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Hudson Data Jam: 7th annual Data Jam competition goes virtual and engages families

(Millbrook, NY) Calling all students interested in science and art! Cary Institute’s Hudson Data Jam competition offers a chance to explore scientific datasets and communicate the stories they tell through visual or performing arts. Sing a song, make a video, paint a picture, write a children’s book – your imagination is the limit.

This year’s Data Jam will be 100% virtual. Stuck at home together? Your family can work as a team. Cash prizes will be awarded for the top middle school, high school, and family projects. Register by May 13 to participate. Our educators will be holding an informational webinar on the Family Data Jam on Tuesday, April 28 at 5pm EST.

The data

Scientists are collecting data around us all the time. Hidden in those numbers are stories that reveal how the world works. Are birds arriving earlier in the spring? How does salinity shape fish diversity in the Hudson River estuary? Students can access these and many more ecology datasets online. Datasets fall into three levels of complexity: 1 - easy, 2 - moderate, and 3 - challenging. Cary educators can help students select an appropriate dataset; email India Futterman at for assistance.

‘Family Data Jam’

In response to an increased need for distance learning, the 2020 Hudson Data Jam Competition will be 100% virtual. To help facilitate, Cary Institute educators will be offering informational webinars and instructional videos for parents, students, and educators. The new ‘Family Data Jam’ category allows K-12 students and their family members to work on a project as a team.

The competition

Each Data Jam submission is judged by a panel consisting of a scientist, an artist, and an educator. Cash prizes are awarded to the top middle and high school projects. A special prize will be awarded to our top Family Data Jam project submission.

Upcoming webinar

Wondering how to pick a dataset? On April 28 at 5pm, Cary educators will share the essentials of family data exploration. Learn how to access datasets from Cary Institute and Baltimore Ecosystem Study, choose an appropriate topic for your family team, use Google Sheets or Excel to explore your data, and tell a data ‘story’ using graphs.

What does the number of acorns on the forest floor have to do with tick populations? How does water chemistry differ between urban and suburban streams? Are migratory birds arriving earlier in the spring? The answers to these questions are hidden in scientific datasets – we just have to know how to look for them.

There are many exciting data stories to interpret and share. Join us to learn how to work with data and create a project that clearly communicates the data trends you discover.

Deadlines & Dates

May 20 – Competition registrations and parent/guardian consent forms due
May 27– Project submissions due online by 11:59pm EST
June 19 – Virtual Data Jam Expo and Awards Ceremony, 5-7pm EST, to be held via Zoom
Thank you to our generous supporters. The 2020 Data Jam is made possible, in part, by Marist College, The Art Effect, Adams Fairacre Farms, Central Hudson, M&T Bank, The Chazen Companies, and Price Chopper's Golub Foundation.

Want to learn more?

Hudson Data Jam    Family Data Jam    Upcoming webinars

We invite all Data Jammers to visit our Hudson Data Jam Facebook group to connect and share strategies.
If you have questions, email India Futterman at, or message us through our Hudson Data Jam Facebook page.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is an independent nonprofit center for environmental research. Since 1983, our scientists have been investigating the complex interactions that govern the natural world and the impacts of climate change on these systems. Our findings lead to more effective management and policy actions and increased environmental literacy. Staff are global experts in the ecology of: cities, disease, forests, and freshwater.