Extraordinary teachers know that inspiration is contagious.
Earthwatch’s long-running Teach Earth fellowship, launched in 1975, is one of the few programs in the country that embeds teachers with world-class scientists on active research expeditions. By taking part in meaningful, hands-on research in the field, teachers return to school with a fresh perspective and are better able to engage their students on topics of science and environmental stewardship.
Teach Earth fellows step out of the classroom for 7 to 14 days and work alongside scientists to study nature, learning real-world research protocols, and recording observations and measurements in the field. They collect data that underpin scientific progress and can, over time, change the world. In the evenings, teacher fellows work together to brainstorm new lesson plans that will bring science to life back in the classroom.
Teach Earth is open to K-12 teachers of all disciplines, and is unique among professional development opportunities in three key ways:
Depth of Experience
Teach Earth fellows gain confidence and a first-hand understanding of science as they conduct hands-on research in the field. Each project has been designed by a PhD-level scientist, who also leads lectures, trains teachers on data collection techniques, and shows how those data are used to answer hypothesis-driven problems. Teachers gain more in-depth access to scientists than through any other program, spending 7 to 14 days in the field together.
An Earthwatch expedition takes educators away from their everyday lives, out of their comfort zones, and into the natural world—where they not only bear witness to the impacts humans have on the environment, but where they can take meaningful steps toward saving threatened species and habitats. Humbled and inspired by nature and each other, Teach Earth fellows return to their communities with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility.
All participants on a Teach Earth expedition are educators—peers who share your passions and frustrations, and who can be a valuable support network throughout your career. Each team also has a senior fellow who leads workshops and helps teachers translate their field experiences into lesson plans they can use in their own schools and communities. And after your expedition, you’ll have access to ongoing learning and networking opportunities through a private alumni Facebook group, a seasonal educator e-newsletter, and an annual webinar series.
Too often teachers sit in professional development classes and HEAR about how they should engage students with hands-on, problem solving experiences. On my Earthwatch expedition, I got to experience first-hand what engaging learning truly is, and this will make me a better teacher.
Erica Marlaine — Teach Earth fellow, kindergarten and pre-K special education teacher at Nevada Avenue Elementary School, Canoga Park, California
Teach Earth Qualifications
- K-12 classroom teacher in the United States
- Available to travel for 7-14 days
- Passion for education
- Interest in environmental issues or how scientific research is conducted
- Desire to improve environmental or science education
- Enthusiasm for collaborating with a team of teachers from diverse backgrounds and expertise
- Commitment to engaging your students and community inside and outside the classroom
(An individual may only receive two Teach Earth fellowships in his or her lifetime, unless applying to return as a Senior Fellow).
Teach Earth Award Details
In recent years, we’ve received an astounding number of applications for Teach Earth—over 15 times as many applicants as fully funded fellowships. In response to this interest, we now include partially funded fellowships at a subsidized rate. You must specify on your application whether you are seeking a fully or partially funded fellowship. If awarded a fellowship, we will inform you of the level of funding covered by Earthwatch grants. All applications will be reviewed need-blind, and fellows chosen based on merit.
How to Apply for a Teach Earth Fellowship
Currently the application process for this fellowship is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be posting a new date for our applications on this page once we are ready to resume our fielding season. Stay tuned!)
I would have never imagined an Earthwatch expedition was even a possible trip for my students without Project Kindle. My biggest takeaway was if I want to make this trip happen, I can make it happen.
William Leou — 2018 Project Kindle fellow, 6th grade science teacher at the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, Brooklyn, NY