This unique field ecology experiment engages students with the processes of scientific research methods and testing hypotheses about conservation reserve design. The activities involved are novel—students will gather data on the relationship between biodiversity and patch size and shape. As designed, this activity takes place in Manhattan; the relationship under investigation has not been studied in a human-dominated urban setting like Manhattan, so the outcome of students' investigations is not known in advance. The activity may easily be adapted to another setting or research questions, and so provides a useful example for instructors wishing to engage undergraduates in original fieldwork. This document is a student guide; a teacher guide and data analysis example are available in accompanying files.