Biological Inventory - Indian Lake Nature Trail
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Grade: 9th Grade
Class: Living Environment
Author: Sandy Bureau
Indian Lake Central School
NYS Content Area Standard:
Math, Science & Technology:
Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design
Standard 2: Information Systems
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Natural History
Keywords: biodiversity, nature trail
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: What small mammals, amphibians and soil invertebrates live on the nature trail?

While originally created for a specific school, teachers are encouraged to adapt and modify this challenge to fit their needs and available school environment.

I used this project to teach students the basics of ecology and this worked to satisfy all of MST standards #1 and 2#. It did a better job than the “Making Connections”  lab of helping students become competent in the scientific method. I have conducted this project twice and will be doing it again, this time in the Fall of 2009. We plan to try presenting at the Northeast Natural History conference in Albany, April 2010. I have more materials that I have developed than what is included with this project on the Adirondack Curriculum Project website, so please contact me for more information!

Certain criteria must be met before research method can be implemented. Work will be returned and corrected until these are met.

See also: Lab Report, Animal ID, & Poster Presentation

The Challenge:

Researchers in the Adirondack region are interested in initiating an All-Taxa Biological Inventory of the region (see attached article). Indian Lake Central School Living Environment students have been invited to test a system to inventory small mammals, soil inverts and amphibians that can be used by other high school students or adult volunteers.

You will satisfy NYS science standards in both science, math and technology and english language arts as you research animals, study sampling techniques, plan your inventory, carry it out and then present it at the spring Adirondack Research Consortium conference. You will work closely with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry staff at Huntington Wildlife Forest as you learn about and plan their inventory.

The Challenge entails 4 pieces:

Research organisms--You will produce a paper outlining the natural history of an organism with emphasis on field id and habitat preferences. Will we have a chance of finding this critter on the nature trail?  Produce a field identification card.

Research techniques, plan and conduct sampling. How do other scientists conduct this kind of study? How will we do it? You will keep a field journal and be graded on participation.

Planning and delivering poster presentation: How should we report the findings of our study?

Submitting a personal lab report: Document your work and prepare a final report about the inventory project.

See attached Research Guidelines & Schedule

Product of the 2008 ACP Biodiversity Workshop, funded by a grant from the New York Biodiversity Research Institute

Quality Standards:

Your design must be cost effective and legitimate for the organisms you plan to study. They must minimize stress to the animal. It must be a method that utilizes all the members of your team so that we can carry it out in a double lab period and allow for at least three samples during the three weeks we have available for the inventory

Laying out your research plot and conducting your inventory: You must prepare a map of your grid and procure material necessary. Written directions for the system and directions for sampling must be written and evident on the nature trail. You must make modifications based on the work that gets done and changes that may happen in the field. All field work will be recorded in work journals.

Collecting your data: you must have a format prepared prior to actually going out on the nature trail to inventory. This recording system must be in evidence each time we go out. You must design a system to keep it in one place and safe for later data analysis

Product Quality Checklist
Print This Checklist
Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

Method based on 2 research articles and/or resource people

Materials cost less that $100 and can be easily procured or made

Method includes directions/accommodations to minimize stress for organisms


Method set up to utilize all the members of the team. Each has a legitimate and constructive role


Layout of research area mapped and directions written


Layout shows an adequate sampling size


Data Table constructed ahead of time and available each day in the field

Data Table indicates what data is being collected, columns and rows labeled


Entries made in field journal every day


Entries reflect your work, what was accomplished on the plot and reflection on how things are going and ideas for changes


One teacher recommends this Challenge.

Sandra Hildreth said:
Great way to involve students in their local environment.