High School Class Builds Snow Depth Sensor: How You Can Too

Snow SensorStudents at Pagosa Springs High School have great opportunities to collect authentic environmental data in their classes, and they have recently expanded their capacity to monitor snow depth thanks to a resourceful peer, Connor Burkesmith.

With support from Learn More About Climate and technical support from Andrew Wickert, an alumnus of the CU-Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, Burkesmith built a snow sensor as part of his independent study project to collect low-elevation snow depth data near downtown Pagosa Springs. Wickert developed the sensor, called an ALog Data Logger, as an inexpensive, easy-to-program, open-source data logger designed for long-term field monitoring. ALog is short for Arduino Logger, because the loggers are based on the popular Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform.

Burkesmith also teamed up with science teacher, JD Kurz and computer science teacher, Jesse Morehouse, to broaden the scope of his project. Not only did the sensor provide a tremendous learning experience for Burkesmith, but also its use and data will continually benefit classes for years to come, Kurz said.

“One of my goals is to provide my students with opportunities to monitor the natural environment,” Kurz said. “That way they can collect real data, and they can see how the natural resources are changing over time.”

Visit Northernwidget.com for information about open-source data collection and building your own ALog Logger. Watch this video to learn more about the Pagosa Springs project.

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