Frequently Asked Questions

What does Science in the Wild do?

We at Science in the Wild lead immersive and educational science trips around the world. For larger macro-scale projects that are researcher-led, you learn how to collect, analyze and interpret data in the field alongside professional scientists. When we publish in open-source journals, you are included as a co-author. Usually these are well-established projects, like our glacial lake mapping and snow pollution projects in the eastern Himalaya, Nepal.

We also involve you in formulating a smaller micro-scale citizen science project and teach you the scientific method – how to ask questions and how to go about answering them in the field. We show you how to think like a scientist, provide you with scientific tools and training, and let you explore a key question you come up with for the duration of a trip. Education is at the heart of what we do – providing you a chance to enrich your experience by exploring wild landscapes like a scientist.

Do I need a background in science?

Nope! We teach you everything you need to know. After you pay for a trip in full, we provide you with a trip booklet outlining where we’ll be going, the science we’ll be doing, and the field toolbox we’ll have available to us. This can include thermal cameras, spectroradiometers, snow density kits, pH meters, water testing kits, portable weather stations, etc. We also provide you with a handy glossary for scientific terminology.

If you’re a student interested in getting experience with science in the field, you’ve come to the right place. Need credits? This is a work-in-progress as we get set up to offer these, but stay tuned to this page for more information.

If you’re a scientist interested in piggybacking experiments on our trips, let’s talk.

Do you offer any formal classes?

We are beta testing a bioastronautics course in conjunction with Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Atmosphere). Our first trip is to the Atacama Desert in Chile from February 1 – 15, 2017. You’ll get exposed to actual research that would be performed on the Moon or Mars, use tools that might be needed to conduct the investigations, and learn how these tools would be used by astronauts wearing an EVA spacesuit. PoSSUM graduates receive continuing education units.

I’m an artist. Can I join?

Absolutely! Back in the day before good cameras, geologists spent long days in the field sketching out the terrain and their observations. If you’re a filmmaker, a photographer, sketch artist, painter, etc., we want you. Your skill and your eye on the terrain will enhance the experience for everyone on the trip – scientists and citizens alike.

How much experience do I need to join a trip?

It depends on which level you choose. WILD is for beginners, is kid-friendly, and usually the shortest option (e.g., 1 week – 10 days). To join at this level, you must have some experience with hiking and camping, so you’ll feel more comfortable.

WILDER is for those at with intermediate hiking and camping skills. We camp more and stay out longer in the wilderness (2 weeks). Some high altitude experience is a plus.

WILDEST usually involves some mountaineering skill and experience at high altitude. These are the longest in duration, from 3-4 weeks. If interested in joining WILDEST, we require proof of your experience as well as a skill assessment prior to a trip. Usually this involves pre-expedition training in Colorado sometime in the month or two prior to departure. If you join a WILD trip, you can qualify for future WILDER trips at discount. The same applies to go from WILDER to WILDEST.

What if I’m a mountaineer, wanting to learn how to do science on the slopes?

We are in the planning phases of introducing Science in the Wild Exxtreme expeditions for those citizens with high skill levels in the mountains also craving scientific knowledge: the collection, analysis and interpretation of data. For this we are developing rapid assessment of data (RAD) training and pop-up labs that can be run at base camps of mountains.

Can I rent gear?

Yes, depending on what you need we can provide you gear through Science in the Wild or through our local operators on-site. For footwear, we recommend investing in pairs that fit well and are well broken-in prior to expedition start.

What will we eat?

When we’re in town, we eat out at local restaurants and your trip fee covers this, unless specified otherwise. Depending on the location, we may eat at small village restaurants as we make our way to a field site (e.g., Nepal). Other times we’ll be camping and cooking ourselves. At Science in the Wild, we treat you like a team member and this includes revolving camp duties while on expedition.

Where do we normally stay?

Pre- and post-expedition we will stay in 3- or 4-star hotels. Depending on the location, while we’re working in the field, we may be in basic teahouses/hostels. Other times we’ll be camping out in SITW-provided tents.

Is airfare included?

No, international airfare is not included. Domestic airfare to get to field sites is included in your trip fee, unless otherwise specified on the expedition website.

What kinds of travel documents will I need?

A passport is required for all international travel. Most countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your travel.  Visas are country-specific. Please check the particular expedition page for this information.

Is there cell/internet connection?

Pre- and post-expedition, we usually have cell and internet connection. While out in the field, it depends on the location. In Nepal, the valley we work in is well-connected the whole time we are up there. On climbs in the Andes, there is minimal signal. For safety we carry a Delorme InReach text messenger, where loved ones can track our location and messages from the field on our website and Facebook page. We also carry a satellite phone in case of emergency. Everyone is required to have travel insurance, at their own expense. For the WILDEST expeditions, Global Rescue insurance (or approved equivalent) is required in case an evacuation is required.

Will I be able to charge my phone, camera, etc.?

While out in the field, we will have portable solar panels, batteries, and, expedition-dependent, a generator. This is primarily for charging scientific instrumentation and computers. In the evenings team members can charge phones and camera batteries using SITW-provided battery banks.

What forms of payment do you accept (credit cards, pay by installments) and when is full payment due?

We accept Paypal and bank transfer through our webpage, and checks via mail. We also can arrange for you to pay by installments. Contact us with your individual situation. You can choose a deposit, remaining payment or pay-in-full option for the expedition you are interested in. A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot 5 months prior to expedition. Full non-refundable payment is expected 2 months prior to departure.

What if I can’t go for personal or health reasons?  What is the refund policy?

Given the amount of unique planning that goes into each SITW expedition, we have a strict no refund policy. We recommend you purchase travel insurance to recover airline costs in case of having to cancel your trip. In addition, we will credit 15% of your payment towards a future trip with us.