What to Expect on an Earthwatch Expedition 

In today's fast-paced world, finding time to connect with nature and unwind from our daily lives is a rare treasure. Earthwatch expeditions offer a remarkable blend of adventure, learning, and conservation, providing transformative experiences for you and the environment alike.

If you're considering joining an Earthwatch expedition and want to know what to expect, let's look at what makes an Earthwatch expedition unique.



Imagine trekking through ancient rainforests or diving into the ocean's depths while helping scientists protect the ecosystems around you. With Earthwatch, you're not just a tourist but an active participant in protecting our planet. Since 1971, Earthwatch has empowered adventurers like you to become champions for our environment. 

Earthwatch expeditions place you alongside leading scientists at the center of global research and conservation projects. Aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Earthwatch expeditions address global challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss. Our expeditions span the gamut of climate research, wildlife conservation, archeology, reforestation, and more. You get to explore new places, deepen your appreciation for nature, and significantly amplify the impact scientists can achieve on their own. 



A whale breaching in Costa Rica.


Not only was I able to work in a beautiful country, Costa Rica, be with an interesting group of people, spend each day either on the water observing and collecting data on dolphins, but I learned in an up close and personal way about dolphins and how climate change impacts both the dolphins and their environment. You can learn many things from a book but nothing compares to actually living with what you are studying.

— Mary O'Donnell on the expedition Conserving Marine Mammals in Costa Rica


A woman looking on a safari vehicle trying to spot rhinos for research purposes.


Creating life-long memories on a journey of personal growth 

Imagine standing amid a lush landscape, contributing to research that could help save endangered species. Earthwatch expeditions prove that change is possible and that every person can make a difference. Participants leave with a renewed commitment to the environment, often inspiring career choices and lifestyle changes. When you join an Earthwatch expedition, you can pursue your interests in the outdoors, marine life, wildlife conservation, sustainability, and more. Many participants are stepping outside their comfort zone and encountering nature and wildlife for the first time, and the experience is transformative. Our expeditions have inspired lifelong environmental champions who return year after year, with many having completed over 30 expeditions with us. Our record holder, Warren Stortroen, has joined a whopping 100 expeditions! 


A rhino walking across a road in South Africa.


This was my 7th Earthwatch expedition, and while every trip has been engaging and informative, this expedition had the most emotional impact. This isn't only a field site; this is home for these researchers. They live their work with a unique and visceral dedication. 

— Chantel Reynolds on the expedition Conserving Threatened Rhinos in South Africa 



Experience nature up close while you help protect it

Our expeditions take you to extraordinary locations, immersing you in the natural world in a way that few travelers ever experience. From monitoring penguins in Patagonia to protecting rhinos in South Africa, you engage in hands-on conservation work. Accommodation varies from research stations to campsites, allowing you to live like a scientist and fully immerse yourself in the ecosystems you're helping to protect. 

Three chimps sitting among the foliage in an Uganda forest.


group of three around a bond fire in a Maine starry night backdrop


The accommodations were very pleasant, both the lodging and meals were great and the campus is beautiful, and for someone like me who lives in a big city it was so easy to get lost and completely detach from my busy life. There was lobster dinners, s'mores at a campfire, meeting new people and hearing stories and building a sense of camaraderie amongst your fellow team members.

 Jared Biunno on the expedition Climate Change: Sea to Trees at Acadia National Park  


A group of people overlooking preparing to plant in Cuba.

Connect with local communities and fellow explorers

One of the most rewarding aspects of an Earthwatch expedition is connecting with people from across the globe with a shared purpose. Furthermore, Earthwatch expeditions employ, train, and engage local community members. By collaborating with local communities and fellow explorers, you can amplify the impact of data-informed solutions to environmental challenges.


Three people skiing in Andorra.


For the volunteers, it’s a chance to discover a destination in ways that take them far off the typical tourist track and to connect with people from varied backgrounds—all while contributing to research that aims to protect the planet. In other words, to travel with a purpose.

 Brooke Sabin on the expedition Wildlife in the Changing Andorran Pyrenees



Make a lasting impact on global research and conservation

Your contribution doesn't end when your expedition does. The cost of an Earthwatch expedition supports our global mission of protecting our planet through science-driven solutions. The data collected contributes to scientific discoveries, management plans, and conservation efforts worldwide. 

Since 1971, over 200,000 volunteers have joined our expeditions, providing invaluable research data across 131 countries and aiding in protecting numerous species and habitats. Earthwatch-supported scientists have collected data on over 10,000 known species, including many new to science.



Are you ready to be a part of a movement that will shape the future of our planet? 

Our planet needs all of us to be active defenders, not just observers, in the face of accelerating global change. Join us on your own or with a group and browse our upcoming expeditions to find your next meaningful adventure. 


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