An organization which allows people to go on professional expeditions, such as ethnographical studies or archaeological digs, anywhere around the world. It puts people in the field to help scientists in their fieldwork. They don't have to have any experience, they learn new skills, and are able to help solve the many complex environmental issues of the day.

Earthwatch is a non-profit organization, founded in Boston, which has offices around the globe. There are 50,000 members and supporters spread across the U.S.A., Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. They volunteer their time and skills to work with scientists on Earthwatch field research projects in over 50 countries around the world. There is, however, a fee. But, it's no different than any vacation one would go on; there are costs.

For instance, teams this summer will go to the Great Rift Valley, to ascertain the limits of environmental and ecological degradation before biological diversity and abundance there is disturbed. Costs: $1,995 for a two week stint. Or, right here in the states, one can study the major settlements of the ancestral Pueblo people in the Rio Puerco Valley of northwestern New Mexico. Costs: $1,595 for a two week stint.

The experience is rich and rewarding. Several years ago, I was part of an archaeological field school in New Mexico, which was able to cover it's expenses , largely on the expenses paid by Earthwatch volunteers. Three different groups came that summer for three weeks at a time, and the mixture, diversity, and comraderie of all who shared that summer will always be a cherished memory.

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