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Earthwatch at 50: Elaine Massie and Richard Lawson's story

When Elaine Massie and Richard Lawson headed out to a remote turtle research outpost in Baja California in 1998, it was the start of a relationship with Earthwatch that would see them undertake more than 30 expeditions over 22 years. The couple returned to Mexico seven years in a row before joining Earthwatch trips in Costa Rica, Nova Scotia, Greece, Canada, and Kenya as well as closer to home in Oxford and Brighton.

“It’s hard to remember what life was like before Earthwatch,” Richard says. “I’d always been interested in nature, but more from a scientific point of view. The projects taught me that you can enjoy the experience side of things as well.”

Meanwhile, Elaine was inspired to embark on an entirely new career, leaving the insurance industry to become a teacher after being given a renewed love for learning.

The couple have recently bought a 10 acre patch of land in Bedfordshire which they have been inspired to rewild into a wildflower meadow as well as continuing their efforts rescuing and re-releasing hedgehogs.


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