Community Science Research Along I-10

On April 12th Pima County Master Naturalists Josh Skattum (Cohort 3) and Sam Wilber (Cohort 4) spent a day volunteering for the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection doing field work by checking wildlife cameras. 

Sam and I have been volunteering for CSDP for over a year and a half now! Our first project involved checking wildlife cameras located near the wildlife overpass along Oracle Road. Starting this past February we have began working on a new project along I-10 near Cienega Creek and Davidson Canyon. This highway has minimal wildlife exclusion fence lines and bisects wildlife corridors between wildlife preserves and possible migration routes between the Rincons and the Santa Ritas. Helping with this project has been a fun learning experience! We have had the opportunity to explore new sites for setting up cameras and we’ve helped with brainstorming methods and ideas for camera placement and attachment! This study will give us a better understanding on wildlife navigating near highways while using the man-made structures put into place. This has included bridges and drainage pipes! 

This last outing on April 12th was exciting since it was the first time in which we got to follow up with our camera placements and settings! Cool in-person finds included spotting two horned lizards and master blister beetles!

Each time we check our cameras there’s anticipation for what might be captured! Some exciting shots included coyotes, fox, skunk, javelina, deer, a friendly dog, and bats! We’re excited to see how our sites change as we head into our dry summer months followed by monsoon season!

 Despite the Covid-19 outbreak Sam and I felt comfortable checking cameras while social distancing from each other and other hikers. We also picked up this camera check outing since we are a lower risk in comparison to some of our other volunteers. We both maintained 6 feet distance between each other and sanitized between touching all equipment! 

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