Earthwatch requires proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for participation on all expeditions.
Our COVID-19 Response
Earthwatch’s experienced risk management team, in close partnership with our scientists and field staff, continues to develop, evaluate, and adjust our COVID-19 safety protocols in accordance with the most recent public health guidelines and travel advisories at both an international and local level.
As always, Earthwatch is committed to using the same science-driven decision-making methods that we have always relied on to guide this important process. International risk management has been the cornerstone of Earthwatch's operations throughout our 50-year history. We are proud of our safety record and are fully prepared to meet this same level of care and service through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please remember that the pandemic is an evolving situation, and our decisions and practices may change at any time as we learn new information or recommendations from authorities change.
Because the impacts and understanding of COVID-19 are constantly evolving, and rules vary in different locations across the world, it is particularly important that you refer to public health authorities, such as the CDC, WHO or the website for your embassy within the project country for entry requirements and the most recent COVID-specific guidance for your destination.
COVID Ready Expeditions & Field Team Status
COVID Ready enhanced safety measures are available on the following expeditions (see COVID Ready definition below):
- Amazon Riverboat Exploration
- Climate Change: Sea to Trees at Acadia National Park
- Conserving Threatened Rhinos in South Africa
- Conserving Wild Bees and Other Pollinators of Costa Rica
- Costa Rican Sea Turtles
- Cracking the Code: the Mysteries of Native Bees in Utah
- Discovering Ancient Societies in Portugal
- Following Forest Owls in the Western U.S.
- Killer Whales and Their Prey in Iceland
- Marine Mammals and Predators in Costa Rica
- Shark and Ray Conservation in Belize
- South African Penguins
- Sustaining Forests, Biodiversity, and Livelihoods on Washington's Olympic Peninsula
- Tracking Caterpillars in Tropical Forests (Costa Rica location only)
- Tracking Sea Turtles in The Bahamas
- Unearthing Ancient History in Tuscany
- Walking With African Wildlife
- Wildlife in the Changing Andorran Pyrenees
We will continue adding expeditions to this list as they become able to meet our enhanced COVID safety requirements. You can also filter by the term “COVID Ready” on our Expedition Search web page.
If you do not see a COVID Ready stamp on an expedition web page, then it means enhanced safety preparations are still in progress for that project. If you are already booked on a team, we will contact you directly when your expedition becomes COVID Ready, to let you know the next steps.
Volunteers can also get detailed, up-to-date travel information about any Earthwatch project destination by referring to our travel risk management partner, On Call International.
Through careful logistical planning, safety preparation, and close collaboration with our researchers, we have created a project qualification called “COVID Ready.”
Our COVID safety measures currently include (but are not limited to):
Vaccination Requirements: Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for participation on all expeditions. Earthwatch strongly encourages you to stay up-to-date with your vaccinations, including receiving booster doses if available. You will be required to provide proof of vaccination prior to fielding and should bring a copy with you when traveling.
Mask use: As of June 1, 2022, face masks will be mandatory when required by local regulations, requested by program leaders or service providers, or recommended based on local conditions. All participants on all programs must bring a supply of masks with them for use whenever needed.
Earthwatch supports a mask-friendly environment on all programs. In settings where masks are optional, any individual who prefers to continue to mask will be supported in that decision.
Adapted Logistics: All volunteers will have single accommodations (with possibilities for rooming with members of your household upon request). Meals and activities will take place outdoors whenever possible. Where practical, physical distance will be maintained between individuals and ventilation will be increased indoors and in vehicles as much as possible.
Daily Health Checks: All team members will self-monitor and report on their health status daily throughout the expedition.
Prior to fielding, do not travel to your Earthwatch expedition if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or have had a recent potential exposure. Earthwatch is maintaining flexible transfer options in order to encourage responsible participation.
Protecting local communities: To avoid posing additional risks to the communities where we work, interactions with local community members (outside of the research team staff) may be limited.
COVID Test Results and Other Travel Needs: We have identified testing options for homeward travel for each COVID Ready expedition. COVID-specific information and resources are provided in Expedition Logistics Document for booked participants to help you stay up to date.
Contingency Planning: We have added a communicable disease response plan, including plans for quarantine, testing, and patient care, to our expeditions’ Emergency Response Plans, which are made available to all participants on site.
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