Earthwatch super-mom Jennie-Jo White has been on 13 Earthwatch Expeditions – two with her daughter, Maude, and two with three of her grandchildren. In honor of Mother’s Day, I chatted with Jennie-Jo about the beginning of her Earthwatch journey and how her love for Earthwatch has transcended from her, to her daughter, to her grandchildren.
The Start of It All
Jennie-Jo’s Earthwatch journey started 26 years ago when her daughter, Maude was selected for an Earthwatch student fellowship. “When Maude was 17, she was picked out of hundreds of students to go on an Earthwatch Expedition to Alaska. She had the most fantastic time and learned so much. Since then, it had been ingrained in my brain that I just had to join one of these amazing trips.”
By a stroke of luck, Jennie-Jo just happened to bump into an Earthwatch team at a teaching conference and her passion to go on an expedition was reignited. “Before I retired, I was a high school science teacher, and was attending a teaching conference. Earthwatch just so happened to be there giving a presentation and after watching the presentation, I headed over to the Earthwatch booth and my energy for going on one of the expeditions was reinvigorated. I signed up to study Killer Whales in Washington State and I’ve been hooked ever since!” That was way back in 1999, and since then Jennie-Jo has taken two trips with her daughter and two more with her grandkids!
Like Mother Like Daughter
After Jennie-Jo’s expedition to study Killer Whales, she asked Maude if she would be interested in going on a trip together. “‘Of course!’ Maude said, she had wanted to go back on an Earthwatch Expedition ever since her first trip.” Jennie-Jo and Maude went on their first trip together to Easter Island to study and preserve the ancient culture there and a few years later headed to the Galapagos to help protect bird species there.
“I have been on two expeditions with my daughter, the first one was to Easter Island and the second one was to the Galapagos. The experiences are just absolutely incredible, and sharing them with my daughter is really special.” Jennie-Jo and Maude realized that they traveled really well together, “Maude is more organized, and I just go with the flow, we make a good team.”
Jennie-Jo’s favorite memory from the Galapagos expedition stems from a conversation she and Maude had with one of the scientists. “One of the scientists on the project was so well versed in the history of the island we couldn’t stop listening to him. Apparently, he knew of an island legend about the catalyst for Darwin’s theory of evolution.” Jennie-Jo further described how the scientist told them of a hundred year old story, “when Darwin was studying in the Galapagos, he was talking to one of the island officials who said ‘If you bring me a turtle shell from any of the Galapagos islands, I can tell you which island the shell came from.’” Jennie-Jo said that Darwin’s theory of evolution stemmed from that conversation, “the fact that turtles from each of the islands had distinct and specific shell differentiations and started the process in Darwin’s brain. His theory of evolution stemmed from this conversation!”
The connection really brought the experience full circle for Jennie-Jo, “the housing where the volunteers stay on the island is the original Black Bear where Darwin originally landed in the Galapagos! It was amazing that we were so close to that history.”
Jennie-Jo and Maude’s mutual passion for the planet meant busy days and fun nights. “We spent out days studying birds and building gardens and our nights making friends with our other volunteers.” And the pair’s hard work paid off. “The scientist on the project only expected us to get a quarter of the way through building this experiential garden,” Jennie-Jo said. “But because we all worked together so well, we were able to finish the entire garden during our two week expedition.” Aside from growing their own mother/daughter bond, Jennie-Jo and Maude built relationships with other volunteers too. “Maude and I always have the most fantastic time when we go on Earthwatch Expeditions and the people we meet become lifelong friends. We develop really great relationships.”
Planning to head to Trinidad this summer with two of her grandsons for the Leatherback Sea Turtles expedition, Jennie-Jo’s Earthwatch Expeditions are her most looked forward to trips. “For me, Earthwatch Expeditions are an opportunity for me to travel to exotic places. South America, Costa Rica, Italy. As a woman, it’s so reassuring to be able to safety travel by myself to these far off places. The scientists and staff on the expeditions are so well versed in the culture, I learn things I about the places I go that I would never learn just taking a trip there. I can’t tell you enough how much I look forward to my Earthwatch Expeditions year after year.”
Don’t you want Jennie-Jo to adopt you? Thank you to Jennie-Jo for sharing your great story with us and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there – a big hug from Earthwatch!
Participating in seven Earthwatch expeditions over ten years was the inspiration behind playwright Nikki Harmon penning five animal-inspired plays. Nikki’s plays have been performed all around the globe, from the United States to the UK and her latest production will be live in theaters this fall.
Each of her plays has been a hit with audiences both young and old, and I spoke to Nikki about two in particular, both being performed at the University of Central Missouri.
“My entire life I wanted to do two things: work on a dig, and go to Africa.” Nikki said earlier this week. “When I turned 50, I realized that I hadn’t done either. Then I saw an article in the New York Times about Earthwatch and knew that was my opportunity. These expeditions gave me knowledge that I would never have found anywhere else. You see a picture in a book or listen to a lecture, but to actually find something on a dig that hasn’t been touched in thousands of years, that’s a whole different kind of learning.”
From her expedition experiences, Nikki has written plays based on the zebra research team she was on in Kenya, a the Hopi archaeological dig in Arizona, the Cheetah Rescue Project in Namibia, and a Bronze/Late Neolithic Age Dig in Thailand.
A Thai Tale
A Thai Tale, inspired by a 350 year old Banyan Tree she saw on her dig in Thailand recently won the Theatre for Young Audiences National Playwriting Competition, and is scheduled to premiere this September at the University of Central Missouri.
During her expedition to Thailand, Nikki absorbed as much of the culture as possible once she realized her experience would make for the perfect production. “On one of our days off from the dig, we were taken to the Banyan Tree where vendors were selling birds, fish, eels, and turtles all around this tree. The pottery expert on the project explained that at night, the vendors go into the tree and recapture the goods that were sold that day and resell them the next morning. I was so enamored with the story and culture, I knew there was a play somewhere in this.”
The inspiration for Nikki’s most recent play stems from her experience at the Banyan Tree. “Set inside a huge, 35,000 sq. ft. tree, three birds escape with the help of a magician and a bird vendor who rediscovers his lost kind nature. It’ll be a lot of fun for the kids, and hopefully they’ll learn some life lessons from it. There is also this Thai concept that I learned on the expedition that the kids love. ‘Mai Pen Rai’ means ‘not to worry’ and is the Thai way of dealing with life when things get tough.”
Kalifa’s Amazing Adventures
A decade earlier, the University of Central Missouri performed another one of Nikki’s plays. Kalifa’s Amazing Adventures, about a young elephant whose life was saved by a local conservationist, was inspired by a firsthand account of a rescue on the Kenyan zebra project.
“One evening at dinner, Ian Craig, the Founding Executive Director of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy told us about how he rescued a baby elephant from a well,” Nikki explained. “For several days the local villagers had heard a baby elephant crying but didn’t know where the cries were coming from. Someone looked down one of the abandoned wells and saw the baby elephant stuck inside.”
Because of the size of the elephant, Ian needed to request backup. “He tried to save her, but because of her size, he needed to call for a helicopter. Once the helicopter arrived, he jumped into the well with a rope, landed on top of the elephant, and wrapped the rope around her. The helicopter flew off to an elephant orphanage with Ian and the elephant safely inside. The orphanage later said that it was their first helicopter delivery they had ever seen! Eighteen months later, the elephant was released into the bush and was so confident that she became the leader of her herd.”
Nikki realized this play needed to be unlike anything she had done before. “Up until this time, I had only written for adults, but I knew this story had to be written for young audiences. The staff’s passion for the animals helped me to understand their perspective, and showed me that the only way to write the play was for the animals to tell their own story.”
Coming Full Circle
“My hope is that after seeing my plays, if one child saves an animal in his lifetime, or one parent talks to their child about endangered species, then I have succeeded. And so have the scientists and the projects.”
The plays also help to translate education learned on the projects into schools. “The schools create study guides with drawings of the animals, country maps, and glossaries of terms and languages, so the kids are learning about cultures and sustainability outside of the theater.”
“This is not anything that you can get from a book or a documentary,” Nikki says of her experience in the field. “You have to be there, in the bush, looking eye to eye with a rhino, be near enough for a lioness to pounce, to understand Africa, you have to be there. And not just in a tour bus taking pictures, but be part of it. To feel the dirt between your fingers, the dust in your hair, the scent in your nose, and the joy in your heart. That’s what the Earthwatch projects give you and that’s where the inspiration for my plays come from.”
Check out some of Nikki’s other plays inspired by Earthwatch expeditions. Your Earthwatch experience could lead you to write a book or direct a film, with more than 50 expeditions all over the world to choose from, it’s impossible not to be inspired!
As Earth Day 2013 quickly approaches, there’s always one question buzzing around Earthwatch Headquarters: what are we doing for Earth Day this year? That’s easy, Earthwatch staff members will be assisting in a park clean-up near our offices in Boston, Massachusetts.
But aside from just our staff, what are we doing as an organization? Well, at Earthwatch, we celebrate Earth Day 365 days per year. Every day we continue to make an effort to help conserve our planet. Since 2013 began, at least one Earthwatch team has been out in the field every single day. Every day! Whether it’s protecting the oceans, preserving wildlife, digging up history, or understanding climate change, we are constantly trying to do our part to sustain the planet.
This year, on Monday, April 22nd, volunteers on three Earthwatch Expeditions will be in Trinidad, Seychelles, and Uganda celebrating Earth Day by conducting research, conserving the oceans, and surveying animals.
Trinidad’s Leatherback Sea Turtles
Let’s start with our sea turtle expedition in Trinidad. The research conducted by the scientists, the local conservation group, and Earthwatch volunteers on this expedition is nothing short of amazing. In 2011, all turtle harvesting in coastal waters of Trinidad and Tobago was banned completely because of findings realized on this expedition. Along with the prohibiting of egg harvesting, this research has lead all species of sea turtles in this region to be considered for “species of concern” status. That means leatherback sea turtles are not officially on the Endangered Species List but because of their rapid decline, they are in need of big-time conservation efforts. This year on Earth Day, a team of 8 volunteers will travel to Central America to continue these already incredible efforts by working side-by-side with scientists and a local conservation group to study the 150 sea turtles that nest in the area at night. Last year alone, almost 7,000 sea turtle eggs were successfully laid at the expedition site. Those eggs then hatched into baby turtles who the volunteers helped scurry to the sea.
Coral Communities in the Seychelles
Across the Atlantic to the Seychelles, volunteers will work to survey the climate change impacts on coral in the Indian Ocean. A lot of the coral in this area has been bleached as a result of unusually warm temperatures, increased sedimentation, or a lack of plankton from overfishing. Because of the research conducted by scientists and Earthwatch volunteers, it has been discovered that some species of coral are genetically stronger against bleaching than others. That means that one bout with El Nino might destroy a section of coral, but unharm another. Scientists have realized that this weaker, more easily bleached coral can be trained to increase its tolerance to climate change. This on-going Earthwatch research has enabled scientists to identify which areas of coral need more help than others and has literally created a management solution for the Seychelles issue of climate change. This year on Earth Day, volunteers will head back to the Indian Ocean to aid in the conservation of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean.
Tracking Chimps Through the Trees of Uganda
Because 2013 is our first trek into Uganda with citizen scientists, we don’t have any results to report on… yet. In field for the first time this Earth Day, volunteers will explore human, chimpanzee and monkey interactions in the Ugandan rainforest to help scientists develop a strategy for sharing shrinking food supplies. Mysteriously, 15% of the trees here have stopped producing fruit in these forests, trees that are still alive but unable to provide fruit for both humans and chimps. As a result, locals have reported that primates are forced to raid the crops of local farms more frequently, which is of course doesn’t make the farmers very happy. This research hopes to identify reasons for the lack of fruit coming from these trees, by examining various factors from climate to the reduction of pollen in the area. Earthwatch teams will head to Uganda for Earth Day to survey these animals and their environment and with any luck, we will have amazing results to report on Earth Day 2014.
Each year on Earth Day we take a survey of ways we can help our environment, make our planet more sustainable, and at Earthwatch, we strive for that each and every day. The results from our expeditions will benefit the planet for decades to come. If you’re still looking at ways to make a difference on this Earth Day, or inspired to venture out to Trinidad, Uganda, or the Seychelles visit our Earthwatch Expedition page for more information on our more than 50 expeditions.
Happy Earth Day!
Last summer, Maria Rakka, Marine Biodiversity and Conservation master’s student at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, joined the Earthwatch Dolphins of Greece program as a student fellow. As with all of our student fellows, Maria’s research contribution was sponsored by a generous donation.
As a result of achievements made by Maria’s team in successfully observing, photographing, and tagging, the dolphins, she was asked to return as a field assistant for the summer of 2013. I had the opportunity to chat with Maria about her past expedition experience and her evolution into one of the team’s leaders.
“My experience last summer on the Dolphins of Greece project was amazing,” Maria said. “I learned so much about the dolphin populations of my country, the risks and threats they face, and the methods used to study them.” Maria’s passion for conserving these dolphins was ignited by having daily interactions in their natural habitat during the expedition. “Getting so close to them every day was an unforgettable experience. Putting into practice everything I learned during my studies was very important, along with the new study approaches I learned, like photo-identification and behavior monitoring.”
Securing her spot as a research assistant on the Dolphins of Greece project was no easy task. Two years of Maria’s collegiate marine career focused on Environmental Biology, and during this time took scuba diving courses. On these dives, Maria’s passion for the underwater world sparked. “I had the opportunity to visit different dive spots in places all over the world. I went to the Azores Islands and the Caribbean Archipelago, trips that made me love the marine environment even more.” Maria went on to teach scuba diving during her Erasmus Studies (what they call internships in Greece) before teaming up with Earthwatch.
When the lead scientist on the project offered Maria the opportunity to return to Dolphins of Greece as a field assistant, she didn’t hesitate to accept. “I love the way the whole project is organized,” Maria said. “Especially the fact that it combines research, conservation and simultaneously works to raise awareness about environmental issues within the Amvrakikos Gulf community.” Maria added. “Joan Gonzalvo and Ioannis Giovos (the lead scientists on this expedition) give presentations on a spherical view of conservation of the marine environment which they show to volunteers through presentations, discussions, and movies which really help to illustrate how we are making an impact.”
The Dolphins of Greece expedition is part of the Ionian Dolphin Project of the Tethys Research Institute, and has monitored dolphins in the Inner Ionian Archipelago and in the Amvrakikos Gulf in Western Greece for the last 20 years. Information about the dolphin population, their behavior, feeding habits, and interaction with other species and with local fisheries is being recorded daily. This data is crucial for managing fisheries and protecting the dolphin populations in the area.
“The data collected by this project has allowed the researchers to prove there is a dramatic decline on the population of endangered short-beaked common dolphins.” Maria explained the direct effect this project is having on the dolphins, “the decline has been linked to the unsustainability of local fisheries, and a result, has led to the collapse of fish-stocks that the dolphins rely on for food.”
While research conducted since 2001 shows the Amvrakikos Gulf hosts one of the highest populations of bottlenose dolphins ever reported in the Mediterranean, these dolphins still face concerns. “High human impact is an issue in the gulf, and poses a great risk to their survival,” Maria said. As a result of these findings, the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS (Agreement for the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area) has recommended each one of the study areas be classified as an MPA (Marine Protected Area), restricting human activity in the interest of conserving the gulf’s natural environment.
Participating first hand in making positive changes for these dolphins continues to ignite Maria’s passion for conserving marine life in Greece, and throughout the world. “The opportunity to participate on the Dolphins of Greece expedition as a researcher is very important for me, I am able to hone my skills and gain knowledge that will help me with my future career. Eventually, when I get to the appropriate stage of confidence with knowledge, background, and experience level, I would love to become a lead scientist on a program, maybe even for Earthwatch.”
“The staff and other volunteers created such a friendly and relaxed environment,” Maria said about getting back into the field, “and the site where we stay is beautiful. It’s a small town with friendly people and wonderful scenery. The waters of the Gulf are usually calm and reflect the mountains surrounding the bay to create amazing sunsets. In the afternoons, we would all go for walks on a small island near the site.”
“One of my favorite moments from our trip last year… We tried to cook a traditional Greek dish called mousakas. I had to call my mom and get a handful of tips and after two hours in the kitchen, we were all so hungry that we completely burned our tongues! It was one of the best dinners we had during the program. I had the opportunity to meet incredible people from all over the world. Everyone was self-motivated, collaborative and helpful which in turn, created a beautiful environment.”
Teens can spend a summer exploring the planet, growing their brains, all while under expert supervision? I know, it seems too good to be true, but not on an Earthwatch expedition. On each Earthwatch Teen Expedition, young adults work alongside renowned scientists at the cutting edge of conservation research and gain experience studying today’s most pressing environmental challenges. In addition to the scientific staff, each teen expedition features trained and experienced Earthwatch teen team facilitators who offer supervision and guidance throughout the expedition. These facilitators are the key to building a solid group dynamic while ensuring a vital platform for learning and personal development for students. I was lucky enough to chat with ten-time expedition facilitator, Mike Mao.
Currently a math and science teacher at Westwood High School in Westwood, Massachusetts, Mike has been a teen team facilitator ten times, including three teams in just one summer. “I love to travel and I love working with teenagers,” Mike said. “In the past five years, I’ve been on teams in Trinidad, California, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Belize. I like to expose people to science, especially young people.”
Mike previously chaperoned students on foreign language class trips to France and was asked by a fellow Westwood High teacher if he would be interested in facilitating on an Earthwatch expedition. “Since I started teaching, I’d been traveling more during the summers, and on top of that I am an avid hiker and really like the outdoors. I signed up to study leatherback sea turtles in Trinidad and have been hooked ever since. I really loved the experience and it made me want to come back summer after summer. I love to travel, I love to work with the kids, and this was the perfect balance between the two.”
Mike is also able to take what he sees out in the field and use it with his students in the classroom. “I teach math, but a lot of the time I’m able to relate my experiences on an expedition with something that comes up in the classroom.” At Westwood High, there is a course called “Save the World” that allows students the opportunity to study the environment in specific areas of interest. “I will go into those classrooms,” said Mike, “and talk about my experience with Earthwatch. It helps to give the students perspectives that things like this exist, it makes it more relatable. Tagging sea turtles in the Caribbean? I’ve done that. It makes it not so far-fetched for them.”
Mike continues volunteering and has plans to continue facilitating on Earthwatch expeditions. “I just really love doing the expeditions and have plans to do as many as I can. I’m actually in talks to go again this summer. But I can’t brag, there are some facilitators who have done more than twenty! These expeditions are a really incredible experience, and not just because working with the kids is so rewarding, but because I am actually learning something. I come back from facilitating each time just amazed at everything I have learned through the experience.”
This summer, Earthwatch is sending teen teams (and Mike!) out in the field to participate in exciting hands-on research. From studying the effects of climate change on wetlands in the Canadian Arctic, to examining leatherback sea turtles as they lay their eggs on Trinidad beaches, Earthwatch expeditions reach many corners of the world and encompass a variety of interests for adults and teens alike. Interested donors can sponsor a student fellowship or set up a tax-deductible Expedition Fund to help teens raise money in their schools and communities to join an expedition. To learn more about Earthwatch Expeditions, visit the website.
For this week’s blog, my intention was to share the adventures of Carol Sellers who recently returned from Egypt on her 6th Earthwatch Expedition, Red Sea Dolphin Project. While gathering details from that adventure, I discovered that her first expedition was taken twenty years ago: Madagascar Lemurs. As a result of this trip to Madagascar, Carol’s daughter Laurel launched a fashion accessory business in New York, importing the works of artisans from Madagascar. Today, Laurel’s company, Mar Y Sol, provides jobs to hundreds of Malagasy artisans who make raffia hats and handbags sold across the globe.
I never would have learned Laurel’s story if not for hearing Carol’s first. It is truly amazing how participating in an Earthwatch Expedition can change your life, as well as the lives of those you interact with – now, and for generations to come. You’ve got to read this…
Carol’s Story – Red Sea Dolphin Project, June 2012
Carol Sellers was interested in volunteering for the Red Sea Dolphin project because she had yet to be to Egypt, and she was eager to snorkel in one of the top dive destinations in the world while participating in cetacean research.
The research team coordinated its efforts with the Egyptian environmental conservation organization HEPCA, the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association. The expedition team was led by principal investigator, Marina Costa, three Milanese researchers, and a British Earthwatch representative. Five Earthwatch volunteers were also on this expedition, including 2 students. Carol Sellers described her experience.
“We received a warm reception as we arrived on the comfortable dive boat that was to be our home for the duration of the expedition. Our days started early as the sun rose and the rumble of the engines started. We had a variety of research tasks, including water and sky observations, hydrophone monitoring, recording data and observing interactions between day trip snorkelers and spinner dolphins who rested in sheltered lagoons during the day.
Many pairs of eyes scanned the sea as we zigzagged along transects watching for fins breaking through the waves. Shouts of a dolphin sighting brought the engines to a halt as everyone hung over the guard rails with cameras and delighted smiles. ‘Count them!’ Marina shouted. ‘Take photos, so we can identify the pods.’ No easy task, as the dolphins slipped under the boat and reappeared to ride our bow waves. We had another chance to do our counts in the afternoons as we snorkeled with them in the quiet lagoons.
To see these amazing mammals swim close enough to reach out and touch them was mesmerizing. Participating in assessing cetacean abundance in a region where no previous research has been done was especially meaningful. Snorkeling along the pristine reefs, we were rewarded with sightings of reef sharks, lion fish, eels, blue spotted feather rays and sea turtles as well as spectacular healthy corals.
In the evenings we had talks and slide shows from various team members on cetacean behavior, coral bleaching, and other scientific topics. All too soon, we were celebrating our last meal together, sharing photos for a memorable take-home DVD, and exchanging emails and well wishing to new found friends from around the world. The memories of this adventure have enriched my life as have each of the previous five expeditions in which I have participated over the past 20 years.
You never know what impact your trip may make on the world. I feel privileged to support this worthy organization and hope to share in more trips in the future.”
Laurel’s Story – Madagascar Lemurs, 1992
Laurel Brandstetter, Carol’s daughter, has never been on an Earthwatch Expedition. But her mother and step-father, Jim Sellers, joined Earthwatch’s Madagascar Lemurs project two decades ago. Jim Sellers was so moved by the plight of the people of Madagascar that he retired early as an engineer from NASA to help them. Twenty years later, Jim’s step-daughter, Laurel, carries out this mission through a company she founded called Mar Y Sol – translated from Spanish to English as Sea & Sun.
Jim Seller got himself involved in many initiatives to support the people of Madagascar. For instance, he set up an NGO called Starfish that provided medical volunteers and supplies. He was involved with donating bicycles. And he developed partnerships leveraging the work of local artisans, such as pressed wildflower paper, that he sold in the U.S. at local gift shops to raise money for the Madagascar. Jim raised anywhere between $10k and $30k a year from the sale of his wares.
Laurel was a city planner in New York City, but had previously worked at the grassroots level as a community organizer in Cleveland. After traveling to Madagascar to help Jim fulfill orders, she became disenchanted with her job and quit – armed with a much stronger understanding of what “grassroots” really meant – and got involved with her step-father full time.
“I had no money, no business background, and no knowledge really,” Laurel explained to me. “I was looking for something to sell and import to the United States, and I started seeing beautiful colored baskets and handbags in Madagascar. I brought samples back home to New York and started selling at street fairs and at parties at my house. I started thinking strategically about how I could make the product more sellable. One of the most exciting parts of the job is the cross-cultural exchange of ideas. What might be a basket in Madagascar can be folded into a clutch (purse) in the US.”
Laurel founded Mad Imports in 2003, and brought an intern aboard. Strapped for cash, her intern’s mother loaned Laurel $3k to do her first trade show, where she received her first batch of retail orders, and sales have doubled each year since. Today, the company goes by Mar Y Sol, and co-designs and co-creates authentic accessories made by hand using natural materials sourced sustainably from Madagascar’s precious forests. The sale of their products enables families to gain economic independence and promotes environmental conservation. This is achieved through fair trade partnerships with artisans who make a living wage through their “trade not aid” business model. For 2012, Mar Y Sol sales are expected to surpass $1 Million, with one-third to one-half of those dollars going back to Madagascar.
As Laurel put it, “Every year that I’ve been to Madagascar, I take loads of resources-magazines, design materials and art supplies and give free workshops to other artisan groups and girls at orphanages so they can have tools to make their products more marketable to tourists. I think there’s a lot of value is in the cross-cultural exchange and information sharing.”
Laurel closed with, “The artisans keep asking for more orders so they can take of themselves!”
While the Madagascar Lemurs research project has concluded, it did pave the way to the current Earthwatch Expedition, Carnivores of Madagascar, created to allow volunteers to help monitor Madagascar’s mysterious predator, the fosa, and protect its fragile island habitat.
Earthwatch Expeditions open the door for connections that otherwise would have never have been identified. With this blog named “Unlocked,” it has never been more accurate than after hearing this story of a mother influencing daughter (via step-father). We never really know the impact Earthwatch Expeditions have years later, unless volunteers share those stories with us.