Blue Ridge School Catches Animals in Nature

Your backyard contains more than just grass and trees. One class at the Blue Ridge School is using cameras to catch a glimpse of what goes on.

This school has nearly 800 acres of land behind them; a perfect opportunity for an ecology laboratory. They set up a couple of motion sensor cameras and let them discover the wildlife, all the while learning some valuable lessons.

The southern Appalachian Mountains sit behind the school, and for the past two years the students have been allowed to place these cameras in what they hope to be a good location

"We are put in charge of placing the exact location where our camera is and the corridor we have our film" says Matthew Sening, a senior at Blue Ridge.

They use tracks of animals and other signs to find a good spot.

“My spots down the stream, running along the back; an open spot on the path where I could get an animal or a deer" stated Ryan Etheriege, also a senior at Blue Ridge.

They have been pretty successful so far in seeing raccoons scurrying away in the night, deer grazing through the woods, and even a bobcat that wasn't feeling very camera shy. The students love the opportunity to see these animals, and much prefer to learn in the field.

"I didn't want to sit in the classroom, do physics all day its more boring, but getting out and appreciating nature and everything that’s out there, what it means, how it works, its pretty good to know," says Matthew.

The program helps teach the boys what critters we can find in our own back yard and help them understand ecology from a different perspective.

Cory Woods, the Assistant Director of the Outdoor Education Program at Blue Ridge, heads the project. "Part of the bigger picture of what we're trying to do is get the guys outside, get them engaged in their natural surroundings."

More and more trails are being established and new cameras will be placed further and further away for more nature in action.

This is a project that has been going on for a few years, and they plan on using the new cameras to discover more animals in the future.


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