Data and Safety Policy

We’re not currently analysing new data from Earthwatchers projects, but you can still take part for your own enjoyment! We hope to resume data analysis soon, so we’ll store your data for future use by our researchers​.

Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve.

Please take the time to read the information below carefully, and confirm that you agree to take part and to Earthwatch using your data for research.

You can contact the Earthwatchers team at any time (before, during and after your involvement with Earthwatchers) to ask questions, get more information, or for other clarification at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What’s involved?

By registering an account on Earthwatchers you will have access to a number of scientific surveys to complete. Completing these surveys and submitting your data is optional. You may choose to participate in none, one or several of them.

You may be asked to repeat certain surveys multiple times to give us an overview of how behaviours or natural resources change over time and/or the response of wildlife to these changes. Other surveys will be one-offs. We might ask you to upload photos as part of your data collection – these will be stored securely, in accordance with our data protection policy. If we wish to share these more widely (for example on social media channels), we will seek your permission first.

There is no planned end date for Earthwatchers. Your level and length of involvement is entirely up to you. You will be given an estimation of the time involved in performing a survey on the relevant project page.

You are free to decide whether or not to take part and may withdraw from Earthwatchers at any time.

The Earthwatchers team

Earthwatchers is a programme operated by Earthwatch Europe.

The researchers overseeing the project (at the time of signing) are:

  • Dr Toos van Noordwijk
  • Dr Daniel Hayhow

You can contact the Earthwatchers team by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Risks of involvement

Any activity carries some level of risk. The Earthwatchers activities you take part in may include some of the following common hazards associated with being outdoors:

  • Adverse weather conditions including strong sun or rain storms
  • Injury (e.g. as a result of slipping, tripping or scratching yourself)
  • Reactions to stings or bites from plants and wildlife
  • Working near water (e.g. slippery terrain, drowning or water-borne disease)
  • Falling, or low tree branches

You are responsible for reading the detailed safety instructions which are included with each project that requires activity in the field.

Whether you are participating on your own, or as part of a group with a partner organisation - participation in Earthwatchers is at your own risk. You must be the person to determine whether your activities and actions (and those of anyone in your care eg children under 16 and vulnerable adults) are reasonable and appropriate for the environment and circumstances you are in.

All individuals aged under 16, and vulnerable adults, must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

How we will capture, manage and use your data

Taking part in Earthwatchers will involve collecting personal information about you. The sources of this data are: equality, diversity and inclusion monitoring, surveys (performed online or on paper), and photos submitted alongside data.

This information will be protected in the following ways:

  • All data is stored on secure systems.
  • Only registration data will be associated to you by your name. All other data is associated to you using a numeric User ID.
  • Registration data will only be stored on Earthwatch Europe’s internal systems and our Amazon Cloud server.
  • Only Earthwatch Europe staff will have access to your data.
  • Any change to these systems will always be secure and GDPR compliant in order to protect your privacy.

Data is intended to inform environmental management advice, policy, and engagement practices. As such:

  • Data that you provide will be held by Earthwatch and shared with external researchers when appropriate and governed by legally binding agreements that protect participant anonymity.
  • Anonymised data will be shared with open repositories allowing other conservation organisations and researchers to use the data in their own analyses.
  • Anonymised data may also be shared with participants to perform their own analyses.

Information about you will be combined with information from other people taking part in Earthwatchers. We will write about the combined data we have gathered. Outputs from this study will not identify you unless we obtain your permission.

Upon withdrawing from Earthwatch, if you have not requested to be forgotten, we may re-contact you to request your participation in follow-up studies or other Earthwatch programmes.

Earthwatch Europe is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and holding your personal information in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation. Read our full privacy policy at

Your rights

You can withdraw from Earthwatch at any time, without penalty by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You have the right to:

  • A copy of the information we hold about you
  • Withdraw consent at any time
  • Change your personal information
  • 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
  • Restrict our processing of your data if there is disagreement about its accuracy or legitimate usage
  • Move, copy or transfer your personal information easily and safely from one IT environment to another, in some circumstances
  • Object to processing based on legitimate interests.

Please note that these rights are not exercisable in all circumstances eg personal data may 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.

You can enact these rights by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and providing us with your full name, the projects that you have been involved in with us, and the action you would like to take.

Earthwatch Europe’s rights

Participant accounts may be terminated if the participant persistently or severely breaches Earthwatch’s Terms of Use, which include but are not limited to:

- Posting of obscene or offensive language or material

- Posting defamatory, abusive, discriminatory or hateful material or applauding or encouraging such material

- Posting confidential material/private information.

Participants will be informed before such action is taken.

Reporting concerns

If you have questions about your rights as an Earthwatcher, or you want to make sure this is a valid study, you may contact the Earthwatch Ethics Committee. The Earthwatch Ethics Committee is comprised of internal and external members of staff and all projects are assessed by members not associated with the project. This is the Committee that is responsible for overseeing the safety of all Earthwatchers. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have questions, complaints or concerns about the study or if you would like to obtain information or offer input.

Participant Consent

By submitting data as part of Earthwatchers I agree to the following.

Taking part in the study

  1. I have read and understood the above information, or it has been read to me. I have been able to ask questions about Earthwatchers and my questions have been satisfactorily answered.
  2. I consent voluntarily to be a participant in Earthwatchers and understand that I can refuse to answer questions and I can withdraw from the study at any time, without having to give a reason. I do this by informing the Earthwatchers team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  3. I understand that taking part in Earthwatchers requires me to provide data and that this will involve taking part in online or paper surveys.
  4. I understand that I am taking part in Earthwatchers at my own risk.
  5. I understand that I am responsible for reading the detailed safety instructions which are included with each project that requires activity in the field.
  6. I confirm that I am over 16 years old

Use of my data in the study

  1. I understand that data which can identify me will only be shared beyond the Earthwatch team where absolutely necessary for research purposes and governed by strict confidentiality agreements that protect my anonymity.
  2. I agree that the data provided by me may be used for the following purposes:
    1. Presentation and discussion of the project and its results in research activities (e.g. project meetings, conferences)
    2. Publications and reports describing the project and its results
    3. Dissemination of the project and its results, including publication of data on web pages and databases.
  3. I give permission for my words to be quoted for the purposes described above.
  4. I give permission for my visual image, or that of my activities relating to Earthwatchers projects, contained in photos or video gathered during the research, to be used for the purposes described above.

Reuse of my data

  1. I give permission for the data that I provide to be reused for the sole purposes of future research and learning.
  2. I understand and agree that this may involve depositing my data in a data repository, which may be accessed by other researchers.

Security of my data

  1. I understand that safeguards will be put in place to protect my identity and my data during the research, and if my data is kept for future use.
  2. I confirm that I have been described these safeguards, told how to relocate them on the Earthwatchers website, and that they are acceptable to me.
  3. I understand that no computer system is completely secure but all practicable steps will be taken to protect my data and my anonymity.


I give permission for data gathered during this project to be used, copied, excerpted, annotated, displayed and distributed for the purposes to which I have consented.

Earthwatch reserve the right to update this Policy. You will be notified of any material changes.

© 2018 Earthwatch Institute. All rights reserved. Earthwatch Institute (Europe) is a registered charity in England and Wales, no. 1094467.