LATO Wildlife Camera Project

LATO wildlife camera team, L to R: Greig Cummings, Bev Gingg (Land Conservancy Staff/Program Director), Sue Cummings, Sheryl Clendenen (Margarita Adventures Naturalist/Team Tech Advisor), Nathan Sharon (Oak Ambassador alumnus), Dan Sharon, Julie Wales, Chris Lawson (Oak Ambassador alumnus), Lydia Lawson, Ruby Klatt, Mike Klatt. Not shown: John Lawson, Katrina Sharon and Dr. John Perrine (Cal Poly Biological Sciences Dept./Team Tech Advisor). Photo taken on September 26,2015 by Chris Lawson during annual team training at Santa Margarita Ranch.

Goals:

  1. Provide images of wildlife active in the Learning Among the Oaks Trail environment adjacent to Santa Margarita School and use these captures to stimulate student interest in local wildlife biology and habitat conservation studies.
  2. Enable elementary school students and their families to see how scientists use wildlife cameras as an investigative tool.
  3. Give elementary students the opportunity to work with and learn from university field biology students managing and interpreting data produced by the wildlife cameras. We used the Minnesota DNR Taking Action Opportunities project as a model to help us get started.

History:

LATO Wildlife Camera Project began in Fall 2011 as a Cal Poly senior project proposal prepared by Christina McAdams under the guidance of Dr. John Perrine, Cal Poly Biological Sciences Department. Christina McAdams completed her senior project and graduated from Cal Poly in June 2012 with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection. “I love working outside and learning about wildlife and their interactions with their habitat and the larger environment. I became interested in studying wildlife with remote cameras when I learned about the technology and its applications in my Wildlife Management class. Remote cameras are a fun and effective way to study wildlife, and are commonly used by wildlife biologists in the field. The Learning Among the Oaks Wildlife Camera Study is a program I designed for my senior project based on the Minnesota Taking Action Opportunities program. Working with the cameras and the students of Santa Margarita Elementary School has been a wonderful learning experience. Through this project I’ve gained invaluable experience related to planning, implementing and analyzing scientific data and integrating that knowledge with an exceptional educational program. I hope the students of Santa Margarita School will benefit from and enjoy the project as much as I have!”

Citizen Science:

  • See Wildlife, Do Science! eMammal is a very cool international platform for collecting, curating, and sharing camera trapping data.
  • iNaturalist  enables you to share and discuss your nature discoveries with other people – young and old, amateur to expert – around the world.
Go to Wildlife Camera Project Photo Galleries
Thanks to the San Luis Obispo County Fish and Wildlife Fines Committee and to the Arroyo Grande Sportsman’s Club for ongoing support of the LATO wildlife camera project!

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These team volunteers take care of wildlife camera duties:

Santa Margarita Wildlife Camera Team
  • Sue and Greig Cummings
  • Nathan, Dan and Katrina Sharon
  • Chris, Lydia and John Lawson
  • Julie Wales
  • Mike and Ruby Klatt
Pismo Preserve Wildlife Camera Team
  • Sue and Greig Cummings
  • Gary and Darlene Felsman
  • Gary Bissell
  • Sally Krenn and Kristin Blecha
  • Rick, Claire and Niels Grether

Working under the direction of technical advisor of Dr. John Perrine, Cal Poly Biological Sciences Department.

Wildlife camera team volunteers are shown with project advisor Dr. John Perrine (bottom R) during the August 2013 training workday. Greig (top R) and Sue C. (not shown) assisted with the training as they served as the first dedicated volunteer team, working during the 2012-13 school year.

Cal Poly alumni who have contributed to this project, in addition to Christina McAdams: Bio Sci grads Elizabeth Saldo, Keelan Dann and Ryan Russell (2013-2015); Liberal Studies grads Ashley Beeman and LeVada Burright (2014).

Local Resources:

Additional support:

  • Robert H. Janssen Foundation
  • Many generous private donors with special thanks to Betty Williams for replacing a camera lost to vandalism in 2015.

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Check out Mammals Among the Oaks, a really cool educational project (and Cal Poly Senior Project) completed in March 2014. The display is now enjoyed by visitors to the Margarita Adventures center.

Visit the Online Guide to Mammals Among the Oaks to learn more about animals captured by our wildlife cameras.


Wildlife video spotlight – Learn about bears: