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High School Research Projects 

Woodcock Nature Center is looking for local high school students who want to do research projects on our property! This is an excellent opportunity for students looking to gain valuable college resume builders, and develop scientific skills! Do not pass it up if you’re interested in majoring in the field of science!


We already have projects underway, but you can also create a study about whatever interests you! There is no obligation on our end. Just an opportunity for you to practice the scientific method to discover the answers to what inspires you! All you need is to come with a question about something in nature. Our educator Tommy McCarthy will be there to help you along the way!

This is a FREE OPPORTUNITY for anyone in grades 9-12

If you’re interested, send an email to Tommy McCarthy at and describe the question you have or project you might want to do. If you don’t have an idea, We can help you zero in on what might work best for you!

Volunteer service hours through this program can contribute to earning the Presidential Volunteer Service award. To learn more click here


Current and Past Projects

Soil pH Study – Whether soil is acidic or basic can have a big impact on what nutrients are available to plants. Learn about how seasonal changes might affect the pH and quality of the soil, and what that means for plant, animal, and microbial life!


Sebastian Utomo - 2023 Click to View Study

Vernal Pool Study – Help WNC monitor the health and productivity of our vernal pools on the property. Measure biodiversity, population density, water quality and more! These pools are highly productive and important parts of our ecosystem and it benefits WNC greatly to monitor their health!

This project will resume in Spring 2023.

Natasha Ring - 2021, 2022

Henry Levitt - 2021

Kai Harris - 2021

Katie Chan - 2021

Conor Bendett - 2020

Spencer Ogden - 2020

Jack Sullivan - 2020

Bird Studies - Go where no student has gone before and study the bird population at WNC! Our educator Tommy McCarthy has done surveys for the Connecticut Bird Atlas and can teach students how professional researchers gather data on bird populations. Students will be strongly encouraged to learn how to identify bird species native to Connecticut by sight and sound, which Tommy can assist with.

Email for more information.

Freshwater Stream Studies - Freshwater streams are fascinating ecosystems and have a huge role to play at a forested preserve like Woodcock Nature Center. Students will discover the lesser known organisms that inhabit streams and study the role that streams play in processes decomposition and nutrient cycling.

Email for more information. 

Trail Camera Studies – There are many species of animal on the Woodcock Nature Center preserve. Many we see, and many we don’t. Trail cameras help us to keep track of who is coming and going when we are not around, and how it changes throughout the year! This project helps WNC learn about the biodiversity of our ecosystem. Trail cameras can be used to investigate a variety of questions, no matter the season – email with your ideas!

Alice Ding - 2021
Peter Gutstein - 2019

Butterfly Migration - Do you ever wish we could track the movement of Monarch Butterflies and find out exactly where they are traveling to? One student did just that here are WNC!

Tara Slovinski - 2021

Hydroponics - Benefiting from the symbiotic relationship between plants and animals, we are using water from the snapping turtle tank to grow food to feed our vegetarian animals at the nature center. How do the plants effect the water quality in return?

Kai Harris - 2020

Molly Bluestein - 2021

Emerald Ash Borer Traps -- Our precious Ash trees are being attacked by an invasive species called the Emerald Ash Borer. At WNC, we looked into different variables including color and smell and their effectiveness as lures for emerald ash borer traps. 

Jason Hartnett - 2020

Tree Population Density -- How many trees are in our forest? How many of each species are in our forest? Are some species found more in one location than another? What is the ​common species in our forest? Through the use of quadrats and tallying, we can estimate the total number of trees at Woodcock Nature Center and find answers to the rest of those questions as well! The answers may surprise you!

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