Earthwatch Expeditions, Inc.

Rating: 3.63 stars   8 reviews

Issues: Technology, Environment

Location: 3 Clocktower Pl Ste 100 Box 75 Maynard MA 01754 USA

Mission: In 2006, Earthwatch will sponsor more than 155 research projects in 48 countries and 16 US states, making estimated volunteer field grants of $4.2 million. Since its founding in 1971, the organization has supported over 1,322 projects in 119 countries and 36 states. More than 81,000 volunteers have contributed over $57 million and 10.8 million hours to essential fieldwork.

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Rating: 2 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I was scheduled to go on a research expedition in the Bahamas this month. Unfortunately, on my day of departure, a major winter storm closed Charlotte airport and my plane did not leave Hartford. Because it was the beginning of February vacation week, it appeared that I would be unable to find another flight for three days and I would miss a significant part of eight full days on the project.

When I called Earthwatch I was told that I should "do the best I can" to find a flight and get there as soon as possible. Not much help there. I was concerned about missing so much of my project experience and asked if I had any alternatives, for example, would it be possible to reschedule to a later project as there are several others this year? A senior staffer told me that I could cancel my trip if I wished and the travel insurance (a portion of the $2775 donation to Earthwatch) could compensate me for travel costs, but the insurance would not reimburse me for any portion of the donation. Also, he said that I couldn't transfer my donation or any portion of it to a later project. Essentially, he was saying that the full responsibility for what is often described as "an act of God" fell to me; Earthwatch accepted none of the burden. Is that a fair way to treat volunteers? I don't think so. I think that Earthwatch needs to think about options for this type of situation.

Fortunately, I was able to arrange another flight that got me to the project just two days late, so I did get to participate in all the different kinds of activities. What I missed was an introduction and presentation of the research questions under investigation and the specifics about the methods that were being used. It wasn't until the final day when the principal investigator made a presentation to the group that I learned the five research questions that guided the project.

Another effect of arriving late to the project is that, thought subtle, I never felt that I was quite a full member of the team. I don't know whether I missed some team-building activity on that first day; if there was none, I would suggest that it would be a good addition to the orientation/introduction at the beginning of a project.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Rating: 1 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Earthwatch is an organization whose mission has huge potential, but through many, many years of in-fighting at board and senior management level - and financial mismanagement - appears to be imploding.
I worked for Earthwatch for nearly 10 years and cannot speak highly enough of those on the front line working long hours to keep the organization afloat. Those managing the organization however have been, and still are, totally out of their depth.
Earthwatch has had several different 3 to 5 year strategies in the last 10 years or so. None of which they have stuck with for much longer than 6 months. As all of the evidence on this website, and that of the UK charity commission suggests, the organization is failing. It is generating very little revenue beyond what it generates via it's partnership with HSBC Bank.

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If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

- Align the number of international board members with the number of staff. There are almost as many board members as there are staff. - Develop a sound business plan and stick to it. - Invest in staff and volunteers. They are the organization's only major asset. - Invest in marketing and development.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

Participating as a volunteer with Earthwatch was exactly what I needed to re-confirm what I already knew about myself (that I want to be a wildlife biologist). I first participated with Earthwatch in 2010. I traveled to Nova Scotia to volunteer on a small mammal project. The hands-on experience was fantastic and exciting to me, especially since I enjoy fieldwork. The scientists were amazing and very informative. For me, volunteering through Earthwatch gave me several things including (1) hands-on experience in wildlife biology, (2) travel, (3) see parts of Nova Scotia that most tourists wouldn't get to experience, (4) make a contribution to the scientific community, (5) meet people from around the world with similar interests, and (6) to meet scientists from other countries. This is a great way to give back to the environment, learn, travel, and to meet new people. I am looking forward to participating with Earthwatch again in 2013. I plan on volunteering through Earthwatch for as long as I am physically able to do so. If you are a teen (15 to 18), you can still volunteer. There are opportunities specifically for teens. They also have ones that are specifically geared towards families. There are opportunities for people of all ages and physical ability. Although it is a little on the expensive side, it is nothing compared to the experience and the memories that will obviously last a life time.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Earthwatch is a great organization to volunteer for and I hope to particpate in one of their volunteer research expeditions again (next summer).

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the articles and books that have been published by the scientists.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the opportunity to interact with scientists doing real research, gain research experience (I'm a grad student in Wildlife Biology), travel to another country, and to volunteer in the area of wildlife studies.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

absolutely wonderful and had great stories to share.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

As a long-time volunteer, I know many of the staff at Earthwatch, and they are nice, for the most part. But I don't know what's going on there now because they have lost two top executives and the CEO has been forced out by the staff in the UK office. I'm not giving any more of my money to this organization until it straightens itself out. It needs to be more transparent. There is in-fighting at leadership and staff level between the US and UK offices and they have major money woes.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Volunteering with Earthwatch allowed me to participate in scientific research. As a high school science teacher, I could "bring my students along" virtually through photos, videos, blogging and a live camera session. We took baseline data on trees in a wooded area (diameter, position, species, condition, etc.) for future comparisons by scientists investigating the effects of global climate change on forests. In the evenings and off times, it was interesting to share experiences with educators from all over the country. The scientists also educated us on climate change issues. I love being able to contribute to science!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Sharing results with other educators.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

involve more science teachers, more frequently.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being able to contribute to science using my expertise, and being able to bring this experience to my students in the classroom.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, intelligent, and treated us as valued members of the team.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world.

Ways to make it better...

my plane hadn't been delayed in Atlanta for 2 days!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting volunteers who don't think this is too difficult for them to do.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this was an awesome experience!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

My Earthwatch was an amazing experience that I used many times during my 30 year teaching career. I showed the slides and video that I took and explained the power of our our commitment. Over the years many students and colleagues joined Earthwatch Expeditions based upon my slide show and the excitement of my field trip experience.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that it made me a role model for the importance of getting involved and taking an action. What can one person do?????Join an Earthwatch and help to save the planet...one step at a time!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

better publicize the grants that are available to subsidize teachers and students.....

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

took me out of the classroom and into the real world.....it empowered me to better empower my students......I walked the walk and then talked the talk!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing..each and every participant was wonderful.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

take seniors out of high schools all over the world and put them into Earthwatches all over the world. These kids would then gain amazing perspectives and be better suited for college and life.

Ways to make it better...

I had known about the grant money---I paid for the whole wonderful experience....

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting the wod out. I would love to help promote Earthwatch through my teacher workshops.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Help to Save the planet-do a stint with Earthwatch and pay it Forward!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1997-1-01

Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

As a member of a team of grant-funded educators, I participated in field research about the possible evidence of global climate change at the boreal forest-tundra boundary near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. It was an amazing experience working alongside 10 other like-minded teachers under the supervision of a global climate change expert. I felt I was truly helping to make a difference in the study of global climate change. Actually experiencing the tundra and its environs, performing authentic scientific research, and witnessing firsthand the effects and changes evident in this remote yet awe-inspiring area will greatly enhance my teaching.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

participating in authentic field research.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working with fantastic people.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

great! Everyone associated with the project was truly wonderful. Dr. Kershaw was the ideal field researcher with whom to work. He readily shared his expertise in "user friendly" bits and made us feel like important members of his research team.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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