Students can look for trends, data that seems incongruous, or patterns that provoke questions. For example: Species inventory data could show a decline in some species over time. What might cause the decline? Investigation could be into possible introduction of non-native species, habitat conversion, and climate or weather changes.
Suitable, pertinent data are available on the Web, such as weather and climate data, Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count statistics, CPW harvest information, River Watch Program water quality reports, county and municipal land use maps, Natural Diversity Information Source vegetation species distribution maps, the National Institutes of Health, and the Center for Disease Control records on plague, hanta virus, and West Nile virus.
Other data accessible to students might include Division big game counts, bat mist-netting studies, fish sampling data, and human-bear conflict reports, and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory bird-banding station data. (Note that some information may be available only by request from the source.)
Contact Mary McCormac, 303/291-7369, for further assistance, advice, or more ideas!
Colorado Parks and Wildlife supports wildlife-related science fair projects, and encourages students' science explorations through sponsorship of annual Special Awards given at the Colorado State Science and Engineering Fair. These awards are given for the best wildlife-related projects in the junior and senior divisions.