Arvada man aims to be more than a tourist

Ed Talbot has been on nine Earthwatch expeditions to help environmental research

Posted 10/9/18

Ed Talbot calls himself a bit of an environmentalist. And he loves to travel. For the last 15 years Talbot has been combining those passions to volunteer with Earthwatch Institute, an international …

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Arvada man aims to be more than a tourist

Ed Talbot has been on nine Earthwatch expeditions to help environmental research

Posted

Ed Talbot calls himself a bit of an environmentalist.

And he loves to travel.

For the last 15 years Talbot has been combining those passions to volunteer with Earthwatch Institute, an international environmental charity that brings individuals from all walks of life together with world-class scientists to work for the good of the planet.

In 2003 Talbot, an Arvada resident and executive director of the Arvada Housing Authority, went on his first expedition off the coast of Spain to help research the decline of dolphins and pilot whales. Over the years he has completed nine trips throughout Central America studying humpback whale breeding, helping to prevent shark finning, surveying underwater ship wrecks, sea turtle nesting research and volcano research.

“There’s such a beauty and variety and importance to the natural world out there that makes this planet a great place for us to be on,” Talbot said. “So much of that beauty is under threat.”

Talbot recently returned from his latest trip to Iceland, where he served as a volunteer researcher studying the orca population off the Westmann Islands with Dr. Filipa Samarra.

“What is known is that ocean temps are rising,” Talbot said. “There’s debate about the cause of that. But in my opinion there is no debate. It’s global warming. Fossil fuels are impacting the planet.”

Samarra has spent years studying killer whales. Recently her work has focused on the decline of the herring population off the coast of Iceland, which serves as the principal food source for orcas in that area.

In Iceland, Talbot was part of a team of 15 — five Earthwatch volunteers and 10 interns from across the globe.

“When we found that first orca pod, we were really excited,” Talbot recalled. “It was a beautiful day. Then all of a sudden without any warning a big black fin came out of the water, then several more and then close by.”

Talbot said that for him, trips like this are more meaningful to him than relaxing on a beach somewhere.

“I can’t say that this is all fun, but it’s not intended to be,” Talbot said. “We went out some days and were freezing to death cramped on the boat.”

But Talbot said the people he meets on the expeditions and the experiences he has is what keeps him signing up for more.

“You get buzzed by the commitment and energy of the group,” he said, adding that he was the oldest guy on this last trip. “The fact that you’re doing something that means something, is what it’s all about. To be someplace and be part of something that’s understanding what’s happening to the planet and contributing to the preservation.”

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