In the Field
Thanks everyone for commenting. The scat (poop) was from a raccoon - they are easy to tell as they often eat a variety of things and also by the shape. And for those that were concerned with my holding it - this is actually Dr. Buesching in the photo.
Today we went out into the field to set Small Mammal traps - small mammals, like voles and mice, are good indicators of climate change as their distribution and abundance are greatly affected by changes in the climate. The traps that we set do not harm the mammals. In fact, we took great care to put in a nice soft bed of hay, some grain to eat and an apple for hydration. We then walked into the forest to place 100 of these traps on a grid along the forest floor. Walking through the forest was not an easy task - lots of brambles, rocks, bushes and ticks!
After setting the traps we headed to the scientists' house to help build a cabin for one of the research areas. This involved hammer together the walls of the structure. I'm sure I'll be a little sore tomorrow!
Tomorrow we go back to check the traps for any small creatures. If we happen to catch any, we'll take them out, check and note their health, clip their hair (so we know if we have caught this animal) and then let it go. These traps are designed by a company in England, called Longworth, and each trap cost $100.
Challenge: Why do you think small mammals, like mice and voles, are so important to the ecosystem?
Also what is the total cost of all the traps we set? You can see the row of all the traps in the photo above.