FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is eligible?
All K-12 classroom educators in the United States are eligible to apply for a fellowship. Funding for fellows varies geographically. Please submit an interest form if you would like to apply, you will be notified when the application round opens and if you are eligible.
Where does Earthwatch get its funding?
Teach Earth USA fellowships are supported by generous individual donors, foundations, and grants, to make classrooms exciting and inspirational.
Why does Earthwatch select teachers from all subjects and grades?
Environmental issues are not problems for science to solve; they are obstacles for humanity to overcome.
At the core of our work with educators is the belief that nature and the environment can be brought into teaching and classrooms in many ways and no matter what subject is being taught. Young people can learn about environmental sustainability from their role models, and educators can use the natural world as a stimulus to teach any subject including math, drama, art, languages. If we are to inspire young people to become the environmental ambassadors of tomorrow, then education on environmental issues cannot be limited to certain subjects, but must be a theme running throughout the curriculum and embedded in the school’s ethos.
Can I apply for a funded fellowship on any expedition?
No. At this time we only offer Teach Earth fellowships to projects listed on the Teach Earth USA expedition webpage. However, fellowship expedition offerings may expand throughout the year with additional funding.
For specific expeditions, please sign up through our public program. Though these expeditions require a contribution cost, you may create an Expedition Fund to invite family or friends to donate and help offset any of your expenses.
How are teachers selected as fellows?
Each application is reviewed by a panel of Teach Earth USA alumni. Earthwatch collates review panel scores, candidate availability, and grant requirements to select Teach Earth fellows.
How competitive is this program?
Earthwatch receives between 200-300 Teach Earth USA Fellowship applications each year for about 50 fellowships.
Is this fellowship only open to teachers from public schools?
No. We accept K-12 classroom teachers from an array of school systems including public, private, and charter schools.
Will I hear if I have been selected or not?
Yes. All applicants will be notified by email of their status. It is our intention to notify all applicants by phone or email on a rolling basis in March or April. Please note that while we hope to notify applicants as early as possible, and understand the scheduling constraints faced by teachers, schools and districts, the time required to conduct a thorough and fair application review is difficult to predict. Non-accepted applicants may still be awarded if additional funding becomes available.
What if I was not selected this year?
Non-accepted applicants may still be awarded a fellowship if additional funding becomes available. Other opportunities to attend an expedition are available through our public program on our website at https://earthwatch.org/expeditions
Why was I not selected?
Applications are reviewed for the fulfillment of the eligibility requirements, grammatical correctness and effort, as well as evidence of passionate teaching that stretches beyond the basics of the classroom. We look for engaged professionals who are willing to learn and do more. If you would like more feedback on your application, please contact us at email@example.com, and we will do our best to get back to you!
Can I reapply to Teach Earth USA?
Yes. If you were not selected for a fellowship within the last year we encourage you to apply again! You may apply as many times as you like, however, educators are only eligible to receive 2 Teach Earth USA fellowships in their lifetime.
Can I choose my expedition once selected as a Teach Earth Fellow?
No. Teach Earth fellow teams are carefully composed based on availability, interests, and a diversity of skills to enhance the experience of every Teach Earth fellow.
My summer availability changed, what can I do?
If your summer plans change please contact your Program Coordinator immediately. There is a chance that our staff will be able to place you on another expedition, though this is not guaranteed. Fellowships do not carry over from year to year, but we welcome you to apply again if unexpected circumstances prevent you from continuing your fellowship.
How do I complete my forms?
After you submit your Award Agreement, you will receive an email from your Program Coordinator confirming your place on the expedition and outlining how to log in to your My Earthwatch portal. Through My Earthwatch you will be able to complete all of the required volunteer forms online.
Do I book my own travel?
Yes. Teach Earth fellows need to book their own travel to and from the expedition rendezvous point (found in the Expedition Briefing) either on their own or with their chosen travel company. If you are uncomfortable booking your own international travel, we recommend you speak with our independent travel partner at Raptim Travel. All project related travel questions should be directed to your Program Coordinator.
When can I begin to book my travel to the expedition?
Your Program Coordinator will notify you when to book travel, once the Expedition Briefing packet is available. It is VERY important that you schedule to arrive at the rendezvous on time and stay for the duration of the expedition using the information provided in the Expedition Briefing. Scheduling travel to arrive late or depart early, without consulting Earthwatch, will disqualify you from participating in the program.
What are the research tasks like?
The research tasks may vary drastically between expeditions. On all projects volunteers can expect to get their hands dirty, work full days, sweat, and spend a significant chunk of time outside. Specific tasks may include observation, counting, sample collection, hiking, data entry, or even animal handling. All tasks will be explained and taught on-site regardless of previous experience—the expeditions are designed so that anyone may contribute to the research. Field work can be very tedious and require long hours of concentration, but you can be sure that a team effort, a variety of tasks, and the picturesque landscape will make the time fly!
I have previously received an Educator Fellowship award. Can I apply again?
Teachers may receive a maximum of two Educator Fellowships awards in their lifetime. However, teachers who have already received two Fellowship awards are still eligible to apply for a Senior Fellowship.
What if I want to bring my students on an Expedition?
Are there similar fellowship opportunities for students?
Yes. Earthwatch currently runs a student fellowship program for Los Angeles County teenagers. The Ignite LA Student Science Awards program aims to stimulate curiosity and interest in science and technology through participation in a fully-funded, scientific research expedition during the summer. For more information visit our website at: https://earthwatch.org/education/student-fellowships/ignite
I didn’t find my answer.
Please contact the Teach Earth USA Program Coordinator with any further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-776-0188 ext. 265.