Our Wildlife Watchers program bridges several important aspects of our conservation mission. We work in partnership with the Forest Service, we connect volunteers with local forests and native wildlife, and we provide important wildlife data to the Forest Service to help inform management decisions.
The Wildlife Watchers program tracks wildlife using motion-triggered wildlife trail cameras. We are particularly interested in finding the American marten (“pine marten”) which is considered a “management indicator species” by the Forest Service.
After scouting out a variety of forested areas, we install the cameras in locations showing the best characteristics for marten habitat. We look for dense forests with old-growth characteristics including high canopy cover and down logs. We coordinate the camera locations with Forest Service staff to ensure that the camera data we collect will be of value for the National Forest.
To attract martens to the cameras, we apply a smelly, gooey substance known as marten lure. We also place meat in a cage attached to a tree within view of each camera in hopes of attracting a marten to the area for a meal. We service the cameras routinely during a field season from June to October. This involves hiking through the forests to the cameras, applying new bait and marten lure, swapping camera memory cards, downloading photos and checking the photos for wildlife species.
Volunteering for our Wildlife Watchers program is a great way to get involved with GHCC. If you are interested in becoming a Wildlife Watchers volunteer please contact GHCC Restoration Director Brian Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.