These inspiring young people from Belmont Community School were some of MammalWebs first citizen scientists, doing their own research into their local environment’s mammal population. As mammals are elusive, often coming out at night and not in great numbers, it’s difficult to monitor their populations, distributions and how they behave. Knowing these things is important for conservation and knowing how to develop our natural landscape sustainably.
Working as part of the MammalWeb project with former PhD student Pen-Yuan Hsing (Biosciences) and Dr Lorraine Coghill, and supported by the British Ecological Society (BES) and Durham Wildlife Trust, these EcoAmbassadors set up their own motion sensing “camera traps” to photograph and monitor wild mammals. They investigated the outcomes and encouraged others in their community to get involved, including contributing to a film about the project and delivering hands-on activities at events such as the Belmont Easter Fair and Celebrate Science. A MammalWeb research paper co-authored by school pupils was published in 2020 MammalWeb Paper (2.8MB, PDF).
During British Science Week 2020 the BES Education Team with support from Science Outreach travelled around England to deliver outreach events in which school pupils learnt more about global environmental challenges and how to solve them. Details of the workshops can be found on the BES website.
You can get involved too. As these cameras take thousands of photos, we need your help to identify what’s in them (or set up an camera of your own!) – Further details can be found on the MammalWeb website.