Critter Cam program hosted by the Coalition For Sonoran Desert Protection, Catalina State Park
The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection conducts a citizen science project in which community members maintain wildlife cameras. This has helped us obtain important information about our wildlife using linkages between some of Tucson’s open spaces. Community school districts have become involved by incorporating our pictures into their curriculum, teaching their classes about how technology is used in wildlife management and field biology. Our critter cam day is a field trip in which we bring these school groups out into one of our open spaces, Catalina State Park, and they get to use what they have learned in class within one of our local state parks. Over 400 fourth graders participated in this year’s event held in early March.
Some of our fellow Master Naturalists from Cohort 3 volunteered for the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection (Peggy Ollerhead, Vicki Ettleman and Kathleen Sudano). For this event, our role was to conduct stations that students rotated through, teaching them about Sonoran Desert wildlife, our wildlife’s adaptions here in the desert, and ways to monitor or study them. I volunteered teaching identifying local fauna tracks and lessons on wildlife pheromones.
As part of the event, I helped with a fun nature hike. Our students made observations on the local fauna and flora while documenting their observations on a coordinate system. At the end of the hike we came across a critter cam and talked about how technology is important in field biology. We brain stormed ideas on how this might give a scientist an advantage with their research!