by Anne Burke
Guidelines and entry forms are at www.fonhs.org for our Nose Hill Park photo contest which is open to all. Submissions are due September 30th. Photos must have been taken between October 1st, 2016 and September 30th, 2017.
To better understand wildlife in Calgary, a wildlife monitoring program will start this year. To monitor wildlife, motion-activated cameras will be installed in 11 City parks, including Nose Hill Park and one provincial park, to take pictures of wildlife in those areas. The information from this monitoring program will be used to make better decisions when planning parks and other City spaces. See more at www.calgary.ca.
Once there is a database of images to classify, residents will be asked to help classify them using a platform called Zooniverse. This is a citizen science web portal owned and operated by the international Citizen Science Alliance. It is home to some of the internet’s largest, most popular, and most successful citizen science projects; and will allow volunteers to participate in crowd sourced scientific research. More details will be shared when the program moves into that phase. Some of the questions to be explored over the next few years include:
Who calls Calgary home? While we can’t directly measure populations with the data from our cameras, we can get a sense of what wildlife call Calgary home.
Where are they? Finding out where certain species are most likely to spend time allows us to target conservation and management efforts.
How do species live with each other? This program will help understand how species in Calgary might compete with one another, engage in predator-prey dynamics, or avoid one other. By evaluating the camera images, we begin to better understand the Calgary urban ecosystem, including how all the species interact.
How can humans and wildlife co-exist in a city? It is known that people change the way wildlife behave – some animals adapt well to humans, some are indifferent, and others avoid us. The camera data will allow a better understand of our impact on wildlife.
Please note: The City does not conduct gopher control in natural environment parks in Calgary. The Alberta government is responsible for wildlife management. The City of Calgary provides information as a public service.