Earthwatch Builds on Citizen Science Success
Earthwatch today welcomed the findings of the UK Environmental Observation Framework (UK-EOF) that the involvement of volunteers in gathering scientific data offers "high value to research, policy and practice".
After over forty years of creating, leading and supporting projects in many ecosystems in all continents, Earthwatch believes that 'citizen science' activities will continue to grow internationally as mobile phones incorporate hand-help mapping and data recording apps. The age of citizen science 'observatory' has well and truly begun.
Over 100,000 volunteers have worked on Earthwatch Expeditions since 1971.
Nigel Winser, Executive Vice President at Earthwatch said "Having taken almost 100,000 volunteers on our expeditions and working on programmes with some of the world's largest companies, we know that for citizen science to really work it must be sustainable. It's not just about data collection. It's about getting to the very heart of issues, making a contribution, building understanding and above all drawing people and teams together.
"We have taken volunteers to Madagascar to track rare animals, to coral reefs to measure how they are changing, and to Costa Rica to investigate techniques for making coffee production more environmentally-friendly. There's a whole world of opportunity in citizen science and as we start our fifth decade the prospects have never been brighter for individuals or for corporations."
Earthwatch supports almost 60 projects in 40 countries and to date has fielded more than 100,000 volunteers to support these projects - ranging from research that supports the effective management of protected areas in the steppe grasslands of Mongolia, to shark research and conservation along the Belize Barrier Reef. The organisation has worked with more than 100 corporate partners and 75,000 of their staff, trained and supported more than 1,600 scientists in emerging economies, and involved more than 4,000 students and 5,000 teachers on field research programmes.