New Year's Round-Up at Cedar Creek!

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect back at what we've accomplished on this project already and look ahead at what's coming up in 2019 for Eyes on the Wild!

  • One hundred and twenty cameras were deployed in November 2017 and are still running to this day (except that one that sunk into a peat bog and got frozen under the moss....more on that in a future post! spoiler alert - it still works. but is currently inside drying out.)

  • These cameras are distributed across the three major North American ecosystems found at Cedar Creek: western prairies, the northern evergreen forests, and the leafy forests of the east. About a third of them are in areas that are seasonally marshy or are accessed only through seasonal marshes - something we found out while trying to check them regularly in Year 1!
Photo Credit: Jake Miller

  • As of December 2018, we have collected 924,440 trail camera images. A big chunk of our cameras were last checked in October though, so we expect that number to climb when we get into our January round of camera checks! We aim to physically visit every camera approximately once per season/once every 4 months to check battery levels and swap out memory cards.

  • We have uploaded the first four months of our trail camera data to the Zooniverse website so far. As the seasons change, so does the animal community – keep an eye out for the appearance of our summer bison!

  • Between the project launch on the morning of December 20th and the end of the year, 1201 unique volunteers had made an incredible 204,310 classifications! This hard work meant that 2327 images had been perused enough times to be officially retired (more on what that means in our next post!). Our facebook page had 209 likes, and we received media coverage on the local public radio station. Researchers also provided interviews to local newspaper and television reporters, to be aired in early 2019.

  • We plan to run our camera trapping grid for at least the next three years (hopefully longer!) to capture seasonal and yearly variation in animal occupancy and behavior, and to generate insight into the lives and patterns of the diverse Cedar Creek animal community.

  • Even though we haven't processed all of our images yet, we still have *two* new science manuscripts in the works resulting from trail camera efforts at Cedar Creek! One accepted paper documents a unique nocturnal association between deer and bats; the other describes cascading ecosystem-wide effects of simulated wolf presence. Look for more information in future blog posts! 
Researchers at work!

  • In the upcoming year, we will be working to incorporate artificial intelligence into our image processing pipeline and continue to build amazing educational programs for K-12 and undergraduate students based around this trail camera initiative! 

Thank you to EVERYONE who has helped make this project such as success so far! This wouldn't be possible without our funders, research team, camera technicians, and volunteer citizen scientists. Here's to a new year full of deer, wolves, science, and new discoveries at Cedar Creek! 


  1. I am thoroughly enjoying my participation in this project. I love the sense of hunting through the three shots to discover what is hiding in plain sight or to watch how quickly some of these animals can move. Thanks for the great opportunity!

    1. Thanks Teresa! So glad to have you on the project! If you were interested, we'd love to have you write a little blurb about your experiences on the project - highlights, lowlights, surprises, anything! - for us to post on the blog. It would be great to have some voices of volunteers! Email me at if you'd be up to do a guest post sometime!


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