Tuesday, 29 March 2011 13:40
The Victorian Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Youth Affairs, the Hon. Ryan Smith, celebrated the official launch of the 2011 International Earthwatch Expedition Program with the cutting of the organisation's 40th Birthday Cake this morning at the Melbourne Aquarium.
The Minister released details of over 60 scientific research projects in Australia and around the world at the launch.
Left: Lilah, Harriet and The Hon. Ryan Smith MP, Victorian Minister for the Environment,
Climate Change and Youth Affairs blow out the candles on the Earthwatch 40th Birthday Cake.
Richard Gilmore, Executive Director of Earthwatch Australia said people of all ages are bypassing the normal tourism trappings of classy hotels with turned down sheets, chocolates on the pillow, large swimming pools and poolside bars to be part of scientific expeditions.
Mr Gilmore said "an increasing number of people are paying in excess of three to four thousand dollars to go on Scientific Expeditions to live and work in basic conditions to become part of research teams.
"One of our new expeditions 'Conserving Koala Country in the Otways' already has United States tourists booked to spend eight days tracking Koalas in the Victorian State Forest in the Otway Ranges.
"An increased awareness of the environment and the growing level of community involvement and volunteerism is set to make Scientific Expeditions an expanding part of the world's tourism market.
"People are enjoying it so much they are returning to the research expeditions on a regular basis to help scientists record valuable data and spread the word to their friends and family."
The Minister Ryan Smith with Earthwatch staff, supporters and volunteers
surrounding the 40th Birthday Cake at the Melbourne Aquarium launch.
Mr Gilmore said over the past 40 years over 93,000 global supporters, scientists and educators have committed nearly 11 million hours of conservation field work and distributed millions of dollars in research funding.
"The research projects are as diverse as investigating Australia's outback to discover new species, to Cheetah Conservation in Namibia or surveying the Dolphins of Greece.
"With more than 60 research expeditions to choose from in Australia and across the world, Earthwatch provides rare access to unique areas where people not only observe but actually take part in and contribute to scientific research to preserve animals and habitats.
"This creates a unique rite of environmental passage which people will regard as a life-changing experience."
Earthwatch recently was elected as a charity by Prince William and Miss Middleton to receive donations in lieu of wedding gifts for the royal couple's wedding in April.
Earthwatch 2011 Expedition Guide
Earthwatch Australia's work is recognised with The Prime Minister's Award for Australian Environmentalist of the Year 2009 for outstanding achievement at a national and international level.
Note: Local Participation in ClimateWatch Online Data Collection for Scientists
How your readers and listeners can join in the Data Collection in your area. Just go to www.earthwatch.org.au and click on the ClimateWatch Bird on bottom of home page for details on how you can assist scientists collect information.