Contribution starting at $4,100
Exported from Streamline App (
11 days (avg. $373 a day) Includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs
Climate Change

Climate Change at the Arctic's Edge

Churchill, Manitoba, Canada Map it
Lead Scientist
Activity Level
buffet-style meals
Special diets accommodated
Snowshoe Hare Tracks And The Aurora Borealis in Manitoba
Three Earthwatch volunteers wading in the wetlands to study climate change in the arctic
Earthwatch volunteers digging in the snow to conduct snowpack research.
A moor frog (Rana arvalis)
Two participants counting specimen caught (C) Allison Maria Rodriguez
An Earthwatch volunteer recording data in Churchill, Manitoba
A snow covered Evergreen with Earthwatch participants conducting snowpack research in the distance (C) Billy
Snowshoe Hare Tracks And The Aurora Borealis in Manitoba
Three Earthwatch volunteers wading in the wetlands to study climate change in the arctic
Earthwatch volunteers digging in the snow to conduct snowpack research.
A moor frog (Rana arvalis)
studying climate change at the arctic's edge
An Earthwatch volunteer recording data in Churchill, Manitoba
Earthwatch volunteer conducting research to help reveal global-warming-related changes in the Arctic.

Northern ecosystems are being transformed by climate change. Join this long-term monitoring effort to explore what these changes mean for the Arctic—and the rest of the world.

Earthwatch participants researching climate change in Churchill Manitoba

Churchill is a small town perched on the seacoast within the Hudson Bay Lowlands, North America’s largest wetland. The area’s most famous inhabitants are its 57,000 beluga whales and 1,000 polar bears; Churchill advertises itself as both the beluga whale and the polar bear capital of the world. However, global climate change is threatening this landscape and the wildlife that resides there. Churchill has warmed approximately two degrees Celsius since record-keeping began in the 1880s, resulting in a myriad of ecological changes, such as shrinking polar sea ice, retreating glaciers, and less snowpack that melts earlier, putting Churchill on the front line of climate change.

You’ll measure evidence of global warming near Churchill and help researchers as they learn all they can about this fragile environment. If you join one of the summer or fall teams, you may don waist-high waders to take water samples and assess the abundance of the fish and frogs that make these northern wetlands their home. You’ll also help measure permafrost and monitor the health of the tree line by examining tree cores, which allow researchers to reconstruct tree life histories (to date, the oldest living tree this team has found dates from 1643).

But to truly experience the power of the North, join a winter team that focuses on assessing snowpack and taking snow samples. You’ll travel between research sites on a sled pulled by a snowmobile and may even get the chance to build an igloo.


A Typical Itinerary

  • DAY 1  Introduction, orientation
  • DAY 2  Training, practice in the field
  • DAYS 3–6  Monitoring permafrost or snowpack, surveying vegetation or wetland wildlife (team-dependent)
  • DAYS 7–10  Observing animals, lab analysis
  • DAY 11 Depart 




You’ll become very familiar with the flora and fauna of this subarctic landscape. Every day, you’ll begin hiking early, stopping along the way to (depending on the season):


look for signs of climate change

You'll use sophisticated equipment to collect data on features of the snowpack, permafrost, and soil. This work helps reveal global-warming-related changes in these aspects of the Subarctic.

record plant observations and process samples

As you hike, you'll look for vascular plants, lichens, and mosses and monitor plant phenology (the timing of seasonal events such as flowering, first leaves, etc.). You'll also core evergreen trees to count their rings and needles. You'll return to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre to enter data and process water or plant samples in the state-of-the-art lab.

survey mammals, birds, fish and frogs

You'll also see how climate change impacts subarctic animals by recording when and where you see them and how many you observe.

One day during the expedition, your team will take a break from being research scientists and enjoy some of Churchill’s recreational activities, which might include a dog-sledding tour (winter), a natural history tour, or browsing through the Itsanitaq Museum. You’ll have time to ask questions, enjoy the scenery, and keep an eye out for the wildlife and plants—including Churchill’s famed polar bears—that you can’t see anywhere else.

Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.




8 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
2023 Earthwatch Participant |
I feel like we hit the jackpot with this Earthwatch. We arrived a day early and got to see beluga whales in the bay. The tundra was way more beautiful than I ever expected. With the exceptional weather we had (unfortunately bad for the subarctic), we got to see the Northern Lights, as well as see a couple of polar bears, and have some evening lectures from other scientists currently at the CNSN studying other aspects of climate change. While the projects and information gained were very sobering, it was also one of the most fascinating trips, both culturally and environmentally, that I have ever been on.
2023 Earthwatch Particpant |
Under the direction of Dr. LeeAnn Fishback (an extremely passionate, immensely intelligent, very personable scientist) our team hiked the TUNDRA to locate, measure, label, and record tiny seedling growth at G-TREE sites. Our team also labeled depths of permafrost with probes-recording many various numbered plots. Our first Polar Bear sighting was that of a large bear sunning on rocks at Hudson Bay…Sightings of seals, bald eagles, ptarmigan, spruce grouse, mourning dove, geese, ducks, and butterflies. Personal accomplishments: Surviving dorm living in a sequestered compound, contributing effort and information to further the research, meeting great people, and embracing the beauty and tranquility of this great ARCTIC.
Nancy Deyo |
The Earthwatch citizen scientist experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and breathe the life of a scientist. You'll tromp through forests, tundras and ponds with scientists in waist high waders and full mosquito netting helping implement their critical climate change research. Lab work is equally interesting and evening lectures round out the learning to bring additional context to your daily activities. The passion, intelligence and commitment of these young scientists to wildlife and environmental conservation is inspiring and getting to know them was the best part of the experience. I came to this expedition out of a population and poverty background and knew little about climate change, but the learning from this immersion experience convinced me to figure out what I can uniquely do to help advance the cause. I would recommend this expedition to anyone looking for an adventure who wants to make a difference in the future of our planet.

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Supported stories

Exported from Streamline App (
Feature Article

Trees in the Tundra

Earthwatch scientists search for evidence of climate change in one of the most extraordinary places on the planet.

Read More


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