Fall may be our favorite time of year at Earthwatch. These past few weeks we've been hearing about the great work volunteers did all summer on behalf of our shared climate, oceans, and endangered cultures and natural resources worldwide.
See volunteer Alexandra Bowers' account of her time on the Climate Change, Canopies, and Wildlife project in Ecuador, and check out our story on Alcoa's Earthwatch Fellowship Program to see examples of how different types of volunteers—people just like you—have been making a difference.
(For some extra inspiration, read the story of sailor Brian Thompson's bid to help spread Earthwatch's mission while sailing round the world in pursuit of the prestigious Vendée Globe with the support of Team Pindar.)
And we've been getting exciting reports from our Principal Investigators about what they've accomplished in recent months (like discovering a giant squid!) and what they hope to accomplish in the near-future (like collaring more endangered blue and gold macaws) as a result.
On the home front, we've wrapped up this year's Beat the Heat Climate Change Campaign—which included three Boston-area volunteering opportunities and three men in skirts—with the energizing arrival of new members and new donors to Earthwatch.
We've also launched a weekly Earthwatch blog on the award-winning Treehugger.com site, which attracts more than 2 million unique visitors every month. Treehugger is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream and has been named one of the most powerful blogs. Our affiliation with Treehugger comes thanks to our partnership with Planet Green and the Discovery Channel . Check out our posts and author team, join in the conversation, and send the link to your friends.
All these good results make us eager to meet the next challenges—and we're happy to announce the arrival of our 2009 Earthwatch Expedition Guide (order yours today!) to help you set your sights on what you want to accomplish in 2009.
Whatever course you're setting this fall, we hope this issue of the Expeditioner puts some wind in your sails.
Expeditioner Society Exclusive:
For Peru’s Amazonian Forests, Much Depends on a Bird Named Freedom
by Elizabeth Shedd
On January 28, 2008, deep in the pristine jungles of Peru, the last of three satellite collars was affixed to an anxious Ara ararauna as part of Earthwatch’s Macaws of the Peruvian Amazon research project. Without a day to spare, Dr. Donald Brightsmith and I, along with two other members of his research team, had been waiting for hours in patient silence in two hot and muddy blinds in the forest—just as they’d be doing for the prior 24 days—for the chance to capture and collar a blue and gold macaw.
At about 1 PM, Don and I heard a distinct rustling, indicating a macaw had caught its foot in one of the slip knot nooses we’d hidden along the species’ favorite perches, followed by the sound of hushed but excited voices from the other blind. Researchers Gabriela Vigo Trauco and Lizzy Ortiz had captured a stunning blue and gold macaw, just hours before Don had to return to the States, and just as the birds’ presence in the area was beginning its seasonal decline. A sense of exhausted joy and relief moved through the forest; these are the moments field researchers live for.
>> Keep reading
Solo Sailor Racing Through—and for—the World's Oceans
Earthwatch ambassador and record-breaking yachtsman Brian Thompson hopes to make history by becoming the first British sailor to win the most coveted prize in solo ocean racing, the Vendée Globe, a round-the-world, solo yacht race regarded as the ultimate challenge in ocean racing.
As challenging as the race is on its own terms, Thompson is upping the ante by sailing for science as well as for the record books. He'll be recording sightings of marine life for Earthwatch researchers as he skippers the high-performance The Pindar Open 60-class yacht through 23,000 nautical miles—which should take about three months.
>> Keep reading
Earthwatch Fights Climate Change with the 2008 Beat the Heat Campaign
Earthwatch launched its two-month 2008 Beat the Heat Climate Change Campaign on August 14 with the second annual—and carbon-neutral—Beat the Heat fundraiser at the Museum of Science. The kickoff event raised more than $36,000 and engaged hundreds of Earthwatchers that night alone in support of Earthwatch's climate change research projects.
>> Find out more & see the pictures of our men in skirts!
Earthwatch Alcoa Employee Fellows Meet the Challenge of the 21st Century
For the sixth consecutive year, in 2008 Earthwatch partnered with Alcoa, Inc. and The Alcoa Foundation to address critical issues in climate change, fresh water conservation, and sustainable natural resource management by sending 15 Alcoa employees from 8 different countries on 6 different Earthwatch research expeditions.
>> Read more about the Earthwatch Alcoa Employee Fellowship Program.
Expeditioner Featured Photo
Earthwatch Macaws of the Peruvian Amazon PI Dr. Don Brightsmith, Gabriela Vigo Trauco, and Lizzy Ortiz with an endangered blue and gold macaw they've just put a satellite tracking collar on and are about to release. © Earthwatch Institute. See the letter from co-PI Alan Lee about why this research is so important.
Earthwatch In the News
Word continues to spread about Earthwatch and its volunteers working for a sustainable future. Read more about recent coverage in Scientific American, in The Wall Street Journal, on The Weather Channel, and more.
Thursday 4 December, 2008
Field Rep Presentation at Great Falls Public Library: Meet Earthwatch Field Rep Muriel Horacek and learn which Earthwatch expedition is right for you.
19 January, 2009
Presentation on Earthwatch's Marine Mammal Research at Airport Marina Sierra Club: Renee Klein will present some results of Earthwatch's research on the marine mammals of Monterey Bay.
|Learn about the Earthwatch Education Fellowships for students, teachers, and other educators now accepting applications according to these deadlines:
|November 17th 2008
||Live From the Field Fellowships – Educators - Spring 2009 placement preference
Summer Fellowships - Educator and Student – priority consideration
|December 1st 2008
||Student Challenge Awards Program
Until Next Month...
We'd like your feedback on the Expeditioner! Email us your comments, your ideas for stories, your photos or videos from expeditions you've been on, etc. — and thanks for reading about Earthwatch!
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Donate | Join an Expedition | Attend an Event
|IN THIS ISSUE:
|Expeditioner Society Exclusive
|Solo Sailor Racing Through the World's Oceans
|Order your 2009 Guide!
|Earthwatch Fights Climate Change with the 2008 Beat the Heat Campaign
|Earthwatch Alcoa Employee Fellows Meet the Challenge of the 21st Century
|Meet Earthwatch scientist Alan Lee
|Photos - News - Events
Start Planning How You Want to Make a Difference in 2009
We're happy to announce the arrival of our 2009 Expedition Guide, which tells you everything you need to know about the research projects in more than 30 countries around the world where you can do your part for our shared environment in the months ahead.
With an astounding array of photos and first-hand accounts from recent volunteers, this year's Guide lets you know just what's at stake for habitats, species, and communities in each of our projects, and why your participation will matter.
Order your copy today.
Hey, college students:
Want to make the most of your time between terms by doing something good for the world way off-campus?
Earthwatch has 13 expeditions you can be part of in January 2009 at a reduced contribution — as much as 30% off — projects that’ll give you great experience and let you make a difference.
From the beaches of the Bahamas and Costa Rica to the forests of the Amazon and Madagascar, from the plains of the American West to the coral reefs of Thailand, endangered species and habitats need you to make sure your break doesn’t go by without doing some good. Check out the list of “J-Term” Expeditions online and call 800.776.0188 TODAY for more information.
Volunteer Voices: Field Diary
High up in the cloud forests of Ecuador, a group of local people, scientists, and volunteers are working together to contribute to the sustainable future of this ecosystem, which supports thousands of species of plants, more than 300 species of birds, countless insects, roughly 45 known mammal species—and perhaps many more species which remain undiscovered. This is the Santa Lucia Cloudforest Reserve, my home for the next two weeks.
>> Follow Alexandra's journey into the cloud forest
Earthwatch's YouTube Channel Featured Video
Enjoy some volunteer video from the June 2008 Bahamian Reef Survey Earthwatch team—and submit video of your expedition!
Meet the Scientist: Alan Lee
A Letter from Macaws of the Peruvian Amazon co-Principal Investigator Alan Lee, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Macaws, the brilliant, long-tailed parrots of Neotropical forests, are seriously threatened by both forest clearing and poaching for the pet trade. Young macaws sell for thousands of dollars, if they survive capture. Poachers cut down nesting trees for chicks and lurk at clay licks, where macaws and parrots congregate by the hundreds. Although increased ecotourism focused on watching macaws has helped reduce poaching, it may be causing its own problems by disturbing these birds.
>> Keep reading
Publications and Findings by Earthwatch Scientists
Find out about recent publications by Earthwatch Principal Investigators Dr. Giovanni Bearzi, Dr. Scott Eckert, Dr. Frank Paladino, Dr. Kevin Robinson, Dr. James Spotila, and Dr. Sean Van Sommeran.
It's Tax Deductible!
As you look ahead to next year, remember that you may be able to deduct the cost of a 2009 Expedition from your 2008 taxes. If you submit your minimum contribution to reserve a spot on an expedition by 5 pm on Wednesday, December 31 and your expedition fields no later than March 1, 2009, you may be able to deduct that contribution from your 2008 taxes. As always, please consult your own tax professional for specific regulations and advice.