Cookie Policy - Earthwatch

Cookie Policy

Our websites (like most platforms) use cookies.

What is a cookie?

Cookies are files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website or mobile application. Cookies are then sent back to the originating site on each subsequent visit, or to another site that recognises that cookies.

Cookies are widely used in order to make sites work, or to work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the platform.

We use cookies to enhance the online experience of our visitors (for example, by remembering your language and/or product preferences) and to better understand how our site is used. Cookies may tell us, for example, whether you have visited our site before or whether you are a new visitor. They can also help to ensure that adverts you see online are more relevant to you and your interests.

Types of cookies

There are two broad categories of cookies:

First Party Cookies, served directly by us to your computer or mobile device. They are used only by us to recognise your computer or mobile device when it revisits our site.

Third party cookies, which are served by a service provider on our site, and can be used by the service provider to recognise your computer or mobile device when it visits other sites. Third party cookies are most commonly used for platform analytics or advertising purposes.

Cookies can remain on your computer or mobile device for different periods of time. Some cookies are ‘session cookies’, meaning that they exist only while your browser is open. These are deleted automatically once you close your browser. Other cookies are ‘permanent cookies,’ meaning that they survive after your browser is closed. They can be used by the site to recognise our computer or mobile device when you open your browser and browse the Internet again.

Information we may collect from you

When you register online or make a donation we may collect information relevant to the type of transaction you are entering with details such as your name, email address, postal address, telephone or mobile number, bank account details to process donations and whether you are a tax payer so that we can claim Gift Aid.

When you successfully apply a programme or activity we may ask for information about your health. We do this to ensure that we supply appropriate facilities and support, and to ensure that our staff are prepared to respond to incidents appropriately. Clear notices will be given when this information is collected. All sensitive personal data is stored on a secure database, to which only a limited number of relevant staff have access. It is deleted when no longer relevant.

In the case of an incident where it is in the person’s vital interests for us to share sensitive data, for example with a hospital, we may share sensitive information. Clear information on this policy will be available if you join one of our programmes/activities.

Should you support Earthwatch in a substantial way, we may provide an account manager to help you tailor your relationship to suit your interests. If this is the case we may collect sensitive personal data where relevant to our relationship, such as your political or religious views. Should you disclose information to us about your health or your family, this may also be recorded, so that we can communicate with you in a considerate and appropriate manner.

We record photographs, audio and video which may be personal data under EU data protection Provide link legislation. Please see our terms and conditions policy for details of our licence on all contributions to our website.

Legal basis for data processing

To comply with UK data protection rules, we must have a legal justification for collecting and using your personal data. 

The legal basis that we rely on will depend upon the circumstances in which we collect and use your data. In almost all cases, our processing will fall into one of the following categories:

Where you have provided your consent to allow us to use your data in a certain way:

  • Such as sending you Earthwatch e-newsletters, you may opt-out at any time.
  • When you fundraise for us via fundraising sites like Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving, we will process some of your personal information so that we can record the money you raise. These independent third parties will pass your data to us. We will respect whether you opt-in or out of communications from us.
  • Responding to your enquiries, compliments and complaints.

Where the processing of your personal information is necessary to carry out the performance of a contract with you.

  • Taking event and course bookings.
  • Managing competition entries.
  • Employee administration.
  • Processing job, grant or programme applications.

Where the processing of your personal information is necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation:

  • Claiming Gift Aid on donations.
  • Our legal duty to maintain accurate information, keep financial records for auditing purposes.
  • To keep your data up-to-date using the Royal Mail’s public data on addresses, and publicly available registers of the recently deceased to avoid continuing communication when inappropriate.
  • Our legal duty to maintain participant information for insurance purposes.
  • Our legal duty of care to our participants on Earthwatch facilitated courses, experiences etc.

Where it is in our legitimate interests to contact you to raise funds and achieve our objective to save our natural world. Our legitimate interests may include:

  • Sending you information about Earthwatch, because of activities you have been involved in, or asking you for feedback on the activities you have been involved in. You may opt-out at any time.
  • Thanking you and inform you of the impact your donation has made.
  • To record correspondence in our database, and to keep relevant information for people who have informed us they do not wish to be contacted, so that we ensure we do not send unwanted information.

Sharing personal information

We never sell or swap personal information.

We may need to share limited information with trusted third parties who help us to aggregate and analyse scientific data, prepare and send you communications or process donations and other responses.

 We have a legal duty to ensure that we hold up-to-date information about our supporters (e.g. if you move to a new house, we have a duty to remove your old address). From time to time we will ask a trusted third party to ‘clean’ the data that we have for our supporters. This means that our trusted supplier will use records that are in the public domain such as the Postcode Address File and registers of people deceased to remove out of date information.

 We have a legal duty of care to our participants on Earthwatch facilitated courses, experiences etc. In an emergency we may disclose personal information and health information to protect your vital interests. 

Transferring personal data

If you have already expressed an interest in Earthwatch’s expeditions or make an enquiry about expeditions in future, you will do this on, a website owned by our US office (Earthwatch Institute (United States) 114 Western Avenue, Boston, MA 02134, U.S.A. Email: A record of your personal information will be held by Earthwatch Institute (United States). You will be subject to their privacy policy.

The parties both run participatory science projects which are offered internationally, this means that a participant from a particular region may sign up to the project (including the submission of personal data, including sensitive medical information about themselves) through one party for a project that will be managed by the other. Therefore it is necessary that participant data is shared between the parties for both administrative purposes and for the protection of individuals in the field should incidents occur which necessitate reviewing their personal and medical details.

When you successfully apply a programme or activity we may ask for information about your health, allergies and dietary requirements. We share this with our contracted facilitators and accodmations facilities.

We have appropriate agreements and contracts in place with these individuals to provide assurance that they will take care to ensure that they keep your data secure.

How long we hold personal information

We will hold your only for as long as we need to.

Newsletter subscribers

For Earthwatchers who choose to receive our communications such a e-newsletters, by working with trusted email services we will remove subscribers who don’t open our emails, click any links in the email or respond at all within a period of two years.  Earthwatchers may opt-out of receiving future mailings at any point before two years elapses.

Citizen scientists

We believe in taking action underpinned by science to protect our natural world. For Earthwatchers who take part in our projects and submit data, we must retain some information associated with their scientific research to verify the accuracy of the data, scientific integrity and future investigations. In all cases where personal information or geographic location is not vital to the research we will remove the associated geolocation detail, however we may still need to retain a unique identifier so that we can trace your data in future.

Participants in our expeditions or field studies led by Earthwatch

We must retain your data for seven years for audit and insurance purposes.  


If you make a one-off donation, or you cancel a regular donation we must keep your personal information for seven years for financial accounting reasons. 

Legacy pledgers

As a charity, for whom a valuable source of income is from generous donors who leave gifts in their wills, we will retain the information of our donors for a minimum of 80 years.

Aggregated data

As a charity Earthwatch relies on funding from generous donors and trusts. We may share aggregated (anonymous) data about our Earthwatch community to prove our impact and show why funders should choose us.  This is not linked to any personal information that can identify any individual person.

We may also analyse aggregated (anonymous) data about our Earthwatch community to help us improve our operations. This is not linked to any personal information that can identify any individual person.

Your rights

Subject access request

If you would like to request a copy of information about you that we hold, please contact us Please provide let us know your full name and projects that you have been involved in with us. We will process your request within 30 days. We may need to verify your identity.

You are also granted additional rights under data protection legislation, which are outlined below:

  • Where we are processing data based on your consent, you have the right to withdraw consent at any time.
  • You have the right to change your personal information if it is incomplete or inaccurate. 
  • You have the right to request the deletion or removal of your personal information in certain circumstances, including where it is no longer necessary for us to hold it for the purposes for which we are processing it. 
  • You have the right to restrict our processing of your data if there is disagreement about its accuracy or legitimate usage.
  • You have the right to move, copy or transfer your personal information easily and safely from one IT environment to another, in some circumstances.
  • You have the right to object to processing based on legitimate interests

Please note that these rights are not exercisable in all circumstances. For example, personal data might not have to be erased if it is needed in the interests of public health, or to support legal claims, compliance and scientific or historical research.

For more information about these rights, please read the guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office.  

Notification of changes

This privacy notice may change from time to time. For example, we may update this notice to reflect any relevant changes to legislation and regulation.

Please visit this website section periodically to keep up-to-date with the changes in our notice.

If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify you by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether we use their information in this different manner.

Further information

Please contact us if you would like further information or have any questions about this Privacy Policy

If you have a concern about Earthwatch’s data protection practises please contact us or the  Information Commissioner’s Office on 0303 123 1113 or

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