Camera trapping with Virginia Teachers

The Eyes on Wildlife project is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Friends of the National Zoo, and teachers in the Front Royal, Virginia area to bring eMammal citizen science to middle school and high school students. Teachers can use eMammal lesson plans created using Virginia Standards of Learning as well as collect their own data for analysis in the classroom.

In January 2018, we invited 16 teachers from 6 neighboring counties (Rappahannock, Warren, Fauquier, Frederick, Clarke, and Winchester) to come to our facility in Front Royal for a training workshop. This workshop introduced the teachers to the science of camera trapping and demonstrated how to use eMammal and implement it in their lesson plans. Teachers had the opportunity to practice setting up cameras and uploading photos to the eMammal desktop app. We also showed them how to navigate the eMammal website and work with the data analysis tools built into the website. Now that they have completed this training, these teachers are considered eMammal volunteers. Armed with this knowledge, they can deploy their own cameras and upload the photos to the Eyes on Wildlife project.

Top: Dr. Bill McShea instructing teachers on correct camera set-up.

Bottom: A group of teachers practicing with the camera settings. 

Throughout this spring, teachers from Rappahannock and Warren Schools who attended this training will be loaned camera kits. These kits contain everything they need to deploy cameras. Beginning in fall 2018, camera kits will be available for loan to any teacher who has participated in this training. For the teachers without a camera kit, they still have the option to deploy a camera and collect data using their own personal (or even students’) cameras. And even without a camera, teachers will still be able to use the eMammal curriculum and website in their classroom. Lesson plans aligned with Virginia Standards of Learning are available to everyone via the eMammal Academy.  Other camera trap image identification resources, such as eMammal Lite and Zooniverse, are easily accessed as well.

If you are a middle or high school teacher in Warren, Rappahannock, Frederick/Winchester, Clarke, Fauquier, Shenandoah, or Page County, Virginia and are interested in using eMammal in your classroom, please feel free to contact us with questions!