Holiday Wish List: Proposals for New Expeditions
At Earthwatch, we get especially excited during the holiday season, because it’s when we start looking for new compelling and important scientific research to support. See what made our wish list.
Dreaming of a wonderful expedition.
An Earthwatch volunteer enjoys the outdoors on Climate Change at the Arctic's Edge in Manitoba, Canada.
Each fall, our research team puts out a request for proposals to scientists around the world. In response, we receive about one hundred letters of interest from researchers who want to have Earthwatch, and our dedicated citizen scientists, support their work. We ask about half of these researchers to submit full proposals, which then go through a rigorous peer review process to ensure the research meets the highest scientific standards. Armed with that expert feedback, we choose six to ten new projects to develop over the course of 2014 and introduce in 2015 as new expeditions.
Our Wish List for 2015
While we're open to important scientific research happening anywhere on the globe, we always have a few specific wants.
“We look at our portfolio to see if there are major gaps in a conservation science area, or areas where we know participants want to volunteer but where we don't have any programs today,” says Dr. Mark Chandler, Earthwatch’s international director of research.
This year, Earthwatch is looking for projects that focus on the following topics and regions:
- Archaeology. In 2015, we want to bolster our support of research in Central America, North America, and Europe that can help explain how ancient civilizations adapted to and changed their environments. We’d particularly like to develop a chance for our volunteers to dig into Mayan civilization and mythology.
- Caribbean Coral Reefs. Around the world, about half a billion people depend on coral reefs for food and income. So we think it’s important to explore how changes like global warming are reshaping these critical habitats, and how better fisheries management could protect coral reefs and maintain sustainable seafood stocks. We’re interested in Caribbean reefs in particular because our many North American volunteers can travel to them easily.
- Cold Climate Environments. Lots of important research into the impact of global warming happens in the earth’s chilly extremes, and we want to support these efforts. We also want to give our volunteers the chance to work with charismatic species like polar bears, bison, caribou, and reindeer.
- Biodiversity. Many native species in the U.S., Asia, Slovenia, Poland, and along the Mediterranean Sea face threats from climate change and human activity like urban development and farming. We’re looking to develop more research opportunities that could help explain these threats and conserve plants and animals in danger.
- Patagonia. This is a fascinating place to explore the impacts of climate change also happens to be a popular travel destination—which could make it the perfect region for a new expedition.
Scientifically minded? Learn more about our wish list by reading all of the Earthwatch requests for proposals.
The Magic Ingredients
We look for much more than interesting subject matter in potential Earthwatch Expeditions, of course. Learn more about the Earthwatch approach to turning an idea into an expedition from our Unlocked blog.
Now that the days are getting shorter and the air is getting nippier, the Earthwatch team is primed to seek out the perfect combination of science, hands-on experience, and travel that makes for an unforgettable expedition.
We’re excited to see where the future will take us, and our volunteers.