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Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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eco tourism > newsfile > explore with earthwatch in 2004

Explore with Earthwatch in 2004

Posted: 16 Dec 2003

It can be hard to know how to convert a passion for the planet into positive action but Earthwatch, an international environmental charity and a Planet 21 partner organisation, may have the answer.Their expedition guide for 2004 is now available.

Every year around 4000 people from around the world take part in Earthwatch field research projects in 50 countries. Volunteers work alongside scientists on projects and play a role in collecting the research needed to conserve the planet for the future.

One project in need of volunteers is in the Rainforests of Northern Australia. This is an opportunity to spend two weeks living and working in the midst of more than 3,000 species, including over 1,000 trees types, half of all Australian bird species and more endemic mammals than anywhere else on the continent.

A century of forestry and agriculture, has taken its toll on this biologically diverse land. This habitat, which is home to many different species, is now under threat. Volunteers are part of a pioneering study to discover the interdependence between plants, animals and this unique rainforest ecosystem.

Earthwatch is investigating the habits of fruit-eating animals to find out how far they disperse seeds and document how changes in the landscape affect these habits. Volunteers are involved in monitoring the movements of tagged, fruit-eating birds and mammals and observe their foraging and processing behaviour in both the field and captive settings.

The data collected is incorporated into an ecological computer model, developed by Earthwatch, and used to inform forest managers about predicted long-term consequences of forest fragmentation and species decline.

As well as witnessing flying foxes, fruit doves, bowerbirds and musky rat-kangaroos, there are excursions to see other Australian wildlife and the chance to take a dip in the local lake to cool off.

This project, along with the Queensland Tropical Fish Ecology and Climate Change in the Rainforests projects, are part of Earthwatch�s Queensland Conservation Research Initiative.

Volunteers are required on all three projects and their research, from collecting and measuring fish samples to combing transects for frogs, will contribute towards preserving the region for the future.

These are just three of over 140 Earthwatch projects on offer in 2004, 25 of which are new this year.

Full details and price information are available in the Expedition Guide 2004, for your copy please call or visit Earthwatch Europe.

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