Using their set of Chromebooks, the students in Ashley Haug’s biology class start their day by scrolling through a plethora of pelican pictures. These wildlife photos are part of a research project called “Great Salt Lake Institute”, which is run through Westminster College. The project involves analyzing images taken by remote cameras on Gunnison Island in The Great Salt Lake.

To make their contribution to the research project, the students in Haug’s fourth period class must look at images taken by the 15 PELIcams located on the island, then make observations regarding the birds’ behaviors and migration patterns. The students’ collection of data remains critical in helping researchers at Westminster gain a better understanding of the pelicans in Utah.

Haug explains that participating in this research project is a great way for her students to see real life examples of things they’ve talked about in their ecology unit. Their participation also helps achieve the class goal of becoming citizen scientists. This means the students are doing their part to contribute time, effort and findings to help professional scientists and to further science itself. This project is a great way for the public to get involved and do their part.

Great Salt Lake Institute is just one research project the students of Provo High School are involved in. As the year progresses, Haug’s class will continue to undertake more experiments and learn more through hands-on participation.