Project Squirrel

Students studying squirrels will collect and contribute data to Project Squirrel. Project Squirrel is a long-term study affiliated with The Chicago Academy of Sciences, that partners with people to collect data about squirrel population density, diversity, and behavioral characteristics. These data can then be interpreted by researchers (and citizen scientists) who wish to learn more about local and regional ecology.  Students will hike around their schoolyard taking counts of the number of gray squirrels they observe and identify tree types. Students will also have the option to study Giving Up Densities, a measure of how much risk squirrels are willing to take to forage for food.  Classes will set sunflower seed foraging patches in strategic areas of their school yard and measure the leftover food to determine how food amounts play a role in the amount of risk a squirrel will take.

My favorite part of this project was when we got to go outside and look around for squirrels. I also liked it when the Arboretum ladies came because I learned so much about the way squirrels live. I found this so cool. I hope do this in high school next year. I never would have thought that a tiny squirrel could be so cool.
— 8th Grader