Earthwatch's COVID-19 Response
October 22th, 2020
Current Field Team Status
As of today, Earthwatch has cancelled all teams fielding through the month of December. We will continue to make cancellation decisions on a rolling basis.
The decision to cancel Earthwatch teams to date has largely been based on health and travel guidance and advisories from trusted authorities such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. State Department, and the World Health Organization, as well as our independent security advisor, On Call International. In some cases, cancellation decisions also relate to ongoing research challenges, including the potential impacts of COVID-19 on wildlife, the closure of parks and reserves to the public, and limitations on our PIs’ abilities to travel to their respective field sites.
Unfortunately, we have been forced to cancel the majority of our field season this year, which has had a tremendous impact on our financial wellbeing. Sadly, we know that we are far from alone. So many of you in our global Earthwatch community have been deeply impacted by this pandemic, and our thoughts are with you. We also know that together, we can and will get through this. If you would like to support Earthwatch during this crisis, we have recently set up an emergency Earthwatch Fund to support our ongoing operations.
Preparing for a Return to the Field
While the exact timeline for returning to in-person Earthwatch programs remains undetermined, we are committed to using the same science-driven decision-making methods that we have always relied on to guide this important process.
Below are just a few of the steps Earthwatch is taking to prepare for a new type of fielding:
Small team sizes: Earthwatch already specializes in small group travel, but further logistical adjustments are being made to keep teams small and easily distanced, yet effective.
More single accommodation options: We are adapting our programs to make single accommodations available wherever possible.
Physical Distancing and Mask Use: New fielding guidelines will require face masks during field work and physical distancing whenever possible during research activities, lectures, and meals. When maintaining physical distance is not possible, face masks will be required.
Enhanced sanitation: Frequently touched surfaces and common areas will be cleaned routinely, and shared equipment will be handled with gloves and/or sanitized after each use.
Protect local communities: Earthwatch supports research all over the world, often in remote communities. We are adjusting our logistics to limit our interactions with people outside of Earthwatch teams in order to limit the potential spread of infectious disease to vulnerable communities.
Disaster preparedness and international safety management have been the cornerstones of Earthwatch's operations throughout our near 50-year history. We are proud that our safety record has maintained the wellbeing of our volunteers and kept them informed, no matter where they have traveled. We are fully prepared to meet this same level of care and service through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because Earthwatch holds health and safety as a high priority for the field programs, your organization provides a gold standard for us to strive for, not just for our Earthwatch teams but for all groups that come to our campus for safe and inspiring experiences...We are so grateful for the time, thought, and effort you have put into your COVID-19 protocols and your site visit.
Sarah Hooper — Education Specialist, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
5 Ways to Engage with Earthwatch
As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the overwhelming generosity of our volunteers and donors to help us meet our commitments to our scientists and to operate our many education programs. If you're looking to support Earthwatch during this trying time, we want to make sure that you have the resources that you need. That's why we've compiled this list of the top ways that you can help us the most. From making a donation to our Earthwatch Fund to joining our Ambassador Program to registering for our new webinar series, discover the many ways you can help us to fulfill our mission.
Donate to the Earthwatch Fund
Help to sustain Earthwatch and its mission through this difficult period by pledging your support through a donation to our emergency Earthwatch Fund.
Make a contribution to a new or existing expedition fund and support future environmental research.
By contributing to an Expedition Fund to prepare for future travel and expeditions with Earthwatch, you’ll be helping to support our operational costs today. Simply log in to your MyEarthwatch portal and navigate to the "Fundraise" tab. Click the button to “Create a New Expedition Fund'' and fill out all of the fields that appear. Kick things off and demonstrate your commitment to join us in the field by making the first donation (minimum of $25). Then circulate your own unique Expedition Fund link to your network.
Register for our “Science Matters” Webinar Series
On April 9th, we’ll be launching a new webinar series to virtually connect our audience to some of our amazing scientists from around the world. In this challenging time, hear from the field researchers about the impact of COVID-19 on their work as well as their personal stories of science.
Sign Up for Our Newsletter
Sign up for the Earthwatch newsletter and you’ll receive updates on our webinar series, the release of new research expeditions, stories from the field, and practical tips for living more sustainably.
Take Action in your Own Backyard
From switching to clean energy to composting to reducing your consumption, help us to fulfill our mission by identifying ways to live more sustainably. Find out how to build a rain garden to manage stormwater runoff on your property or in your neighborhood in our latest blog post!