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Celebrating our 50th anniversary: Earthwatch through the ages

2021 has finally arrived, and with it comes Earthwatch's 50th anniversary! To celebrate, we will post one story a week, showcasing how people have come together to tackle the climate and environmental crises as a result of our work. 

Our first story is actually more of a roundup, with 10 pictures showing the history of Earthwatch Europe, from our founding members Herschel Post and Max Nicholson to our present day projects. 


Herschel Post MBE, one of the founders of Earthwatch Europe and Chairman from 1997-2010. Herschel and his wife Peggy were instrumental in establishing Earthwatch as a UK charity, working with a small group of like-minded colleagues with a passion for science, conservation and education to set up an office in Oxford.


Max Nicholson, an established presence in the field of conservation, was another of Earthwatch Europe's founders. Previously Director General of the Nature Conservancy, President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and one of the creators of the World Wildlife Fund, Max was described by Sir Crispin Tickell as "a giant in his time, with a compelling combination of idealism, imagination, energy, and managerial ability."


Earthwatch’s first formal partnership with HSBC was Investing in Nature, a five-year partnership launched in 2002, featuring WWF and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. During the programme, HSBC sent 2,000 employees on Earthwatch field research projects around the world and helped Earthwatch train 230 scientists from the developing world on Earthwatch projects. HSBC participants undertook environmental projects in their workplace or local communities, supported by grants from HSBC.


Nigel Winser led Earthwatch Europe as President from 2005-2015, overseeing many major milestones. He was also instrumental in developing links with Oman and delivering the Earthwatch Oman Project. “Creating a culture of field science in the Middle East is something I’m particularly proud of,” says Nigel. 


Since 1993 Earthwatch Europe has partnered with Mitsubishi’s Global Coral Reef Conservation Project, working on a site in the Seychelles. To support the project, five Mitsubishi employees are sent each year to the site to be trained in research methodologies and contribute through hands-on data collection.


Hilda Aloyce was awarded £4,000 in the Neville Shulman Earthwatch Awards’ first year to create a powerful series of films exploring the cause and impact of marine pollution off the coast of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. For 12 years the Neville Shulman Earthwatch Awards have funded promising early-career environmental scientists  in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. They have supported research, paid for training and equipment, and unlocked mentoring and networking opportunities for over 70 winners.  


Earthwatch's education programme trains teachers how to take learning outside the classroom. “For us to get the students to access the outdoors is important not only for their physical health but their mental health as well. It is trying to teach the students that it is ok to be outdoors and being able to link this to the curriculum has been a huge support to the students and staff.” Charlotte Goode, Teach Earth programme alumna.


Our Naturehood programme was launched in 2019, bringing people together to support nature on their doorstep. The first phase of the project saw four Naturehoods created in Oxfordshire and Swindon, focused areas where dedicated engagement officers supported communities to work together to support local wildlife. 


Originally started  in 2012 as part of the HSBC Water Programme, FreshWater Watch trains people all over the world to collect and analyse samples from freshwater rivers and lakes, providing valuable data that goes on to have a real policy impact on water management. Since the programme launched, over 26,000 data sets have been collected by more than 9,000 volunteers.


In March 2020, Earthwatch Europe teamed up with Witney Town Council in Oxfordshire to plant the UK’s first Tiny Forest. The size of a tennis court, we hope that it will be part of solutions to mitigate the effect of climate change, as well as a space for people to connect with nature. 


We can't wait to see what the next 50 years will bring. Please help us to grow our impact for people and the environment by making a donation. Thank you for being a part of our movement for change!


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