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Scientific Project

Design a survey, collect data, analyse and present!

Introduction

Your aim is to create a scientific poster which showcases bird diversity in a park or bushland area of your choice. This will involve conducting fieldwork, interpeting the data you collected and making suggestions of how the area could be improved to cater for a wider range of birds.

Materials and resources

  • Computer, internet access and email account
  • Australian Birds App (details on app download provided below)
  • Data sheet (provided below)
  • Clipboard, pen, timer/clock, binoculars (optional),
  • Hat, sunscreen, water and phone in case of emergency. 

Field Work

1. Select a local park, large garden or bushland area.

2. Download the free ‘Aust. Birds’ field guide app (Galexy Pty. Limited) for Apple or Android. This app makes bird identification simple. Just click through the images which look most like your bird until you find the correct species.

3. Plan your survey. Choose at least two non-overlapping walking routes within your study area. These will become your transect areas. Use Google Maps or Google Earth to help if needed. Consider the time of day. Many birds are most active in the morning or late afternoon.

4. Print out your data sheet to take on your field work.

5. Conduct a bird survey within the study area. To do this you will need to:
                  a. Start a timer to time how long you spend recording your birds on your transect walk.
                  b. Walk very quietly along your 1st transect and count all the birds you see. Record them on your data sheet as their name (if you know) or 'species 1'                              and a description etc. You can use the app to help identify them as you go.
                  c. Take photos of the different ecosystems within your transect area and any birds you see (be careful not to scare them off).
                  d. Repeat for your 2nd transect making sure you spend the same amount of time recording.

Data Analysis

1. Use this Data Analysis sheet to calculate 'Simpson's Diversity Index'. This is a measure of the diversity in an area.  You could set this up on an Excel document to make the calculations quicker.

2. Create a graph using this data.

Poster Presentation

1. Create a free poster making account at www.lucidpress.com. Enter your email and sign up. Follow the instructions and activate your membership. Be sure to choose the ‘free’ account type.

2. Access your account on the webpage. Enter your new details to enter the webpage. Ignore any advertisements for upgrading your account. You only want the free account. 

3. On your homepage, navigate to the ‘posters’ section.

4. Choose poster design. While there are many options for posters here, we only want you to choose from three specific styles: (1) “Earth- Science Fair Project”; (2) “Ecosystem”; or (3) “Forests”.  

5. Fill in your content on the Poster Creation Wizard. Click on the existing text boxes and shapes and replace with your own text and images. Use the side-bar (right-hand side) to edit colours, font etc. Use the table tool to create a results table or import your own table or graphs from MS Word or Excel. 

6. Click 'file' then 'save' your poster after giving the file a name.

7. Download your poster by clicking on download which brings up the side bar. Your poster can now be emailed or printed.