Students from the Wolf Tracking Winterim presented their dissertation at a recent All-School Assembly. The following students participated in this Winteirm, which was led by Science Teachers Lauren Hazard and Wendy Welshans P’24: Abby Brooks ’23, Molly Brooks ’23, Theo Geary ’23, Aidan Hallsworth ’23, Isabelle Smythe ’23, Jack Stanzione ’22, Easton Waddell ’22, and Ben Wildstein ’22. During their presentation, students shared information and findings from their experience collecting data on wolf populations in collaboration with the International Wolf Center (IWC) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The IWC has an enclosure that is home to three wolves, and they have noticed that the wolves have been agitated. For two weeks, Forman students tracked wolves outside of the enclosure to determine whether outside wolves were the cause of the agitation. Students set up motion sensor trail cameras in the woods around the enclosure and worked with the USGS to set up cameras on their land.
After one week, students collected the SD cards to analyze the footage, which showed photos and videos of an individual wolf moving through the IWC property. The wolf had a very skinny tail, which suggests that it has mange, a skin disease caused by mites. The staff at IWC were nervous by this finding as they want to protect their wolves from being infected with mange. Other species captured on camera were foxes, coyotes, snowshoe hares, and white-tailed deer.
The IWC also assigned the group a mission to capture high-quality audio recordings of their juvenile wolf’s howl. Using the bioacoustic equipment, students were able to capture recordings of this wolf's howl to share with Wolf Quest, a virtual simulation of life as a wolf avatar. Students also conducted nightly howling surveys with the goal of recording a howl of a wolf in the wild. However, the group did not record any howls during our howling surveys.
Science Teacher Lauren Hazard contributed to this post.