Earthwatch was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1971. A need to invent a new funding model for scientific research became apparent, as dwindling government funding was combined with an increased urgency in the need for scientific information and action.
The innovative idea of engaging general public into the scientific process by bringing together individual volunteers and scientists on field research projects was developed, not only to provide this alternative means of funding, but also providing a dedicated labour force for field scientists.
This bridging between the science and the general public also helped increase the public's understanding of science, and their knowledge of environmental issues, transforming values, attitudes and behaviour. An increased motivation and commitment to the conservation cause ensued, creating a growing network of people who were not only passionate about the world that they lived in, but wanted to do something about it.
In 1971 Earthwatch started with just 4 hand-picked scientists from the Smithsonian Institute, and 39 volunteers working on these 4 teams.
Earthwatch was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1971.