I have been using Bushnell trail cams in school for several years now. The groups of children I am currently working with are really interested in them and were desperate to find out what had been leaving the tracks in our Wild Learning area. After I showed the children the Bushnells, and explained how they worked, they could not wait to get them outside!
Our first week’s footage showed foxes, cats and, amazingly, this badger! I wish I had had my camera on video as the children literally exploded when they saw this still! I had no idea badgers were around and certainly had no idea that they were ever in our Wild Learning Area!
Next, we set it on a gap under the fence, where it looked like something was coming through. The kids were so excited to upload the footage, which I set on stills. I used one of my newer Bushnell models with much better resolution.We captured stills of 2 cats and a fox regularly using this gap under the fence as a way into our wild learning area.
Using cameras like this is a great way to engage kids with the technology they love AND teaching them all about wildlife. They had to look hard to find tracks and signs that creatures were about. When asked how we could get some more footage, they decided putting food out would be a really good way to do this. I asked them to think of ways that we could get the animals to stay in front of the cameras for longer and we decided to make some feeding stations. The kids love using all my tools and I am very keen on teaching them the safe way to use such tools and them allowing them (under supervision of course!) actually have a go themselves! We carefully drilled peanut sized holes into the top of some logs so we could press in some peanuts.
The pupils were really proud of their feeding station and could not wait to get the trail cam set up to monitor it.
Trail cams are a super way for children to engage with the wildlife in school grounds and at home. There are so many curriculum links as well. The IT and science ones are obvious, but literacy work has much scope as well, with descriptive and persuasive writing, newspaper reports about creatures captured on Bushnells and even interviews with users… the possibilities are endless. The close-up lenses off opportunities for measuring, with focus measurements, not to mention time (12hr and 24 hr) for numeracy work. I think every school should have a trail cam……..