Headwaters Science Institute is dedicated to the facilitation of student led scientific research. Participating in the Shane McConkey Eco Challenge is a great way to introduce your students to this type of student led learning. Below are several resources to help you along the way.

Our staff loves helping students and teachers design and troubleshoot experiments, so feel free to email us (info@headwatersscienceinstitute.org) with any questions you may have about your project or to learn more about how we teach.

Getting Started

Once you have a team together, choosing an environmental issue or problem to tackle can be daunting. Here is a worksheet you can use to get started, as well as an instructor accompaniment


Remember any action you take towards helping with an environmental problem, no matter how big or small, is a great contribution.

The best projects take action locally and also engage the broader community. Think what actions can you take (at your school, for example), and how can you share the impact or knowledge with more people.

Give yourself room to reflect on and improve your projects. Most experiments do work perfectly the first time around, but with creativity and persistence you can eventually succeed.

Here are just a few examples of activities that could be incorporated into your eco challenge project to show you the wide range of possible options.

  • Composting and reducing production of food waste
  • Planting native or drought tolerant plants
  • Growing plants that feed local pollinators
  • Collecting data on waste production: trash, water, recycling
  • Surveying community behavior to help inform decisions or make changes
  • Organizing an alternative transportation contest or event
  • Identifying sources of pollution and encouraging community action

If you would like to learn more about any of Headwaters’ other student and professional development programs please reach out to info@headwatersscienceinstitute.org and we would be happy to talk about what might work best for your school.