Guest blog by Graham Perner, TTF Volunteer
TTF has planted hundreds of native trees alongside our creeks. These buffers along the stream filter and slow polluted runoff from adjacent fields and parking lots. The plants create a shady, cool creek (the kind fish enjoy) and wildlife habitat for birds and other wildlife. Here’s an update from Graham Perner who’s conducting a wildlife survey along one of our buffers:
Hi! I’m Graham Perner and I’m a new volunteer with TTF. I grew up and live in Cheltenham and am a graduate of the University of Wisconsin where I got my degree in Wildlife Ecology.
I’m excited to share an update with you about the mammal and reptile surveys I’m conducting at the TTF creekside planting along the Jenkintown Creek at Ethel Jordan Park in Elkins Park. Every few days, I go out to the park, and check all my tools to see if there are any signs of animals.
I have three sets of tools that I’ll be using throughout the study. The first, which hasn’t been set up due to the recent rainy weather, are the track plates. These are metal plates that are covered in black carbon powder. When an animal steps on the plate, it will leave a footprint which I can use to identify the type of animal. The second tool is called a cover board. These are wooded boards that I put down as shelter for animals, mostly reptiles. Every couple of days, I come out, lift up the boards and see what’s underneath. It’s a lot like going by the creek to lift up a log or rock to see what’s under it!
Our last tool is a set of trail cameras. These are motion sensor cameras that takes two pictures when something sets them off. We have already captured some pretty cool stuff from these cameras — take a look through the slideshow above! I hope to record even more animals on these cameras and hope to be surprised by what’s out there in our suburban neighborhoods.
I will continue to provide regular updates throughout this project, but here’s my wildlife tally so far: Red Fox, Canada Goose, Grey Squirrel, White-tailed Deer, American Robin, White-breasted Nuthatch, Mourning Dove, American Goldfinch, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Common Grackle.