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Frequently Asked Questions

Expedition general queries

  • What is included in the cost of the expedition?

    Your contribution covers important research costs, such as equipment, permits and supplies; food, accommodations, and local transport; safety and welfare management; travel medical and emergency evacuation insurance; and preparatory materials. Our scientists rely on your contributions in order to produce top-quality research while hosting teams of citizen scientists. Please note your flights to and from the rendezvous point are not included in the cost of the expedition.

  • Who can join?

    Solo-travellers, families (teens), couples, anyone who has a passion for the environment and a desire to get involved with scientific research as a citizen scientist.

  • Do I need to have any prior scientific knowledge to participate?

    No! All training is provided in the first few days of the expedition.  In terms of experience, Earthwatch expeditions are designed for people who have an interest or passion for the environment, but you don’t need any previous experience or any specific qualifications.  What we look for is a willingness to participate in the team, adequate level of fitness, enjoyment in being outdoors for much of the day and a sense of adventure. The fitness level required varies depending on the expedition, so we do screen people to ensure that they are fit enough. 

  • How does my contribution make a difference?

    Among many other impacts, Earthwatch scientists and volunteers collect data to inform environmental policies and management plans. These plans support ecosystem conservation, biodiversity restoration, and local communities worldwide.

  • How do I sign up for an expedition?

    Please ensure to read the expedition details and briefing before you book. Click the BOOK NOW button for your chosen expedition, select your preferred team and click on Sign Up.  Bookings requires a $500 non-refundable deposit with the balance due 90 days before the expedition starts. The booking process sets up an Earthwatch Portal for you which you can then login to make further payments, complete your forms and see your team list. Other terms and conditions can be found here and you should read these before you book.

Expedition further details

  • What do the project activity levels mean?

    These are the physical abilities needed to fully and safely participate in the program and are intended to help you decide if you are able to safely participate in the program. Participants on all projects must be able to follow verbal and/or visual instructions, independently or with the assistance of a companion. Many of our expeditions take place in challenging climate/environmental conditions that can greatly intensify the fitness required for a given project.  For example, conditions may include extreme heat/humidity, high altitude, aridness, extreme cold, etc.  
    Please refer to the specific project conditions and physical demands as described in the Online Expedition Briefing for detail of what to expect in the field of your chosen expedition. Please give particular attention to the Essential Eligibility Requirements included in the Online Expedition Briefing. 

  • How far in advance do I need to book an expedition?

    Each expedition has a different degree of demand.  Some expeditions fill up a year or more in advance, so we suggest that you sign up as soon as you see an expedition you are interested in. Once you sign up, you will have until 90 days before the start of your expedition to complete payments and submit your participation and travel forms.

  • How long are the expeditions?

    Our expeditions vary by duration, with most running between 1 and 2 weeks. Earthwatch expeditions are designed to have participants there for the full period of the expedition. 

  • How large are expedition teams?

    Earthwatch groups usually range from 4 to 10 people, depending on the expedition. Small groups provide a more secure and dynamic environment in which all team members can meaningfully participate in research tasks

  • Is the price in US or AUS dollars?

    The prices on the Australian site are in Australian dollars and on the US site they’re in US dollars.  So, to make sure you’re on the Australian site you need to look at the URL at the top of your screen – it should have “.au” on the end of it. Usually, the system can tell from your IP address which region of the world you’re in and should direct you to the correct site but occasionally people get end up on the wrong site, sometimes this occurs on mobile phones.

Safety & Insurance

  • How is Earthwatch committed to my safety? 

    At Earthwatch, we are committed to caring for the safety and welfare of all individuals involved in our activities anywhere in the world. Although risk is an inherent part of the environments in which we work, we believe that through careful risk management and diligent planning all participants can have a rewarding, educational and inspirational Earthwatch experience.  
    We recommend participants review the latest health information for their chosen destination via Smart Traveller. Please refer to your GP or travel doctor for vaccination requirements. As covid regulations vary globally, participants are required to be vaccinated.  

  • Do I need insurance

    Our insurance covers you for medical incidents and emergency evacuation. Coverage takes effect when you arrive at the rendezvous point and lasts for the duration of your expedition. We encourage you to buy flexible, refundable tickets and strongly advise the purchase of insurance to cover your flights, trip cancellation and personal belongings.


  • What are some other ways to get involved with Earthwatch?

    Even if you can’t join us on an expedition right now, there are many ways to get involved with Earthwatch.  

    • Engage in our education opportunities, available to both teachers and students. 
    • Partner with us to ensure your organisation understands its environmental impact and can become leaders in sustainability. 
    • Download the ClimateWatch app to help understand climate change in your neighbourhood. 
    • Donate to help sustain critical field research that protects endangered species, responds to the effects of climate change, and safeguard our seas and landscapes. 

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