College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Policy

Deer, bats, and foxes, oh my! Wildlife students learn field techniques

Photo Credit: 
Shannon Pederson

Members of the University of Maryland (UMD) Student Chapter of the The Wildlife Society in College Park, MD, have been busy conducting several research projects in their surrounding community. Current on-going studies include e-Mammal camera trapping, deer density surveys and bat acoustics projects in Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, MD, a 40-acre nature sanctuary less than ten miles from the nation’s capital.

Shannon Pederson, a PhD student at UMD and a teaching assistant for UMD’s wildlife courses, has been teaching student chapter members field techniques through a variety of wildlife surveys.   Students are gathering data on the deer population size through the use of deer pellet counts and baited camera traps in the Woodend Nature Sanctuary. Bat acoustic surveys are also being conducted through the use of full spectrum bat detectors.   She has also taken members to help check small mammal traps for National Park Service.

The projects offer members the opportunity to learn techniques in an outdoor classroom setting.   Student Chapter President Sze Wing Yu says, “The most enjoyable part of our chapter’s research projects are being outdoors, meeting our members, and exploring nearby greenspaces, all the while contributing to real and useful scientific research. It is interesting that so many natural areas with urban wildlife exist around our school, and these ongoing projects benefit our current and future students by letting them discover these areas and providing hands-on experience in fieldwork techniques.”

Find more information on the chapter’s current projects at their Facebook page.

Sources: Shannon Pederson, Sze Wing Yu, eMammal, and Woodend Sanctuary

This article first appeared on the homepage of The Wildlife Society in November 2014.  The Wildlife Society is the premier professional organization of wildlife professionals.  Membership is also open to students and anyone who is interested in wildlife science, management and conservation.  Mariah is the Wildlife Programs Coordinator at the Society.

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