*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.
Is there a public park, playground, or beach near you that suffers from a litter problem? Here is a way that you can do something about it! First, get a measure of the size of the problem by conducting a litter survey. Select a fraction of the area to survey at regular intervals (e.g., every two or three days, or maybe once a week). The area should be large enough so that you can get a representative sample of litter, but not so large that you can't clean it up. Each time you conduct your survey, collect all of the litter within your sample area. Count or weigh each type of litter, and keep track of your results in your lab notebook. Which is the most common type of litter? Have your parents, your teacher, and local community groups help to publicize your results. For example, you could post signs on the trash containers listing how much litter the park gets per week, reminding people to clean up after themselves. See if your local Parks Department can help. Maybe they can organize a cleanup day with help from your community. Does the park stay cleaner after your efforts? (Idea from Cannon, 2005)
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If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Have you ever noticed that for people with asthma it can sometimes be especially hard to breathe in the middle of a busy city? One reason for this is the exhaust from vehicles. Cars, buses, and motorcycles add pollution to our air, which affects our health. But can pollution impact more than our health? Cutting down trees, or deforestation, can contribute to erosion, which carries off valuable topsoil. But can erosion alter more than the condition of the soil? How does an oil spill harm fish and aquatic plants? How does a population of animals interact with its environment? These are questions that environmental scientists study and try to find answers to. They conduct research or perform investigations to identify and eliminate the sources of pollution or hazards that damage either the environment or human and animal health. Environmental scientists are the stewards of our environment and are committed to keeping it safe for future generations.
Park rangers are the law enforcement officials of our state and national parks. They protect and preserve parklands, keeping park resources safe from people who might try to damage them, deliberately or through neglect, and keeping people safe from dangers within the park. To achieve this goal, park rangers work in a wide variety of positions, including education and interpretation for park visitors, emergency dispatch, firefighting, maintenance, law enforcement, search and rescue, and administration. There is a large global shortage of park rangers in developing countries.
Where do we come from? Why do we walk upright? Why do we behave the way we do? These are just some of the big and fascinating questions that anthropologists try to answer. Anthropologists study all aspects of human life, in every region of the world, throughout all time. They might focus on everything from present-day cultures and human behavior, traditions, and prehistoric cultures to the biology and evolution of humans, or the origin and evolution of language.
You can find this page online at: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/EnvEng_p020.shtml
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