Last week we had the honor to receive the Tropical Ecology Field Studies class from Mission College (Santa Clara, California) on our campus. This class showed a keen interest in participating in research projects on campus and it so happened to be that our project was the chosen one. As I am an educator at heart, I was very glad to be able to put my project to good use for educational purposes.
To accommodate the needs of the Mission College group I prepared a four hour workshop which entailed an introduction to the project, data input, analysis and a final discussion. For the data input I filtered out some interesting videos for the students and drastically reduced the amount of non-target stimuli videos. As we had limited time to review said videos, I didn’t want them to spend most of it watching branches move in the wind. Besides, I wanted to show the possibilities of camera trapping in detecting uncommon species and behaviors.
The students in the Tropical Ecology Field Studies class came well prepared and I was happily surprised by their enthusiasm. Their professor, Jean Replicon, had them prepare a syllabus in which the students compiled information about the campus, the T.A.C.T. project and the mammals that could be encountered on campus. Right of the bat the students had very interesting questions and remarks concerning the project. During data input they showed an unprecedented enthusiasm and willingness to work. Many of them were not willing to finish before reviewing all the videos given and had to be dragged away from their computers for the next activity.
After a short time of data analysis, where I gave the students access to my full database, they came up with some beautiful ideas and results. The discussion that followed was very inspiring.
To top it all off, the students of this class joined forces in gathering a very generous donation for the project. I want to thank Jean and her students for reigniting my enthusiasm for the project, inspiring me with new ideas and their generous donation.
Here is some footage of the students at work: TACT workshop