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Photo by Trail Camera

Florida Master Naturalist Conservation Science Advanced Special Topics Students Study Upland Biodiversity Using Trail Cams

In June 2019, Extension Agent Ken Gioeli with the UF/ IFAS St Lucie County Extension conducted the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) Conservation Science advanced special topics course. This course was designed to educate people in the concepts, language, and science related to conservation needs, planning, and action. Students that completed this course had a better understand the complexities of conservation. This course covered concepts such as species diversity, measuring biodiversity, the processes that generate and maintain biodiversity, types of ecosystem services, ecological processes, habitat fragmentation, effects of human activities on ecosystems, the history of conservation in North America, and strategies for conservation planning.

As part of this course, students were tasked with setting up camera traps in western St Lucie County to measure the wildlife biodiversity in a natural area.  Team #1 was lead by Dayna M.; Team #2 was lead by Gerald W.; and Team #3 was lead by John L.  Each group had access to trail cams with infrared flash and bait such as corn and dog food.  Unfortunately, only nonnative feral pigs and coyotes were captured on camera.  The photo results are below:

Team 3 observed coyote eyes glowing in the dark.

Photo by Trail Camera

Photo of eyes peering through the darkness caught on trail cam by the Florida Master Naturalist Conservation Science course students.

Team 2 observed feral pigs and coyotes.

Team 1 observed feral pigs.  Please note the date for this video is actually June 2019.