The Cascade Mountain School is an ecology program set for teens inspired to learn about and help prevent climate change. This year, I spent a morning with the students on their 2 week field ecology course to talk about carnivore ecology in the Cascade Mountains as part of their 6-day backpacking trip on Mount Adams. The overarching goals of the school are to 1) cultivate individual responsibility and personal growth, 2) fostering creation of community and understanding of the natural world, and 3) excel in scientific inquiry, systems thinking, and sustainability studies.
The students split into two groups tasked with selecting good sites to set up wildlife cameras targeting the Cascade red fox. This posting is from the Horseshoe Meadow team.
The location for our camera was ideal because the location had multiple key areas for lingering carnivores. The area was fairly close (about 1/4 mile) to the PCT, but it wasn't close enough for a miss intentioned person to stumble upon it; also it was adjacent to two meadows, one being Horseshoe Meadow. The camera sat next to a saddle in the ridge where carnivores would most likely cross to access the meadow or nearby water source. For exactly this reason, we pointed the camera at the saddle area, anticipating that the animals would come from this direction. The location over looks the meadow, so carnivores have a clear view of their surroundings. The area had a fair amount of trees and vegetation to provide cover, but not so dense that it would affect the picture results. There are also lots of prey for carnivores in the area, so an animal will most likely cross paths with the wildlife camera. Since the sun rises and sets in the east-west direction, we positioned our camera so that it faced north-south to avoid whitewash in our photos.
~ Jordan the Grizz, Haley Carrot-Top, Galen Super-Pyro, and Karli the Spunk-Bun