Preserving maximum plant and wildlife diversity is an active and adaptive process, requiring the maintenance of a wide variety of habitats. Management plans must continually be revisited to ensure that our goals are met.

Research and Monitoring


Spring Island Camera Monitoring Project

Your yard contributes to the overall wildlife habitat on Spring Island. Because we do not spend much time on your property, the Nature Center staff would like your assistance to help monitor the wildlife near your home. If you are willing to purchase a digital trail camera and set it out in your yard, you can help collect valuable information on the island’s animals. Data will be used to monitor our deer herd and to look for rare species such as bobcats and foxes. Plus, you may be able to finally see what is eating your azaleas!

This would make a great gift for kids (small or big)! They can learn about the animals and participate in science. We’ll post the best pictures on the web and share the results with you.

Purchasing a camera

Preferred Requirements:

1. Digital - resolution isn't that important unless you want to make prints from your pictures. Film cameras are initially cheap but processing film is expensive plus you can't share the pics.

2. Time and date stamp. See the bobcat picture above for an example. You want to know when the picture was taken.

3. Delay function. With this you can set the minimum time interval between pictures. For example, if the camera is set to a 5 minute delay, once a picture is taken it won't take another picture for another 5 minutes. This is good for avoiding 10 pictures of the same animal.

There are lots of digital cameras out there. Some flash. Some don't. Cuddeback makes some great cameras. StealthCams also are popular. Cameras can be purchased at Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, and many other places. Choose what features you want to get and how much you are willing to spend. You may also want to purchase a memory card to allow you to take more pictures before having to download them.

Picking a location:

Secure it to a tree at a height of 2 feet above the ground in your yard. Look for game trails, vegetation bottlenecks, or water holes if you want to try and maximize your activity. You can bait your camera site if you like, but try it without any bait at first.

Collecting data:

In order for your data to be used effectively, please use the datasheets below. We will periodically compile the results and post on the website. Run your cameras for as long as you like. For the deer surveys, cameras need to be deployed for the entire month. Complete the datasheets and hand in periodically.

pdf Default Datasheet
Use this one each time you deploy your camera. Tally up the species of interest.

pdf Deer Datasheet
Use this datasheet in January and August to monitor the deer herd.