Desert Data Jam



The Desert Data Jam challenges middle school students to find interesting ways to present scientific data to non-scientist audiences. Students use ecological data collected in or near Las Cruces to create a project that presents a data trend in a non-traditional way. We encourage students to get creative and find inspiration in their own interests. We are incredibly proud of all the students who have participated in the Desert Data Jam since 2012. They have persevered through many months of wrestling with the data and finding a way, true to their interests, to retell the data creatively. The Desert Data Jam is the culmination of their hard work, and we are so grateful to everybody who supported them in this endeavor.  

Dr. Kris Havstad addresses students and parents at the Desert Data Jam open house and award ceremony.


Unfortunately, due to school closures, we were unable to host the final competition for the Desert Data Jam in spring 2020. However, Desert Data Jam returned in 2021 in a new, online format! 


This year, 26 projects were in the final competition. Thanks to our generous volunteers, each project was scored at least four times. We gave 3 top prizes and 10 honorable mentions. Click the tabs above to see this year's winning projects. 



To learn more about the Desert Data Jam and other Data Jams across the country, check out some of the publications on the topic:  


"Data Jams" on the LTER Network  


"DATA JAMS: Promoting Data Literacy and Science Engagement While Encouraging Creativity" in The Science Teacher





First place project "Shrub Shenanigans", 2018



Contact us at or 575-524-3334 to learn more.







All documents for the 2022 Desert Data Jam can be found at

Important Dates

Thanks to everyone that helped make our 2022 Desert Data Jam competition successful!  Click the "2022 Winners" and "2022 Honorable Mentions" tabs to see the winning projects. 

2022 Winners

1st Place 2022: "How the Music Doesn't Flow: The Non-Existent Connection Between Drought and Temperature in Capitals" by Alisiya T., Annie L., and Victoria W.

2nd Place 2022: "Fish VS. Rising Temperatures! Who is Winning?" by Ojemeh U.

3rd Place 2022: "Connected 4 Wildlife" by Nairobi A.






"Birds, bricks & toads."

Abram A., Jaziel L.

"Let's Get Wild With Wildlife Conservation"

Samantha A., Brisa Q., Andrew A. 

"How Species in New Mexico Need Protection Based On The Temperatures"

Kayla G.

"Royale Bugs"

Kaleb H., Yahir M.

"The Beetles!"

Elizabeth N.

"I Can Barely See: Dust in Different Seasons"

Brian O.

"Oh Deer"

Cash P.

"Wildlife Conservation Data Report"

Riya R.

"Bird Protection is Sky High"

Sebastian U.

"Can Dust Change?"

Ximena Z.