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 at Arizona State University's Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter. She is also the founder of Science Cheerleader, an organization of more than 300 current and former professional cheerleaders pursuing STEM careers, and a cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology, a network of universities, science centers, and think tanks that produces public deliberations to enhance science policymaking. She is a founding board member of the Citizen Science Association, a senior advisor at Discover Magazine, a member of the EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences "Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning" committee. She is the author of The Science of Cheerleading and co-editor of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science, published by Arizona State University. Darlene holds degrees from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania and was a high school, college and NBA cheerleader. Darlene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children.