Trail Cameras Reveal Wealth of Activity, Will Boost Life Sciences Curriculum at Chelmsford Schools
Cameras show deer, coyotes, porcupines, even a bobcat
CHELMSFORD, MA (Aug. 1, 2022) – There is a deer that has been wandering between the wooded areas surrounding the Parker Middle School, Chelmsford High School and the McCarthy Middle School, an area that encompasses nearly a mile.
The deer, recognizable by a mole on its face, has appeared on trail cameras near all three schools. This fall, students in each school will log such information as well as the time of day in each location, the temperature, and the behavior, not only of deer, but the many other species appearing consistently.
In May, Chelmsford Public Schools K-12 Science Coordinator Jon Morris purchased 15 trail cameras, and strategically placed them in the wooded areas surrounding the middle schools and high school. Within a few weeks, the findings were as compelling as they were surprising.
- An abundance of deer, rabbits and turkeys appearing on all 15 cameras throughout the day and night.
- Coyotes, foxes and even a bobcat have appeared at night, presumably hunting.
- Possums, which are nocturnal, and porcupines.
- Fishercats traversing the woods next to the McCarthy Middle School in the late morning.
- The aforementioned bobcat roaming by the wooded area between the Harrington Elementary, CHS and Route 3 about 1:30 a.m.
“It’s incredible what we’ve seen,” said Mr. Morris. “One of the big surprises is how much activity was around student arrival and dismissal times. Our kids are literally walking into school less than 20 yards from deer.”
Further enhancing the Science department curriculum, Mr. Morris has partnered with Snapshot USA, a nationwide effort to monitor mammal populations through the use of trail cameras. Chelmsford students will regularly submit their data to Snapshot USA.
“We’re looking to be part of the fourth annual National Mammal Survey,” said Mr. Morris. “Our findings will be in the NMS database. Our cameras tell the time, date, and temperature. As students go through the curriculum, they can record food webs and watch mammal behavior and environmental response.”
The implementation of the trail cameras is very timely. CHS is introducing Life Sciences to CHS’s Innovation Pathways curriculum, offered to students entering freshman year. “The images from our cameras will be used throughout multiple grade levels,” Mr. Morris said.
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsfordschools.org.