Back in July, I wrote about Olmsted Naturally. I coupled my thoughts with a walk through Delaware Park’s wooded areas – a great place to draw inspiration when you’re feeling glum. There’s nothing like interacting with nature, even if it’s in the middle of a city, to clear the cobwebs.
A couple of days ago, as I was clearing some cobwebs, I noticed a small box hanging on a tree. At first I thought that it was some sort of modern bee motel, but upon further examination, I realized that it was an inconspicuous camera that was installed to track wildlife. How cool?
Next to the box was a small sign that explained what was going on. The wildlife monitoring camera station was installed by the Canisius College Applied Conservation Team, in partnership with the Lincoln Park Zoo Urban Wildlife Information Network. The team leader is Dr. Robin Foster, Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation at Canisius.
Dr. Foster teaches courses in introductory animal behavior, conservation behavior, urban ecology and herpetology. Her research program focuses on applied conservation and wildlife management, and on the integration of animal behavior with conservation assessment and planning.
The project, approved by Olmsted Parks Conservancy, joins a number of other conservation efforts that are underway throughout the Olmsted Parks, many of which I recounted in my walkabout reflection post.
“The camera is part of a larger project looking at wildlife along an urban-rural gradient in the Buffalo area,” said Foster. “It is part of (and funded by) a larger network for urban wildlife research run by the Lincoln Park’s Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Information Network. We just partnered with them this year and are building up the project. We have 13 cameras out now, and will hopefully be expanding to 30 soon!”
While this is a necessary first step to study urban habitats in Buffalo, sadly, cities have become “safer” havens for wildlife, as habitat destruction continues to displace wildlife in rural areas. Therefore, it is more important than ever to understand the relationship between nature and Buffalo’s urban sanctuaries.