March 2, 2022

Sharing Our City with Wildlife

As part of a collaborative research project Queens University, motion sensitive cameras captured images of various animals in the woods around Discovery Place Nature

Even if you live in the city, you often don’t have to go far to find wildlife. Some animals like squirrels and chipmunks may not be that surprising but foxes and deer can be very exciting to see wandering through the city.

As Charlotte and other cities continue to grow, knowing what animals are present can help to better understand the role of urban greenspaces. Lucky for us, Discovery Place Nature is in partnership with Queens University of Charlotte to support and highlight the work of scientists in the region.

As part of a collaborative research project, students Natalie Galluzzo, Kate Hunter and ShaCoya Price used motion sensitive cameras (set out when the museum was closed) to see what species of animals were using the woods around Discovery Place Nature. Over the course of several weeks, the cameras captured hundreds of photos—some with animals and some without.

Camera trapping projects can teach you a lot, but they also take a lot of time. Animals can be hard to find and easy to miss in pictures. Not only that, but cameras can also be triggered by plants moving in the breeze.

Many camera trapping projects are successful because they bring in community scientists who help process and analyze data. While the Queens University students have combed through their data, additional eyes are always helpful.

Interested in this project? There are a few things you can do!

  • First, check out the Queens University project website here to learn more about the animal and plant surveys.
  • Second, visit our new 100 Year Forest Wildlife Monitoring Station at Discovery Place Nature, where you can look through the camera footage and identify wildlife.
  • Third, get outdoors to look for wildlife yourself with our Tools on the Trail program at Discovery Place Nature and report what you discover using iNaturalist.

This project and partnership with Queens University is only the beginning! As we take more pictures, we hope to better understand how we share our city with wildlife.