Thanks to the generosity of friends like you, Earthwatch continues to recover from the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty expeditions returned in 2022, and our dedicated scientists welcomed back 640 volunteers throughout the year. This is marked progress over last year, when just 260 volunteers participated on a handful of teams, but still far short of our pre-pandemic levels of 39 expeditions and over 2,100 volunteers. The road ahead to a full recovery is long, but with ongoing support from our global community of donors, volunteers, corporate partners, foundations, scientists, teachers, students, and concerned individuals, we are confident that Earthwatch will get there in the next few years.
Earthwatch’s Climate Change Along the Amazon River expedition returned in January following a 19-month pause. Dr. Richard Bodmer and his riverboat staff have welcomed 60 volunteers on nine teams so far this year, with three more teams left to field into December. Volunteers spend their time conducting extensive wildlife surveys on the river as well as on land, documenting the abundance of river dolphins, caimans, river otters, primates, and hundreds of species of fish, birds, amphibians, insects, and other reptiles during both the dry and rainy seasons. This information is shared with local communities who rely on subsistence hunting and fishing for survival, so that they can avoid declining species and only take from thriving populations, ensuring the sustainability of the ecosystem.
Dr. Bodmer’s data collection only pauses for one month a year, in April. We expect to receive the results and analysis from his work over the last year then. In the meantime, Earthwatch will finish wrapping up its three other South American conservation efforts in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador. As the health of these precious habitats remains under threat from deforestation, pollution, wildfires, development, and climate change, every year’s worth of data collected is vital to our complete understanding of the challenges at hand, and our ability to identify the most effective protection and remediation strategies.
Although Earthwatch volunteers do contribute financially to the expeditions they participate on, the cost of scientific equipment, permits and licenses, group accommodations, and 24/7 support staff quickly exceeds what we can reasonably ask volunteers to contribute beyond their significant donations of time and labor. Earthwatch must raise over $500,000 annually in order to fully fund our year-round conservation efforts. This is why donors like YOU are so critical to Earthwatch’s success. Thank you for your steadfast commitment to protecting endangered sea turtles and preserving the health of our oceans.
Your Friends at Earthwatch
butterflies rest on a tree in the rainforest
volunteers make river observations on a small boat
a leopard is captured on a camera trap
a primate in the rainforest