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Extension > Driven to Discover Citizen Science > Research team updates: Team Curious Chickadees

Friday, August 29, 2014

Research team updates: Team Curious Chickadees

1.jpgTeam Curious Chickadees finished their two week summer intensive summer camp in July and what a whirlwind it was!

Camp kicked off with an ice cream social where the kids drew pictures of their ideal scientists. Those ideal researchers were equipped for anything that nature might throw at them but most importantly they had many tools for observation, recording, analysis and communication so that their results could be validated and shared. After that the students felt well prepared to pack their own tools for the two-week D2D adventure.

Even the parents got into the fun (notice the birds all over Mrs Kimbrough's dress).

2.jpgTwo scientists visited to share their research process. Allyson Kennedy, a developmental biologist, wondered how vitamin A affects the development of a frog's embryos mouth, so the group helped her come up with some hypotheses and more testable questions to explore. Ecologist, Dr Daniel McGarvey, led an exploration of the creek where the group found macro-invertebrates and wondered how different leaf-litter levels might impact their abundance. Everyone learned a lot about aquatic insects but even more about how interconnected all species are in a habitat and how many variables can impact research.

Over the weekend the students were invited to watch bird-banding at the local MAPS station and one of them (now an apprentice-bander) was tasked with keeping the meticulous records of the station that day. They explained that this decade long collection of carefully recorded information could be analyzed to provide a clear picture of bird migration and habitat change at this site.


All of this information and wondering gave the group lots of questions that were refined to create testable research topics during a back-porch roundtable.


The group ended the week by hosting a supply drive for the local wildlife rehabilitators who modeled good presentation skills as they explained the impacts that humans have on birds.


This gave the group confidence to present preliminary results to their teammates and reflect on what they learned.

They will present their research at the Virginia Master Naturalist Convention this fall.
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