Lizards on the Loose

I coordinate this citizen science project with school students in Grades 6-12 in the Miami-Dade area to investigate how anoles use urban habitats. As part of the Fairchild Challenge, students work through diverse challenges to learn about ecology in the world around them and how they can be involved in STEM. We’ve expanded Lizards on the Loose to use the iNaturalist platform to gather data. Over 7,900 observations of anoles from the project are now available to scientists worldwide!


The final tally from Lizards on the Loose 2018-2019.

In 2017-2018, we had more than 2200 observations of anoles from students at 47 schools across the Miami area. During 2018-2019, students tracked whether the anoles they observed are using natural or human-made perches in their schools and communities and set a record of  >3100 observations of anoles, an incredible effort and a 40% increase from the previous year. This year, even with a COVID shortened project, students still collected a massive 2600 (!) observations including data on whether anoles were found in the sun or shade.


Virtual scientist in the classroom visits feature students getting to chat with my giant floating head at the front of their classes.

As part of the project, I also conduct remote “scientist in the classroom” visits to participating schools (via the magic of Skype and Gchat). It’s wonderful to meet the students working on the project, answer their questions about lizards (and many other topics), and discuss STEM careers!

This project is in collaboration with Dr. James Stroud at Washington University in St. Louis and Dr. Jason Kolbe at the University of Rhode Island.

Check out the sidebar for recent observations!