School Group Terms & Conditions
Registering for an Expedition Place
1. How do I enroll?
The first step for group leaders is to select a project and identify the dates when your group would be able to go. Earthwatch will work with the leader to select a project that matches your group’s interests, desired destination, desired schedule, and budget. Depending on the project, expedition dates may be created to match group needs, and therefore would not necessarily have to fit within the published schedule. However, the sooner you start talking to us about your preferred project(s) and dates the more likely it is we will be able to provide it. So don’t delay! Contact a Student Expedition Specialist for more information.
After the group leader has selected a project and dates have been confirmed by the Earthwatch Scientist, a group agreement form and volunteer registration forms will be sent to the group leader. The agreement form should be sent to Earthwatch at the address below. 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 Earthwatch receives his or her deposit. The registrations and deposits should be collected by the group leader and submitted to Earthwatch either via fax (01865 311383) or post to:
Groups/Public Program Coordinator
256 Banbury Rd
2. General Payment Information
Earthwatch accepts credit cards (Visa, MasterCard or American Express), cheques, or bank transfers. Cheques should be made payable to Earthwatch Institute. Volunteers can make payments individually through any payment method above, but group leaders should collect the payments and submit to Earthwatch in one envelope, to the address above. Please clearly mark payments with:
- School/organisation name
- Group leader’s full name
- Expedition name (e.g. 'Costa Rican Coffee' or 'Trinidad’s Leatherback Sea Turtles'.)
Cheques should also contain the name of the participant and the name, address, and phone number of the person signing the cheque.
If the group is fundraising for the expedition, contributors’ cheques can either be made out directly to Earthwatch and collected by the group leader OR they can be made out to and submitted to the participating school, which will then issue a cheque to Earthwatch for the full amount.
3. What is the Payment Schedule and Process?
- 15 June, 2013 — Due Date for Initial Deposits for 2013 Early Enrollment
- 15 November, 2013 – Due Date for Initial Deposits for 2013 Autumn Enrollment
Initial Deposits of £300 per participant are required to secure a place on the expedition.
Final Payment Schedule:
|Departure Date for Expedition
|1 Oct - 28 February
120 days prior
|1 Mar - 31 May
|1 June - 30 Sept
4. Exchange, Refund, and Cancellation Policy
Cancellations and exchanges up until final payment deadline (based on above schedule):
- Cancellation: the initial deposit of £300 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 expedition start date.
Cancellations and exchanges after final payment deadline (based on above schedule)
- Cancellation: All payments are non-refundable.
- Exchange: Replacements will be considered on a case by case basis and are subject to a £300 fee. Volunteer Forms are due at least 90 days before the expedition 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 expedition without refund.
How to Cancel
Volunteers (or parents/guardians if volunteer is under 18 years of age) must cancel their participation on the project in writing by letter.
Cancellations will not be accepted via phone or email. The effective date of cancellation will be the postmark on the letter of notification. Post cancellations to: Groups/Public Program Coordinator, Earthwatch Institute, 256 Banbury Rd, Oxford, OX2 7DE.
Finding a Replacement
If you cancel and have a suitable replacement whose registration form and payment arrives in the same envelope as your cancellation notice, you will receive a refund in keeping with the exchange policy above--provided Earthwatch finds the replacement suitable. Should the group leader be unable to find a suitable replacement, the group contribution costs will be adjusted to compensate for the smaller group size.
Note: Any funds retained due to late cancellation will support expedition field research and will be considered a charitable gift to Earthwatch Institute.
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 expenses associated with a cancelled expedition but our insurance arrangements provide cover for these expenses
Earthwatch pricing for groups is based upon the total number of participants. If your group does not meet the number of expected participants, Earthwatch reserves the right to re-price accordingly. Earthwatch’s leader-goes-free promotion is normally based on a ratio of 6 paying participants to one leader. Under this promotion, the contribution cost for the leader is pro-rated among the paying participants. Should the group not fulfil the 6:1 ratio of participants to group leaders, then the group leader would either need to pay for his or her place, or the cost of their participation would be split among the reduced number of paying participants, resulting in an increased cost per paying participants. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact Earthwatch.
6. What does the contribution cover?
The contribution cost associated with each expedition, covers your meals, accommodation, on-site travel (not airfare or other travel costs to/from the rendezvous point), emergency medical and 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. Earthwatch has a partnership with New Headings should your group be interested in purchasing any gear (essential or non-essential as designated in your Expedition Briefing) for the expedition.
7. What about travel insurance?
The contribution cost of your expedition includes our mandatory emergency medical and evacuation insurance. You can find the most current information on what is covered within this policy at www.earthwatch.org/europe/expeditions/insuranceinfo. This insurance policy has what Earthwatch believes to be an appropriate level of cover for joining Earthwatch expeditions. This insurance cannot be waived for any reason. Should you wish to organise additional cover you are free to do so at your own expense.
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 fees or a decrease in field time. Earthwatch expedition costs do not include airfare or other travel costs. However, Earthwatch has a partnership with STA Travel which offers travel advise and support. Find out more on our volunteer resources page.
9. Risk and Safety Management
Earthwatch subscribes to an international risk management provider 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.
10. Can I be removed from an expedition?
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 behaviour 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.
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