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Citizen Science Departures

Citizen Science Departures

As part of our Nature Net Positive commitment, Exodus Travels are thrilled to partner with NatureMetrics and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in support of the eBioAtlas – a global atlas of life in the world’s species worldwide using cutting-edge technology. Together, we have set up a process by which our clients can be part of the species mapping process on their adventures, to help support conservation action and inform world biodiversity policy – we’re calling these our Citizen Science Departures. The samples taken on these trips play a vital role in building the eBioAtlas, and once they’re analysed, clients on these trips will receive an update on what valuable conservation data samples from their trip has helped to identify.  

We are excited to be currently offering Citizen Science Departures on 20 of our trips across different parts of the world, which can be found below. To see which dates are running as a Citizen Science Departure, visit the Dates & Prices tab. For further information about the sample-taking process and what to expect on your Citizen Science departure, read our Frequently Asked Questions.

Collect eDNA samples on your Exodus trip

Exodus Travels and NatureMetrics have partnered together to enable interested our clients to contribute directly to biodiversity protection and collect freshwater samples on a number of our trips across the world. Each sample – taken at a pre-appointed freshwater source during your trip itinerary – will map any land or water-based species for up to a square mile around the sample-taking point. This enables a more comprehensive and efficient method of mapping global species than ever before, helping inform IUCN’s ‘red list’ of endangered species as well as a number of other conservation initiatives.   

This page offers further information about this exciting new partnership and how by travelling on one of our Citizen Science departures you will be contributing to the eBioAtlas, a programme that will inform world biodiversity policy by generating biodiversity data from around the globe. Read more here about this exciting partnership and our Citizen Science departures will contribute to building the eBioAtlas, a programme that will inform worldwide biodiversity conservation and restoration. Or read our FAQ section below for more information on what is involved in our Citizen Science Departures. 

We are excited to offer Citizen Science Departures on 20 of our trips, highlighted below. These ‘Special Departures’ are displayed on the Dates & Prices tab. 

Citizen Science Departures

On Offer

Inca Trail & the Amazon Rainforest

TPJ
15 Days from CAD 5,895

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Trekking, jungle and indigenous culture – the best Peru has to offer

Walking & Trekking

The Zambezi Valley

Citizen Science Departures
8 Days from CAD 3,345

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Canoeing and walking safari in the Zambezi Valley.

Wildlife
On Offer

Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana

48251
14 Days from CAD 5,549
CAD 5,245

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

A Safari through Botswana's best wildlife reserves and Victoria Falls

Wildlife
On Offer

Kenya & Tanzania Adventure

Citizen Science Departures
14 Days from CAD 7,345

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Excellent game viewing, scenery and Zanzibar

Wildlife
On Offer

Discover Costa Rica

frog
15 Days from CAD 6,275

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Experience the Costa Rican rainforest, mountains and coast

Wildlife
On Offer

Cycle Indochina & Angkor

Angkor Wat
14 Days from CAD 4,575

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Cycle through 3 countries from Thailand to Vietnam

Cycling
On Offer

Vietnam Adventure

Incense giving, Vietnam
14 Days from CAD 2,575

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

A comprehensive north to south exploration

Culture
On Offer

Dolomites, Lake Garda & Venice Ride

Lake Garda, Italy
8 Days from CAD 3,245

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Spectacular riding from the stunning Dolomites to Venice

Cycling
On Offer

Finnish Wilderness Week

Riisitunturi National Park, Finland (photo by Erkki Ollila)
8 Days from CAD 4,179

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Mixed activity week in a remote part of Finland

Winter
On Offer

Walking the Prosecco Hills

Citizen Science Departures
8 Days from CAD 2,775

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Unveil one of the world’s best wine regions.

Walking & Trekking

Classic Dolomites – Premium Adventure

Premium Adventures

Citizen Science Departures
8 Days from CAD 3,045

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Superb walking in Italy's most spectacular mountain range

Walking & Trekking
On Offer

Discover the Baltics

Old castle in sunset time. Trakai, Lithuania, Eastern Europe.
12 Days from CAD 3,045

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Visit three countries in twelve days, through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Culture

Bosnia & Beyond

Bridge at Mostar
11 Days from CAD 3,445

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Experience the culture and beauty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro

Culture
On Offer

Hidden Treasures of Jordan

Petra's Treasury
12 Days from CAD 3,645

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Explore Jordan's archaeological highlights and crusader castles

Culture
On Offer

Mt Toubkal Climb

Citizen Science Departures
8 Days from CAD 1,045

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Exhilarating trek to the summit of North Africa's highest mountain

Walking & Trekking

Western Explorer

Autumn in Yosemite Valley, USA
12 Days from CAD 9,495

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Visit five breathtaking National Parks in the USA

Walking & Trekking
On Offer

Portugal: Walking & Wine – Premium Adventure

Premium Adventures

Citizen Science Departures
8 Days from CAD 3,795

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

A deep-dive into Portugal's premier wine region, the Douro Valley.

Walking & Trekking
On Offer

Uzbekistan Uncovered

Khiva, Uzbekistan
11 Days from CAD 3,645

Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)

Delve into rich and colourful Uzbekistan

Culture

Frequently Asked Questions about our Citizen Science Departures

What is the eBioAtlas?

eBioAtlas is a step change in our ability to understand and restore nature. The programme is delivering a transformational global baseline of biodiversity by combining cutting-edge eDNA technology with the power of the global community. The eBioAtlas, a joint initiative of IUCN and NatureMetrics, is empowering projects around the world to monitor biodiversity by using DNA technologies developed by NatureMetrics. Together with project partners and citizen scientists, the data from this programme will map the global distribution of species using the most powerful biodiversity technology available.  

The sample-taking process is simple: It is based on the fact that all living things leave traces of their DNA in the environment, such as fish leaving their DNA in waterways and wetlands. Clients travelling on a Citizen Science departure will collect this DNA using the NatureMetrics’ environmental DNA (eDNA) kits, and their scientists will then reveal the species present in different ecosystems, unravelling information about where these species are living as well as their migration habits, and it all starts with clients simply pushing water through a filter with a syringe during their trip.  

The information collected will be part of the world’s largest repository of fauna species data, contributing not only to local biodiversity but also to a complete global map. This will inform species assessments on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and help identify sites in need of protection as Key Biodiversity Areas. 

What is a Citizen Science departure with Exodus Travels? 

In response to our world’s double crises of climate change and accelerated biodiversity loss, Exodus Travels have made a Nature Net Positive commitment to ensure our adventures give far more back to nature than they take. As part of this commitment, we are delighted to establish a partnership with NatureMetrics and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in support of the eBioAtlas. Together, we have set up a process that enables our clients to collect eDNA samples on some of our chosen adventures, directly contributing to conservation action whilst informing world biodiversity policy.   

Our Citizen Science ‘special departures’ are shown in the dates & prices tab of the trip so you can make sure you’re booked onto one of these exclusive departures.  

Why are we doing this?

Our planet faces unprecedented challenges – not only the climate crisis, but biodiversity collapse. The nature and unique ecosystems that we take clients to explore on our adventures are vital for the survival of our global society but are left increasingly under threat. As a business, we feel compelled to act, and our clients also increasingly tell us that they want to see Exodus Travels prioritise the protection and restoration of nature and wildlife.   

This project not only enables us to use our trips to help support a pioneering global biodiversity conservation initiative, it also enables our clients and supplier partners to get directly involved in increasing our knowledge on endangered species around the world and helping to preserve and restore nature.  

To read more about Exodus Travels’ commitment to nature, through our Nature Net Positive plan, click here.   

How does the sampling process work?

Your tour leader will provide the group with three easy-to-use NatureMetrics eDNA kit containing everything your group will need to collect three eDNA samples and discover the species present up to a square mile around your location and discover the biodiversity present on your chosen trip.  

Your Tour Leader will then guide you in how to take the sample – by collecting a water sample from a freshwater source at a pre-appointed location on your itinerary and pushing that water through the eDNA sample filter. Your Leader will then send the eDNA samples to the NatureMetrics laboratories for analysis. We will tell you which animals you have discovered in your sample and therefore, what animals were present at the same time you were on your adventure – even if you didn’t see them with your own eyes.  

Can I take samples on any Exodus adventure?

We are thrilled to offer Citizen Science departures to 20 exclusive Exodus trips across the world. The departure dates for the Citizen Science departures are shown under the Dates & Prices tab on the trip page. We are hoping to extend the special departures to other Exodus trips in the near future. 

What’s included in the NatureMetrics eDNA kit?

The NatureMetrics eDNA kits have been specially designed so that they are simple to use by anybody. The kits have since been used and validated in 85+ countries including in many different environments from remote Peruvian rainforests to the poles. It’s important that the DNA samples are easy to use because eBioAtlas is all about bringing people together to be a part of the solution towards reversing the biodiversity crisis. The NatureMetrics eDNA kits contain a bag for collecting a water sample, a syringe for measuring the volume of water, and a unique eDNA water filter and preservative solution to filter water DNA samples and protect the DNA sample on its return to the lab. The kit also contains gloves to ensure that human DNA isn’t included in the sample, and a reporting card to take note of any important information like the weather and the date of collection.  

The eDNA water filter and the reporting card are the only parts that are used in the NatureMetrics lab analysis, but all remaining kit components are returned to NatureMetrics for recycling so that no plastic waste is left in the environment. 

Why do we not get a sample kit for each person?

Each group will get approximately three samples per freshwater source is enough to provide a scientifically robust sample. Beyond that, the current cost of taking the sample, organising its delivery back to the UK, lab analysis and report production means that it is currently not cost effective to provide a kit per person. However, we hope as this innovative is increasingly funded, these costs will reduce, enabling us to expand the number of sample kits and samples we can submit from across our trips. 

What will my group’s samples help to achieve?

All samples collected will be added to the global eBioAtlas. eBioAtlas is a step change in our ability to understand and restore nature. A transformational global baseline of biodiversity delivered by combining cutting edge eDNA technology with the power of the global community. Data gathered from your samples will be used by IUCN to better assess trends in threatened species and will be made available to conservation organisations to protect and restore nature in the area of your trip. It will also be made openly available to the world via the United Nations Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 

What will happen to my group’s samples?

Once your sample has been collected, it will be shipped back to NatureMetrics’ laboratories where the DNA sequences will be extracted from the filter. The vertebrate DNA that you have collected will then be matched to the species it is from, referring to global species databases to determine the best species match. A report will then be sent to you, giving you information on the vertebrates present at the time of your trip.   

How long will it take to get the group’s results?

NatureMetrics will provide a report to Exodus within 8 weeks of samples being received to the laboratory. We will then provide a report to you within a couple of weeks thereafter.   

Will the results be emailed to me?

Yes, the results will be emailed to you. You will receive a pdf of your results from Exodus. You will also receive access to the eBioAtlas database platform hosted by NatureMetrics. This will provide you with access to all samples collected throughout the Exodus Citizen Science Departures. 

What happens to the sample kit once used?

The eDNA water filter and the reporting card are the only parts that are used in the NatureMetrics lab analysis, but all remaining kit components are returned to NatureMetrics for recycling so that no plastic waste is left in the environment 

How will participating in this help with the biodiversity crisis?

You will be part of the Exodus Citizen Science Departures that together will collect repeat eDNA samples at each location and at different times of the year to build a comprehensive understanding of biodiversity at these locations. This regular, repeatable and standardized biodiversity sampling will allow local conservation organisations and researchers to better understand changes in species at each location. That which is measured is managed, and by measuring biodiversity we unlock powerful insights into what’s happening on the ground in response to climate change and even local human impacts.   

This powerful global data that Exodus Citizen Science Departures are contributing to eBioAtlas will allow IUCN to undertake regular assessments of threatened or endangered species through their Red List of Threatened Species, using a scale of data that wasn’t possible without leveraging the power of the global community. This will provide a valuable warning system for changes in species ranges to enable their protection, putting real biodiversity data at the heart of decisions about nature.