Be a Texas Nature Tracker with iNaturalist, an application for cell phones and iPads. Students identify the plants and animals in the schoolyard (with a little help from the app). Students can create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. Teachers can create a project within the program, and students can easily upload to it. Introduce students to citizen science!

Help scientists track birds. Wander the schoolyard and identify the birds you see. Use a field guide book from the library, a handy waterproof guide from Sibley’s, this free online directory from Audubon, the Merlin Bird ID from Cornell Labs free app or the Audubon Bird Guide free app on your cell phone or iPad. Upload your sightings to eBird to contribute to the bigger picture of species distribution.

Make a 5-senses Nature Scavenger Hunt for your campus. Or, have students make the hunt to share with another class.

Use a hula-hoop or rope to make circles of the same size. Place them in the shade, sun, under a tree, near the water retention areas, and other spots. Students count the number of and type of species within the circle. If they don’t know the common or Scientific name of species, younger students can give it a name and older students can use iNaturalist on their cell device to help them identify the species. Back in the classroom, calculate and compare species diversity, evenness and richness. Challenge students to brainstorm ways to increase diversity on campus; follow through on the feasible ideas.