Climate Change Along the Amazon River

by Earthwatch Institute
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River
Climate Change Along the Amazon River

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.

Gratefully,

Your Friends at Earthwatch

butterflies rest on a tree in the rainforest
butterflies rest on a tree in the rainforest
flooded rainforest
flooded rainforest
volunteers make river observations on a small boat
volunteers make river observations on a small boat
a leopard is captured on a camera trap
a leopard is captured on a camera trap
a primate in the rainforest
a primate in the rainforest

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Volunteers call this floating laboratory home
Volunteers call this floating laboratory home

Thanks to steadfast supporters like you, Earthwatch made significant progress in 2021 towards recovering from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. Last spring and summer, we were able to resume five U.S.-based research expeditions, and in the fall, we began welcoming back volunteers onto several expeditions overseas.

All returning expeditions feature modifications and new protocols to comply with the latest COVID safety guidance and standards established by trusted health and travel authorities such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as our independent security advisor, On Call International. Additionally, proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is now required for all Earthwatch volunteers and participants.

Nations in which we are conducting our conservation efforts continue to impose varying travel, quarantine and vaccination requirements that can be confusing, change suddenly with little notice, and are at times difficult to obey. Earthwatch’s enhanced safety requirements will give our volunteers the best opportunity to safely and easily enter and exit countries where our research is located, and as a result, have expanded the number of suspended programs that we can bring back. Despite ongoing policy and now many economic challenges, roughly 2/3rds of Earthwatch expeditions are actively recruiting volunteers for 2022 teams, and we are working diligently to have the remainder re-opened by the end of the year.

We are thrilled to report that Amazon Riverboat Exploration has returned! On January 24th, eight eager Earthwatch volunteers headed to Peru to help Dr. Bodmer and his team carry out important habitat monitoring, wildlife surveys, and climate data collection. The next team will arrive on May 5th, followed by eight more teams who will play a vital role in maintaining continuous data collection through the end of the year. Altogether, we expect at least 40 volunteers to join the efforts in Peru this year, and we can't wait to be able to send you research updates at the end of the season!

We know that there are many worthy charities that you can support, and we are honored that you chose to invest in Earthwatch scientists and volunteers as they collect data and search for solutions to our most pressing environmental problems. Your support over the last two years has made all the difference for Earthwatch and more than 30 important conservation efforts around the world. We look forward to updating you on the impact of your gifts later this year, and with any luck, finally putting the pandemic behind us!

Stay well! We are almost there!

Gratefully,

Your Friends at Earthwatch

A rare pink river dolphin surfaces
A rare pink river dolphin surfaces
Volunteers look for wildlife during a canoe survey
Volunteers look for wildlife during a canoe survey
Volunteers identify a fish before releasing it
Volunteers identify a fish before releasing it

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On September 30th, Earthwatch will finish its second fiscal year operating within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the ongoing restrictions and uncertainty, however, we continue to make slow but steady progress towards getting back to “normal.”

Our staff – many of whom were fully furloughed for most of 2020- are back to working full time. In May, we were thrilled to be able to resume four domestic expeditions, in Maine, Utah, California, and Washington, and starting this month, two projects in Andorra and Italy have re-opened, with several more international teams expected to join them by the end of the year. All of these expeditions are “COVID Ready”, which means that they feature modifications and new protocols to comply with COVID safety guidance and standards established by trusted health and travel authorities such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as our independent security advisor, On Call International.

Earthwatch will also begin requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for participation on all expeditions beginning September 1st. This important safety measure will give our volunteers the best opportunity to enter countries where our research is located, and as a result, gives Earthwatch the ability to bring back the majority of our suspended expeditions. In 2022, we plan to have 32 projects returning across 21 countries, and are very excited to inform you that Dr. Bodmer will begin welcoming volunteers back into the field in just a few months!

Donors like you have helped Earthwatch to survive the worst of the pandemic, and we look forward to the day when we can announce that all expeditions have safely returned to help give endangered species and habitats the protection they deserve. In the meantime, please visit our website to follow our re-opening progress, explore other expeditions working to protect wildlife in South America, and learn more about our upcoming 50th anniversary celebration!

Sincerely,

Heather Wilcox
Director of Annual Giving & Planned Giving
978-450-1208
hwilcox@earthwatch.org

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Earthwatch Institute

Location: Boston, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @earthwatch_org
Project Leader:
Heather Wilcox
Boston, MA United States
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