Oral presentation- Workshop 12th International Mammalogical Congress

What’s in your school yard? Using citizen science wildlife cameras to conduct authentic scientific investigations in the classroom (#20)

Roland Kays 1 , William McShea 2 , Stephanie Schuttler 1
  1. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and NC State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States of America
  2. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, United States of America

The Next Generation Science Standards advocate for students to plan and carry out investigations, especially those developed by the students themselves. We have created a framework for students to ask and answer such questions using engaging mammal photos collected from camera traps run in their own school or neighborhood yards. This approach is embedded in the eMammal citizen science program. Students not only collect data for their education, but also make meaningful contributions to real scientific research on the distribution, behavior, and conservation of mammals. We have produced dozens of lesson plans covering a variety of ages and STEM topics that involve students setting up motion-triggered camera traps to collect photos of mammals, identifying the species using user-friendly software, and analyzing their data by hand or through automated website tools. The eMammal program naturally inspires student to come up with new questions from patterns observed in data, continuing the cycle of asking and answering questions.