How Project Squirrel saved my dog.

This morning, my son spotted a squirrel from our window and said “Mom, hurry, take a picture!” (He’s grown accustomed to spotting and photographing squirrels, birds and insects for various citizen science projects. In this case, it’s for Project Squirrel.) I grabbed my iphone and, using its built in camera, snapped away as the squirrel proceeded to climb down the fence…

Squirrel1Reach into our garbage to nab some grub. Yes, yes, this probably wouldn’t have happened if the bag of trash were IN, not ON, the trash can.

squirrel2And head back up to its perch.

squirrel3This all took less than 3 seconds.

All the while I’ve blamed this behavior on our Labrodoodle, Flower. (Ok, she’s probably a major culprit, too.)


The moral of this story is, try to take a few minutes today to observe the natural world around you because you’re bound to notice something new and interesting. If you happen to spot squirrels and robins, please observe their surroundings and behaviors and share your observations with researchers at Project Squirrel and the National Phenology Network. You can do the latter on the Changing Planet page here on Sci4Cits, through our partnership with the Phenology Network, the National Science Foundation, NBC, Discover Magazine and Planet Forward.

Categories: Birds, Citizen Science, Nature & Outdoors

About the Author

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier is a professor of practice at Arizona State University's School for the Future of Innovation in Society and a Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU. Professor Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter (a popular citizen science portal and research platform connecting millions of people to real science they can do), founder of Science Cheerleaders (a non profit organization comprised of current and former NFL, NBA and college cheerleaders pursuing STEM careers), cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology and cofounder of She is a founding board member of the Citizen Science Association, an advisor and Fellow at National Geographic, a member of the EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, appointed to the National Academy of Sciences "Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning" committee and named cochair of America 250's Innovation, Science, and Entrepreneurism Advisory Council. She is the co-editor of "The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science," author of "The Science of Cheerleading," and co-author of the Field Guide to Citizen Science (Timber Press). Recently, ASU President Michael Crow awarded Cavalier and her team the prestigious Medal for Social Embeddedness.