2017 Hudson Data Jam Competition

Making data "sing" through creative expression

Now in its fourth year, the Hudson Data Jam Competition challenges students to creatively tell stories for a general audience using data from the Hudson River watershed.


The Hudson River Valley is one of the most inspirational and influential regions in our country. The National Park Service called it "the landscape that defined America."

This vital environmental and cultural resource has also been intensely studied for decades by scientists. Yet despite the tremendous insight gained and great discoveries made about the Hudson, many of the river's science stories are not well known by the people who call the Hudson River Valley home. In addition, although the skills of understanding, interpreting, and presenting environmental data are essential in today’s world, where all sorts of misleading “facts” are only a click away, our ability to collect data outpaces our ability to make it understandable for a public audience.

That's why we've begun the Hudson Data Jam Competition. We’re looking for new, creative ways to present data-based stories about this 'defining' river and its watershed. Students who participate in Data Jam will immerse themselves in authentic, locally relevant datasets that have been collected in and around the Hudson Valley by professional scientists, including Cary Institute ecologists. Students then translate the data for a public audience through an original artwork. Whether they create a graphic, rap song, sculpture, computer game, puppet show, or children's book, their imagination is the limit!

At the end of the school year all students are invited to present their work at the Data Jam Awards Expo. Cash prizes of $500, $300, and $100 will be awarded to the top projects at both the middle-school and high-school levels.

Enter the competition

If you’re a student, you’re invited to use your creativity and skills to present data-based stories for a general audience—that means your mom, neighbor, little sister, or best friend. Check out our step-by-step guide for students to get started.

If you’re a teacher, you can encourage and help your students to enter the competition!  Throughout the Spring semester, we’ll be offering professional development trainings in data analysis and creative expression using Hudson River data.  You can also request us to come to your classroom to help get your students’ projects off the ground. Read through our guide for teachers for more details.

If you’re a parent, we encourage you to get involved in your students’ projects and join us at the Data Jam Expo!  Read through the "contest essentials” and check out examples of what your son or daughter will be creating. The day of the Data Jam Expo will be a family-friendly afternoon, so bring the kids along! We’re inviting partner organizations to the event who will bring live animals and activities for kids of all ages.

Support for the Hudson Data Jam Competition has been generously provided by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Marist College, the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, and the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Photo: Spark Media Project


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