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 will step out of the classroom for 7 to 14 days and work alongside scientists to study nature, learn real-world research protocols, and record 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 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 schools and communities. 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
How to Apply for a Teach Earth Fellowship
- Click here to apply for Teach Earth 2024!
- Complete your online application by January 12, 2024.
- Fellowship notifications will be sent by April 30, 2024.
- 2023 teams will run for 7–12 days between late June and mid-August.
- Interested in applying for Teach Earth but missed the deadline to apply? Click here to complete an interest form. We will notify you when we launch the application for 2025.
- Direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you looking to spread the word about this opportunity with friends and colleagues? Please share our flyer for Teach Earth 2024!
Teach Earth Award Details
We were thrilled to field our Teach Earth 2023 teams on Climate Change and Caterpillars in Nevada and Conserving Marine Mammals in Costa Rica. Check out the Nevada and Costa Rica blogs for a glimpse of the Teach Earth expedition experience. We look forward to welcoming a new cohort of passionate educators in 2024!
Each year, Earthwatch fundraises to cover the cost of as many Teach Earth fellowships as possible. This includes the expedition, travel stipend, and a unique Teach Earth fellowship experience. In recent years, we’ve received an astounding number of applications for Teach Earth—over 20 times as many applicants as fully funded fellowships. In response to this interest, we now include partially funded fellowships at a subsidized rate. With partially funded fellowships, Earthwatch funding covers a portion of the total program cost, and the teacher applies external funding to cover the remainder. External funding sources may include personal funds, school support, or grants.
You must specify whether you seek a fully or partially funded fellowship on your application. 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 are chosen based on merit.
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 their lifetime unless applying to return as a Senior Fellow).
Are you a high school teacher interested in learning how to take your students out into the field?
Check out Project Kindle!
This experience has made me a better teacher in so many ways. It has reinvigorated a sense of passion and excitement for teaching due both to the experience itself and the wonderful fellows I got to work alongside. This has made me a more passionate and enthusiastic teacher, which makes my students passionate and enthusiastic alongside me.
— Katie Brown, 5th-grade teacher and 2023 Teach Earth fellow