Why Student Field-based Research?

The Diack Ecology Education Program provides a system of grants, workshops and resources to teachers and students in Oregon to encourage them to participate in student field-based research and ecology studies. Field-based research gets students out of the classroom and into the natural world. Field-based research projects also provide an engaging opportunity for students to learn critical thinking, data collection, comparative analysis, and written and oral presentation skills. These projects are a way for students to apply the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (STEPS).


In awarding grants, we place emphasis on students studying living things and ecosystems through scientific research. We’re particularly interested in the extent to which students will see that their work is important to their community. The grant committee considers elements such as how each project uses engaging educational and scientific methods, how it’s age-appropriate, whether it involves more than simple identification of plants and animals, how it integrates other school subjects into its activities, and how students’ observations will be analyzed and reported.