Thank you to all of our wonderful MassMammals and MassBears volunteers! We're here to give you our monthly update:
Happy Spring everyone! As we wrap up our first full week of spring, we are excited to see signs of life and new beginnings all around us, from the hints of green popping up from the ground and the birth of young animals all around. Additionally, with the warmer weather comes increased activity from previously hibernating animals. This makes the springtime the perfect moment to set out more trail cameras and keep a sharp eye out for mammals that are out and about. We would love it if you all could continue to share your submissions, especially now that this new season has begun!
Our undergraduateEducation Team members collaborate with nearby K-12 classrooms to facilitate local student participation in our project. We provide classrooms with trail cameras that allow them to collect their own data and communicate with teachers to develop locally relevant lesson plans that also cover state learning standards. Our undergraduates then visit these classrooms in person or over Zoom to run these lessons and interact with students.
We continually build and adapt aspects of our project in an effort to provide grade school students with a positive and beneficial learning experience. To gain feedback on our project — and to understand the implications of our work — we interview K-12 teachers at the end of the year to ask about their students’ and their own experiences with the project.
We have reviewed responses from the past two yearsof the project and are thrilled to report that we are seeing positive impacts on K-12 students, particularly with respect to scientific engagement. We also reflected on our engagement across various levels of scientific experience (K-12 students, undergraduates, and instructors at Amherst) and the meaningful science opportunities that arise out of the project. To share our findings, we have been working on writing them into a research paper which we have recently submitted to a journal for review. During the review process, others in the field will consider our work and provide edits and other feedback. We can’t wait to share this work with you when we hear back!
We are also in the process of updating both of our MassMammals and MassBears websites, so be on the lookout for more exciting changes! Thank you as always for all your support -- for more regular updates about our project, follow us on Instagram and Facebook @MassMammalsWatch.
Photo of the Month!
Our March Photo of the Month is this stunning photo of a bobcat by Doug Moore, one of our newest volunteers! Doug was referred to our project by another wonderful volunteer who saw this photo. Thank you Doug!
With the start of spring, we are actively making an effort to recruit more new volunteers from across the state. If you know anyone who has a passion for wildlife, photography, or both, please send them the link to our newsletter at the bottom of this e-mail or ask them to follow us on our social media. To see examples of other past sightings from more outstanding volunteers, visit our website!
Moose Safety Facts
Photo Credit: Don Pugh (thank you for your continuous support!)
People often feel lucky when getting the rare opportunity to spot a moose, a majestic mammal that can have a height of up to 6.9 feet and weigh as much as 1,400 pounds! While we appreciate the opportunity to observe these beautiful creatures in and around our local communities, there are specific precautions we can take to stay safe in our interactions.
1. Don't get too close! While moose are not inherently aggressive, they are likely to stand their ground and become defensive when they find that they are near people.
2. Are its ears laid back? Hackles up? The moose is likely to charge, or bluffing a charge. Either way, it is advisable to get behind something solid.
3. Unlike with bears, it is okay to run from a moose! It is unlikely that they will chase you.
It's also important to keep an eye out while driving, especially at night, since moose are often harder to spot than deer. While vehicle collisions with moose typically peak during the fall breeding season (September–October) and during yearling dispersals, when yearling moose are driven away by their mother (May–June), it never hurts to stay alert!
Source: National Park Service
If you know anyone who might be interested in getting involved in our project, send them this link to subscribe to this newsletter!
Visit our website linked below for more information!