The Data Explorations in Ecology Project was a professional development and research project designed to address data literacy issues in secondary science classrooms. Curricular modules focusing on locally relevant environmental issues were developed and implemented to support students in gaining proficiency with a variety of data exploration practices. The research focused on highlighting students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward these practices. The findings indicate that students across grade levels are able to demonstrate proficiency with some data exploration practices but have difficulty applying these skills to the creation and evaluation of data-driven arguments about the environment. The findings also indicate that despite the difficulties secondary students have with some data exploration practices, some still enjoy and appreciate the usefulness of working with data. This study introduces a conceptual framework that illustrates some of the data exploration activities that occur at different phases of inquiry and critique processes.