LATO Wildlife Camera Project

Who lives in our local oak woodlands?

The Wildlife Camera Project provides a window on animal activities in local oak woodlands. Though we sometimes see birds, even bald eagles, most of the images are of mammals going about their lives, often at night, in search of food, water, a mate or a place to shelter.

The project began in 2011 as a Cal Poly Senior Project for Christina McAdams, 2012 B.S. Environmental Management and Protection. Christina worked with Cal Poly Biological Sciences Professor John Perrine, PhD, to develop a project designed to:


  1. Stimulate interest in local wildlife biology and habitat conservation studies.
  2. Help students see how scientists use wildlife cameras as an investigative tool.
  3. Give students the opportunity to work with and learn from university field biology students managing and interpreting data produced by the wildlife cameras.

How the Wildlife Camera Project works

Since its start at the Santa Margarita LATO campus, the Wildlife Camera Project has grown to include two more LATO public school ~ field study sites: Ocean View Elementary School ~ Pismo Preserve and Vineyard Elementary School ~ Vineyard School Nature Trail. In 2020, we added a fourth field study site at Santa Rita Ranch. A combined total of 24 dedicated volunteers take care of monthly wildlife camera project duties.

Thanks to the donors, volunteers and partners who keep the Wildlife Camera Project going. We are raising awareness of wildlife activities and, we hope, increasing support for oak habitat conservation.