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Cary Institute debuts student competition with a focus on Hudson River science and creativity

(Millbrook, NY) For more than thirty years, researchers at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies have been studying the Hudson River and its watershed, analyzing everything from water chemistry to invasive species. Now, Cary Institute educators are challenging middle school and high school students to creatively bring these and other long-term river data to life in the Hudson Data Jam, a new competition that melds science and creativity.

Educator Kali Bird explains, "We want to make learning and talking about science fun. We've made an array of data available online, from Hudson River salt levels to changes in zebra mussel populations. We are challenging students to use these data to identify an interesting trend or make a comparison. Then, they can transform their data set into a data story through visual art, poetry, dance, song, puppetry, or any other creative outlet."

In today's information-rich world, the Hudson Data Jam will help students hone their data interpretation and communication skills. At the same time, they will gain a better understanding of their local environment. In addition to their creative work, participants will craft a poster that includes the data set used, graphs that capture data trends and/or comparisons, and an outreach plan for connecting their Hudson River science story to the general public.

Students can work individually or as part of a team. Registration forms are due April 15; final submissions must be received by June 2. To see examples of creative science-based stories, visit the Hudson River Data Jam section on the Cary Institute's website ( Students and teachers will find a selection of Hudson River watershed data sets and resources that will help participants select a topic and get started on their projects.

Projects will be judged by a panel of scientists, educators, and artists, with cash prizes (up to $500) awarded to the top middle-school and high-school projects. Winners will be announced at the Hudson Data Jam Showcase, to be held at Marist College's Student Center from 2-4 p.m. on June 14th. Attendance is not required to win the merit prizes, as projects will be submitted and judged electronically. However, students must be present to be eligible for the People's Choice Award.

Teachers, parents, and informal educators are encouraged to enter their students into the competition. Cary Institute educators will be available to support students and their project mentors. If you have any questions about the Hudson Data Jam, please contact Kali Bird at, or call (845) 677-7600 x 179.

The Hudson Data Jam was made possible through generous funding from the Dorr Foundation and the Malcom Gordon Charitable Fund which is managed by the Open Space Institute.Marist College is helping to sponsor the event, by providing both a location for the Hudson Data Jam Showcase and the technology needed to support the electronic submission process.

You can keep abreast of Hudson Data Jam news and deadlines by liking 'HudsonDataJam' on Facebook.


The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is a private, not-for-profit environmental research and education organization in Millbrook, N.Y. For thirty years, Cary Institute scientists have been investigating the complex interactions that govern the natural world. Their objective findings lead to more effective policy decisions and increased environmental literacy. Focal areas include air and water pollution, climate change, invasive species, and the ecological dimensions of infectious disease.

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