Topic 2 – Citizen Science: Urban Ecology.


Topic 2 – Citizen Science: Urban Ecology..

This is a great exercise for those of you who love the outdoors or who want to do some hands on science.  It’s fine if you do not live in a truly urban area; every place there are humans animals have learned to adapt to survive.

  • Select two different locations that are likely to have different populations of animals.  Try your backyard and then something more exotic, like an empty lot or an urban alley.  As always, be cautious when observing wild animals and do not put yourself at risk.
  • Pick a set time of day that you are free to observe organisms for about an hour. For example, on Monday afternoon you would observe in your yard and Tuesday afternoon you would observe the second location. (1)


  • What organisms did you see in your two locations?  Some of the animal species you may see in urban environments are various types of birds (small song birds, hawks, vultures, geese, herons), bats, butterflies, insects (bees, dragonflies, ants), amphibians (frogs, salamanders), fish, reptiles (turtles, lizards), and small mammals (squirrels, chipmunks, field mice, opossums, armadillos, raccoons).
  • What were the weather conditions each day?  What sounds did you hear?  Try to record and data with your phone (sounds or pictures) if possible.  If not, be able to describe these observations.
  • Why is it important to observe two locations at the same time of day?  How might weather impact animal behavior?
  • Research your area and list at least three different organisms that are either native or have colonized your area.  Select one and discuss the following: what do they eat? How do they interact with other species in the area, including humans?
  • APA format



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