Earthwatch Institute recruits volunteers to go on field research expeditions as "citizen scientists" and work alongside leading scientists to save endangered species, protect threatened ecosystems, and improve the lives of people and animals in biodiversity hotspots.
More than 3,500 volunteers every year join Earthwatch expeditions to collect field data related to ecosystem services, climate change, ocean health, and cultural heritage. The data they gather helps scientists and policy-makers get the information they need to protect threatened species and places. Earthwatch-supported projects not only make a real difference on the ground, they also support global environmental agendas.
Our programs involve a global community of researchers, conservation volunteers, NGOs, and businesses working together towards a sustainable environment. Earthwatch invests $5.7 million annually to support more than 50 research projects across more than 30 countries. Since 1971, we've inspired 90,000 volunteers to join vital conservation research projects in the field, making us not only the largest environmental volunteer non-profit organization in the world, but also the best.*
Earthwatch volunteers are drawn from every walk of life: students, educators, families, conservation professionals, and corporate employees. One third of Earthwatch team members each year are returning volunteers. Volunteers range from 10 years old on our family teams to some in their 90s; teen teams and school group teams are open to 16 and 17 year old volunteers. The contributions our volunteers make help fund the cost of research expeditions and cover food and lodging (contributions are tax-deductible in the US). In 2010, expedition contribution costs (which do not include travel costs) range from $450 to $5,750, averaging $3,100 for expeditions ranging between 3 and 22 days. No prior skills are required except SCUBA certification for diving projects.
Since Earthwatch projects are located around the world, our work often involves international travel. Earthwatch uses carbon offsets to compensate for the emissions we produce with an equivalent carbon saving. This involves purchasing carbon credits or emission reduction credits, which have been generated by projects that have reduced carbon emissions. These projects involve renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forest restoration projects. We currently work with Climate Care and the Carbon Fund to purchase carbon offsets for the air travel and local travel of our staff members, volunteers, and most fellows, and are designing programs that minimize the amount of travel required.
*Bradt's Wildlife & Conservation Volunteering, The Complete Guide awards Earthwatch the highest marks for demonstrable achievements, as well as the highest cumulative mark, in the 2009 edition.
For more information, visit Earthwatch Institute's Web site. or call 1-800-776-0188.