Earth Watch is an organization dedicated to helping scientists get the help they need while giving ordinary people extraordinary experiences helping with scientific studies. Scientists get the grunt work done without using their limited funds while people contribute and help with programs they choose. Volunteers actually pay to stay in tents, bunkbeds in shared cabins, whatever facilities are available. About 2/3 of the volunteers sign up for the next year. Operating since 1971, the organization does risk assessments of the physical, political and meteorological conditions before assigning groups. They also offset the greenhouse emissions of the expedition travels.
Volunteers fill out forms enumerating their talents and interests and are matched with different expeditions. Trips may last from 2 days to 16 days. Volunteers are 18 to 80 years old although there are special teen groups ranging from 15-18.
There is a wide range of trips and locations.. For 2013, they are:
1. Mesa Verde, Colorado--digging, washing, sorting, labeling for Basketmakers tribe artifacts
2. Kulla Valley,India--observing plants, bees and butterflies
3. Galapagos, Ecuador--observing endangered finches
4. Malawi, Southeastern Africa--a wide variety of duties to observe and maintain the reintroduction of Majete Wildlife Reserve
5. Budongo Forest, Uganda--tracking chimpanzees through the forest
6. Queensland, Australia--studying how environmental changes are affecting the area's unique specimens
7. Queensland, Australia--studying the mangroves and Kuku Yangji people
8. Orpheus Island, Queensland, Australia--underwater surveys and experiments
9. Golfe Dulce, Costa Rica--studying whales and dolphins
10.Norway--studying arctic whales
So the next time you or someone you know wants to do something different, something that contributes to the world, check out Earth Watch. The whole world will be glad you did.