Earthwatch connects people with scientists worldwide to conduct environmental research and empowers them with the knowledge they need to conserve the planet.
Citizen Science, Community Engagement
Since its founding in 1971, Earthwatch has been taking action to address global change through a time-tested model of citizen science and community engagement. By pairing volunteers from all sectors of society with researchers around the world, Earthwatch teams have helped to safeguard critical habitats, conserve biodiversity, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.
The citizen science community is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of inclusive language and its impact on audiences and communities. By moving away from terms like "citizen" in favor of alternatives such as "collaborative science" or "participatory science," we aim to address the adverse connotations associated with citizenship, which can exclude people who are not legal citizens. This shift in language recognizes the importance of diverse perspectives and broad public participation, regardless of citizenship status. Please see the Citizen Science Association's resource "Coming to Terms" for more information.
When referring to our own work, Earthwatch prefers the terms "collaborative science" and "participatory science." As we transition to a more inclusive language, you may still encounter communications in which we refer to earlier work, the practitioner community, or the work of our peers as "citizen science."
Earthwatch does more than back vital research; it inspires us to understand our global responsibilities as citizens of the world.
Dr. E.O. Wilson — Harvard University
Our Focus Areas
Engage with People and Communities
Earthwatch is a global organization with offices in the U.S., U.K., Australia, India, and Japan. We bring together students, teachers, corporate employees, community members, and the public, in nearly 30 countries around the world.
Support Scientific Research
We currently support more than 40 research projects globally that produce rigorous, relevant, and impactful science, address global change, and actively involve community participants.
We’re committed to helping educators and students discover and protect our environment through transformational learning experiences that promote environmentally sustainable action.
Partnerships for a Sustainable Planet
We work with a wide variety of partners, including corporations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions to implement sustainable policies, processes, and practices that promote environmental responsibility both in and out of the office.
At Earthwatch, we believe in the value of creating meaningful connections as a solution to the environmental and social challenges we face. Every person has something to contribute towards a better future. When people feel a sense of belonging, they are equipped with the power to create change towards a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world.
Earthwatch supports scientists who produce meaningful research that informs the innovative solutions needed to solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But these scientists can’t do it alone. By connecting them to students, teachers, corporate employees, community leaders, and members of the public, among many other groups, we are opening channels to communicate science far beyond academic circles. Our model provides people with the opportunity to experience scientific research first-hand and empowers them to contribute to solving problems both locally and globally.
We acknowledge that science has a history of being exclusive. Building a diverse and equitable environment takes constant work and attention. At Earthwatch, we still have a lot of work to do and are committed to tearing down the barriers that prevent all voices from being heard and present in the field of science. By creating opportunities for research to be accessible to people regardless of their scientific, educational, or social background, we believe we will have a greater impact on creating a more sustainable planet.
Earthwatch is dedicated to supporting environmental conservation by connecting people and scientists all over the world. Every year, we engage students, teachers, corporate employees, community leaders, and members of the public in research that informs innovative environmental solutions.
Earthwatch mobilizes both local and international volunteers to accomplish this mission. While our research expeditions depend on travel that generates greenhouse gas emissions, this research is critical to understanding and combating climate change and biodiversity threats.
Earthwatch has significantly contributed to conservation throughout history, supporting policy plans, protected areas, national parks, and refuges. Expedition members were instrumental in achieving significant victories, such as providing a decade's worth of data to inform Belize's decision to establish the world's first national ray sanctuary in 2018.
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint
While we believe in the transformative impact of our international projects, Earthwatch is actively working to reduce our carbon footprint. Regional and home-based initiatives have reduced our reliance on international travel over the last decade. This includes virtual programming, corporate partnerships, and community-based participatory programs that empower people with knowledge and tools to take action on climate change and environmental conservation in their communities.
Internal actions include transitioning to a remote-first workplace that no longer requires employees to commute to work daily, allowing us to significantly reduce our office space to a ¼ of its previous size.
Although we did not make these changes solely due to the climate impacts, they support our goal of operating more sustainably. And while we recognize that these actions do not fully offset our operations' carbon footprint, they are steps in our ongoing commitment to sustainability.
Local Initiatives and Youth Empowerment
Our research expeditions and programming aim to work with local groups and institutions to identify and implement environmental solutions that address community needs. Operation Healthy Air, our at-home air quality monitoring program, provides the tools and training needed to empower people to mitigate their exposure to poor air quality. Our Global Pollinator Watch, established in 2020, has engaged more than 400 people to collect over 300,000 observations of pollinators and plant species in their communities.
Additionally, Earthwatch is empowering future generations of leaders through regional youth programming such as Girls in Science. Since 2016, this program has allowed more than 100 high school students to work alongside leading women scientists while collecting critical environmental data. In 2022, 82% of Girls in Science participants said that the program motivated them to engage in civic or community action to support environmental sustainability.
Our Ongoing Dedication to a Sustainable Future
We take pride in bringing people and organizations from all over the world together to cultivate a sense of responsibility for our planet and learn about sustainable practices. Earthwatch is adapting and improving its practices to address the global climate crisis, guided by the role of science in environmental issues. As we continue to grow, Earthwatch remains committed to sustainability and making a lasting impact on our shared environment.