with leading scientists, they also receive unique personal and professional development skills, and gain an understanding of their planet that transforms them into our environmental leaders of the future. It’s the mixture of education and adventure that has seen many of our student fellows choose to study science in higher education, and even pursue it as a career! Earthwatch fellowships also offer zookeepers the chance to enhance their knowledge of animals in the wild.
Earthwatch collaborates with the Open University, and OU students can gain full accreditation for their Earthwatch experience. Get in touch to find out more.
We also work with emerging conservationists in developing countries through our capacity development program thanks to a number of generous trusts and corporate partners. These sponsors help us to bring together conservationists, scientists and research staff from around a region or within the same field of research to share ideas, best practise and to learn by others examples. We equip participants with the skills and knowledge to collect and process environmental data, and provide young scientists with the inspiration and confidence to initiate their own research program. Since 1995, over 1600 individuals have benefited from the program.
Inspiring Connections in Business
Earthwatch is proud to collaborate with nearly 40 corporate partners around the world across a broad range of industry sectors. Companies are increasingly aware that the incorporation of sustainable practices into business strategies is not only better for the environment; it also makes good business sense. We select companies that take their environmental responsibilities and performance seriously and are open to working constructively with us to benefit the environment and help us achieve our mission. We work with our corporate partners to design and deliver learning and engagement programs for their employees to help them develop key leadership skills, networking and profile-raising opportunities. We also encourage a culture of sustainability by building a collective awareness, knowledge and engagement in the organisation's commitment to the environment. Earthwatch is one of the top Global Environmental NGOs featured in the "Business Guide to Partnering with NGOs and the United Nations," published in 2007 by The Financial Times, the United Nations Global Compact and Dalberg Global Development Advisors.
Since 1971, we’ve invested in nearly 1,400 conservation research projects in more than 120 countries. Around 85% of our budget directly supports research and engagement programs.
When you make a contribution to join an expedition, here’s how the figure breaks down (on average across all our projects).
- 57 per cent of your contribution is spent by the scientists managing the expedition. This typically covers costs for vital supplies, equipment, research permits, rents, utilities, and the hiring of local cooks or drivers as well as your food, accommodation, and local transport costs.
- 20 per cent of your contribution is spent by Earthwatch on political, meteorological, and physical risk assessments, health and safety policies, 24-7 crisis response and emergency management procedures, and associated training of research scientists.
- 12 per cent of your contribution is spent by Earthwatch to promote expeditions to the public and service your participation, including printing an Expedition Guide and website maintenance. We do not pay to advertise.
- 8 percent of your contribution is spent by Earthwatch to take your booking, review your participation forms, send you an expedition briefing pack, and thoroughly prepare you before departure for your expedition.
- 3 per cent of your contribution is spent on medical and evacuation insurance coverage, travel insurance cover, and offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions of your travel.
The Earthwatch website covers more than 2,000 pages of in-depth project descriptions, research achievements, news, events and opportunities. In the US, the organization is aided by a network of nearly 100 field representatives in 41 US states and Canada. Look out for our Events web pages which give details of public events, such as our free annual debate and lectures in London, UK.
The Earthwatch community is made up of 100,000 valued members and supporters all over the world. Our loyal supporter network helps to fund critical research, education and outreach efforts in the most threatened ecosystems and communities around the world.
As an organisation committed to carbon neutrality, Earthwatch monitors its resource use and is working to reduce its global environmental footprint. In 2012 we set a five year target of reducing the greenhouse house emissions associated with resource use by 10%. In our work in the field we assess the environmental credentials of potential accommodation and venues to be used by Earthwatch volunteers as part of our site assessment process. We also include sustainability guidance in the field manual issued to all of our partners and scientists to help them ensure that the principles of sustainability are integrated into field program design.
Earthwatch is developing a global environmental management system based on the requirements of ISO14001 and is working towards carbon neutrality (as defined by PAS2060:2010) as a key building block of that work. In the past two years we have established a global performance monitoring program and have established five year Carbon Management and Reduction Plan which includes GHG reduction targets for 2016.
Earthwatch seeks to purchase energy from renewable sources and measures energy consumption where practical.
Earthwatch has purchased high quality carbon credits to compensate for our carbon emissions since 2005. We currently purchase our carbon credits through Climate Care and have focused on purchasing credits supporting community and renewable energy projects.
Earthwatch scientists in Kenya are also developing the first community mangrove conservation project to be funded by the voluntary carbon market. It is gaining accreditation through Plan Vivo – the standard for designing and certifying community-based payments for ecosystem services (PES) programmes. The project will have a positive impact on mangrove forests in Gazi Bay, Kenya, benefit the local community, and has the potential to influence mangrove management policy throughout Kenya.
Earthwatch Institute has six offices worldwide. Contact us at:
256 Banbury Road,
Oxford OX2 7DE,
Phone: +44 (0)1865 318838 (Mon-Fri, 12PM-10PM GMT)
Fax: +44 (0) 1865-311-383
Earthwatch United States
114 Western Ave,
Boston, MA 02134,
Our phones are open Mon–Fri, 9AM–5PM EST
Toll-free Phone (US/Can): 1-800-776-0188
Phone: (978) 461-0081
Fax (978) 461-2332
126 Bank Street,
Phone: +61 (0)3-9682-6828
Fax: +61 (0)3-9686-3652
Food Science Bldg.4F
The University of Tokyo
1-1-1, Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
Earthwatch Hong Kong
Room 1302, Breakthrough Centre,
Woosung Street, Kowloon,
Phone: (852) 28381114
Fax: (852) 28381814