Contribution starting at $3,795
Exported from Streamline App (
11 days (avg. $345 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
northern lights in the arctic
studying climate change in the arctic
climate change at the arctic's edge - digging in the snow
study wildlife in churchill manitoba
studying climate change at the arctic's edge
volunteer in churchill manitoba
northern lights in the arctic
studying climate change in the arctic
climate change at the arctic's edge - digging in the snow
study wildlife in churchill manitoba
studying climate change at the arctic's edge
volunteer in churchill manitoba

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.

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 some 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 fall teams, you’ll 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
  • DAYS 7–10  Observing animals, lab analysis
  • DAY 11 Depart



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


look for signs of climate change
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 Arctic.

record plant observations and process samples
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 Arctic 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.




6 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
Nancy Deyo | July 23, 2018
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.
Chris Deyo | July 23, 2018
Being surrounded by smart, energetic, passionate people is a unique growing opportunity that can only happen with a program like Earthwatch. We enjoyed the formal interactions in the field, lab, and classroom, as well as the informal interactions that took place during meals and evening downtime. I would highly recommend an Earthwatch expedition to anyone interested in making a positive change in the environment, in the world . . . and in themselves.
Nina Tawil | April 19, 2018
I signed up to this expedition after reading about the importance of the polar regions and their significance for our planet. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but I booked the trip and hoped for the best! Needless to say, this was 10 days full of inspiration, learning and a whole lot of frozen science fun. Steve, LeeAnn and the team made the experience. I'm not someone with much of a science background, and I was somewhat daunted by the prospect of being in a research centre full of PhDs and mega minds, but they somehow made science feel that much more accessible to me. Their attitudes, humour and passion were contagious. I came away feeling totally motivated and ready to tell anyone that will listen to me about the importance of the work being done and what is happening to our planet. Everything about the centre was so much more than I thought it would be! The facilities, the FOOD (be prepared for eating your body weight in cinnamon rolls) and the staff were incredible. The fact that I would happily spend hours outside in -50c conditions and that I was genuinely upset when the days ended is a testament to how amazing this trip was.

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Feature Article

Trees in the Tundra

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

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