Jammin’ on the Hudson

Gina Marie Kick, Paige Arent, Hannah Coon, and Arely Soria of Stissing Mountain Middle School explored glass eel migration in the Hudson River. Credit: Pamela Freeman.
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Hudson Valley students experiment with creative approaches to science storytelling

(Millbrook, NY) The Hudson Data Jam competition challenges middle and high school students to dive into real datasets and communicate science stories about the Hudson River. By exploring data creatively, students learn how to interpret and present scientific findings in a way that is relatable to broader audiences.

Projects are based on datasets collected by scientists in and around the Hudson region. Students select datasets that interest them, develop a research question, then delve into the numbers in search of trends. They then interpret their research results through an image, song, video, sculpture, computer game, puppet show – any creative medium that they wish to explore. At the end, students develop questions for further research. Projects are judged by educators, scientists, and artists.

A project symposium held at Marist College on June 8,2018 marked the conclusion of the 5th annual Hudson Data Jam. This year, 258 students representing 16 different schools submitted 90 projects for judging. Research topics spanned a range of study areas including effects of extreme weather events, causes and impacts of rising salinity, invasive species, and pollution in the Hudson River ecosystem. Creative projects included skits and paintings, sculptures and animations, children’s books and even a tiny forest made of laser-cut cardboard trees.

Ashley Inserillo, Cary Institute Education Program Assistant and Data Jam co-producer, says “After reading the results from the student surveys this year, it was clear that the most valuable thing the students took away from Data Jam was a greater awareness of their local environment and issues that are impacting their own backyards. Empowering students with that type of knowledge gives me hope that they will become engaged community members in the future.”

Several of the winners included:

The Shakedown of Salt All Around Us – a giant puzzle featuring a painting of a salt-laden stream, created by Nafisa Rashid of Oakwood Friends School. Her project explored sources of salt in the Hudson River watershed and its impact on ecosystem health.

Nafisa Rashid. Credit: Pamela Freeman.

What is Black and White and Blue All Over? – a cutout animation illustrating the effects of zebra mussels on Hudson River ecology, produced by Tillie Schneiderman and Bailey Allen of Oakwood Friends School.

Bailey Allen and Tillie Schneiderman. Credit: Pamela Freeman.

Oh Dear, Where Are All the Deer?! – a gameshow inspired by ‘The Dating Game’, played to get the scoop on what deer look for in an ideal habitat. Contestants included DJ Milla Berg, Ada Loebing Matthews, and Dallas Tulloch of Oakwood Friends School.

Ada Loeding Matthews, Milla Berg, and Dallas Tulloch. Credit: Pamela Freeman.

How Have Humans Impacted the Quality and Usability of Water, One of Our Most Vital Resources, and Can We Do Anything to Reverse Our Negative Impacts? – a whodunit-style film about historic pollution in the Hudson and what can be done to stop it, starring and created by Angelynna Guzman and Julianna Sundberg of Homeschoolers on the Hudson.

Angelynna Guzman and Julianna Sundberg. Credit: Pamela Freeman.

Nightmare on Hudson – a film by Ossining High School’s Chinmai Deo and Sofia Japal about the notorious ‘Russel Z. Mussel’ who, with evil intent, is spreading misinformation concerning the effects of water chestnut, water celery, and zebra mussels on the Hudson River ecosystem.

Nina Foster and Caroline Reed. Credit: Pamela Freeman.

All 2018 winning projects are available to view here.

You can also check out the 2018 Data Jam highlight reel.

Data Jam 2018 winners at the project symposium and award presentation at Marist College. Credit: Pamela Freeman.  


Hudson Data Jam is supported by Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Marist College, Central Hudson, and the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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