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Citizen Science with Camera Traps by Hollie Sutherland

  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017
    PM – 8 PM

Monthly PresentationVideo Archive

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We all know that mammals—like bobcats and bears, mink and moose—are not always easy to see in the wild. Across the state of Massachusetts, we don’t really know where a lot of our wild furry friends are most of the time, especially the ones that sneak around in the shadows at night. Hollie is looking for people who may be able to help in finding these elusive creatures, starting with a survey. Hollie is interested to find out about your interest in nature and whether you own a camera trap (you do not have to own a camera trap to take part). The survey is focused on those based in Massachusetts and over 18 years of age. You will receive a free Massachusetts Bobcat desktop wallpaper image as a thank you for completing the survey. Follow the link to take part

A camera trap is a camera with a sensor. When an animal walks past the camera it triggers the sensor which then tells the camera to take a photo or a video. The cameras are usually battery operated and can monitor wildlife remotely, by being attached to something like a tree and left in an area for days or weeks at a time.

Camera traps (also called trail cameras or game cameras) were first widely used by hunters and started to become popular in the 1980s. In the 1990s scientists realized they would work as a great tool for monitoring wildlife and even estimating how many species of mammals are in an area. As the demand grew for the cameras, designs evolved and the equipment has become more user friendly, less bulky and much cheaper. Now, wildlife enthusiasts are able to use them just to check out what animals are visiting their yard at night.

Hollie hopes to create a new and exciting project that could get citizens like you to contribute their own camera trap photos and videos from across the state of Massachusetts. MassCams is a citizen science project that in the long run aims to engage members of the public in doing just that — including hunters, environmental enthusiasts, local high school and college-age students, and environmental organization members.

Do you want to find out more? Why not check us out on Twitter #mass_cams or Facebook

Hollie is currently pursuing a masters and PhD in Environmental Conservation. Her main research focus is looking at camera traps as a tool to increase public participation in biodiversity monitoring. Since graduating in 2008, in the UK, with a degree in Environmental Science BSc, Hollie has focused on professional development in the field of conservation and wildlife management - which has involved working closely with different organizations- both government and non-governmental, universities and volunteers, in the UK, South Africa and the US. Having a passion for learning about the natural world and helping to conserve native species, Hollie has many years of experience both in the field and in the coordination of large scale Citizen Science and wildlife management projects.