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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Felidae Adventures: Training Days

This spring, my 6th / 7th grade class met up with the Felidae Fund for the start of what is hopefully a long-running relationship with my classes.

First, the Felidae team came into the classroom to present a Mountain Lion power point lecture. It was pretty much the presentation that they give out on the road to adult audiences and a credit must go to them for putting together a presentation that could hold the attention of an audience spectrum ranging from highly educated adults to early teens with learning difficulties.

The class was completely transfixed by the photos and information and could not wait for their second visit into the classroom: a lab activity demonstrating the effect of development on Mountain Lion populations, and then in turn, deer populations.

After the lab came the waiting game -- when would we be able to go out into the field and hopefully find one of these majestic creatures with camera traps?

Several rounds of practice sets around campus and Lucas Valley familiarized the students for many aspects of the camera trapping experience: looking for signs of animal presence, angles to use to best capture the animal's path and what to use in the environment for camera placement.

The time came in mid-May for the big league call-up, with us meeting the Felidae crew at the Mt. Tam watershed. The goal was to set up at least three cameras in two separate pre-planned locations. On the hike to location one, a dry gully, we observed fresh bobcat scat. With the fortuitous poop discovery, we merrily continued to the gully and set up two cameras, one video, one still.

preparing camera uno
The gully sets produced many deer shots over a seven week period, along with the occasional raccoon. Nothing spectacular, or exhibiting interesting behavior, so I am not going to post them.

Upon completing camera setup, we marched up what was to be known as Howl Hill...


What dangers would we encounter?
Would an animal other than a deer wander past our camera?
These questions and more answered in the next post !

1 comment:

  1. What a great educational experience for these kids.

    Can't wait to see what you guys got!