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Please be aware that the Issaquah School District does not sponsor these student expeditions. The ISD is aware and supportive of our travels, but is not the organizing body.
"I am headed to the tropics again this June for field work, and was reminiscing about my first experience conducting field work with EarthWatch several years ago now! I just wanted to let you know how appreciative I am of this experience, as it has had a positive and lasting impact on my educational path. I have gotten to do so many cool things because of it -field work in the cloud forests and coastal waters of Panama, plant community surveys in the old growth forests and montane meadows of mt. rainier, and forest surveys in the wildfire scorched forests of the interior PNW. I have remained fascinated with both tropical and temperate forest ecosystems, and am specifically interested in how forest ranges and boundaries are influenced by disturbances and climate change. I am getting ready to embark on yet another educational adventure over the next couple years, and am headed up to University of British Columbia to obtain my MS studying tropical forest ecology in Cambodia." Elise P.
WHAT IS AN EARTHWATCH EXPEDITION?
Earthwatch is the largest environmental volunteer force in the world. For more than 40 years, Earthwatch has involved students worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and knowledge for a sustainable environment. A student group on an Earthwatch expedition has the opportunity to conduct team-based research, gain scientific knowledge and skills and develop relationships with exceptional mentors in the field of scientific research. Students come back from their Earthwatch experience having been on the front lines of scientific research and environmental conservation. They’ve gone to learn, understand, and help protect the world’s most beautiful and threatened ecosystems. They’ve been taking water samples (not just pictures) and collecting data (not just souvenirs). After evaluating 155 organizations, National Geographic Adventure has named Earthwatch number one in both volunteerism and education.
ADVANTAGES FOR VOLUNTEERS?
Earthwatch expeditions provide excellent experience for college applications and valuable work skills for resumes. Volunteers will gain field experience with scientific research experts. They will learn and apply current techniques utilized in today’s most ground breaking research efforts. Students gain confidence, learn about other cultures and environmental issues as well as returning invigorated about science after seeing how it applies in the “real world.” If you are an IB diploma candidate in the class of 2021, this trip will provide you with amazing opportunities for your CAS and extended essay requirements.
WHEN WILL WE TRAVEL?
We will travel over spring break. We will depart Seattle on either April April 10, 2020. We will travel back to Seattle on April 19th. Students may miss one school day, Friday April 10, 2020.
WHO CAN TRAVEL?
The nature of Earthwatch’s scientific research expeditions requires small groups. Our group will have a maximum of 18 students. Priority will be given to past and current IB Biology and IB ESS students, however others are welcome to join as space allows. This expedition is very popular with students. It is anticipated that student demand for space will be high and space will be limited. Parents who wish to travel will be added to a waiting list and permitted to join the group as space allows. The research staff is lead by a primary investigator and 2 – 3 field research staff. This is beneficial as it enables students more direct interaction with the scientists.
WHAT DOES THE EXPEDITION COST?
The expedition cost will be roughly $2600 per student plus the cost of round trip and the expense of one hotel room in transit to the field site. The final cost will vary depending on the total number of students who travel, the cost a hotel for one night and cost of airfare at the time of purchase. The expedition cost is 100% tax deductible (although please check with your personal tax adviser). Earthwatch is a non-profit organization and is classified by the US government as a 501(c)3 public charity. The price of each expedition covers your air transport, food, accommodation, on-site travel, emergency medical and medical evacuation insurance, carbon offsets, and all of the various costs of field research (field permits, equipment, etc.).
DOES THE EXPEDITION QUALIFY FOR CORPORATE MATCHING DONATIONS?
Some students with parents who work for corporations that offer matching gift donations have reduced the personal expense to their family nearly in half! We are thankful to have had matching gifts from Microsoft, Home Depot and Nintendo. Please check with your company for compliance with their terms and conditions and note that some will charge a service fee (for example, Microsoft charges a 2.9% service fee). When you register and pay online, parents using matching gifts are encouraged to make ½ their son or daughter’s contribution to Earthwatch then immediately request for a match from the employer. If you have the financial means to pay-in-full, then request a matching gift, the extra funds are used to (1) pay for a scholarship for a Skyline student without the financial means to go otherwise or (2) subsidize future more costly expeditions for students.
NOTE REGARDING MICROSOFT CORPORATE MATCHING PROGRAM:
Matching gifts must be confirmed and received by 90-days before the expedition start date . If Earthwatch does not receive the matching gift by 60 days before the expedition deadline, they will ask that you cover the payment out of pocket. When the matching gift does arrive, Earthwatch will refund you the payment.
HOW DO I PAY?
Deposits are due when you enroll. Since the expedition size is limited, students who pay their deposits first will have priority for the trip. The final payment will be due by January, 2020.
WHAT OTHER EXPENSES ARE THERE?
On the expedition, students may want some spending money for souvenirs or incidentals. Other costs may include passports, airport taxes, field supplied and vaccinations.
IF STUDENTS CANCEL WILL THEY RECEIVE A REFUND?
If a student cancels outside of 120 days before the project begins, the initial deposit is non-refundable but can be transferred to another student without penalty. If the cancellation occurs 60 – 119 days before the project begins, there is a $300 fee to transfer to another student or 65% of the cost will be retained by Earthwatch. Within 59 day of the project start date, the full payment is non-refundable.
WHAT IS THE DAILY SCHEDULE AND TASKS?
Please check the expedition briefing document linked at the top of this page for detailed information about the schedule, lodging, and foods you can expect in the field.
WHAT IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY?
The emergency medical and evacuation assistance provider for Earthwatch is “On Call International”. On Call is a 24 – hour international operation which provides medical assistance and evacuation, a 24 hour nurse help line and other travel assistance services such as lost baggage and lost document assistance. Earthwatch research staff has been specifically trained with an emergency response plan for all expeditions. If the matter is serious, the parents are contacted as soon as possible. The research scientists are in touch with the Earthwatch head office in Massachusetts.
HOW DO I CONTACT MY KID IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY?
Earthwatch has staff on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week to contact should you need to reach your child. All projects have some method of communication during the expedition. This may range from regular email and phone communication to a satellite phone for more remote expeditions.
ARE THERE BEHAVIOR RULES?
Volunteers will be given a copy of the Earthwatch Rules and Regulations which is sent to each student prior to departure. All volunteers are required to sign a liability form acknowledging they understand and accept these rules as a contract so everyone understands what constitutes proper behavior while on the expedition.
"The trip is the reason I do what I do (and I love it!)" - E.S. (Bahamas '09, now in graduate school studying shark biology)