The ole "just strap the byatch on a tree and see what shows up" strategy only gets you so far.
And then you run out of trees.
It was about that phase of my journey that I had the opportunity to join the Camera Trap Codger on a trip to the Chimineas Ranch. And thus started drinking directly from the firehose of cam trapping knowledge.
You see, aside from being a brilliant naturalist and storyteller, the Codger also happens to be Chris Wemmer, PhD Mammalogist, Fellow with the California Academy of Sciences, Scientist Emeritus with the Smithsonian National Museum, and one of the country's leading authorities on the method, having cam trapped and taught it all over the world for both institutions.
So why am I gushing on the Codge?
Because he won't, and because you too can drink from the firehose. For the Codger is once again giving his summer week-long workshop on camera trapping, at the lovely and oh-so-laid-back San Francisco State University Sierra Nevada Field Campus.
And if you're interested in camera trapping, I highly recommend it.
Not only do you get a week of the Codge's hands-on cam trapping curriculum, you also get to hang out and explore a stunning part of Northern California - for the campus sits on the Yuba River, near the pass, in the Tahoe National Forest.
As for that coursework, it includes the tech, set and scene design, general mammal and bird trapping, species targeting, large-scale surveying, and mucho storytelling and knowledge swapping - you name it, he covers it, and/or is more than happy to dive into any aspect further if you have specific needs/interests. A major benefit of small classes and lots of 1:1 time.
You'll also spend a bunch of time getting field experience (i.e, you're gonna get stinky), both around the campus and the beautiful beyonds. But Codger and curriculum are good for all activity levels - non-hikers can hang at campus and explore and cam trap that fine area.
I.e., lots of depth, but also relaxed, low-key and informal. And with a class of about a dozen that'll include a full and fun array of amateurs, naturalists, wildlife photographers, biology students and professional biologists.
Lodging is also easy - you can tent camp around campus and use the facilities, rent one of their large platform tents (with beds inside), or stay at any of the local campgrounds, cabins, etc.
For food, you can bring your own, or enjoy the campus dining hall, where the collegial staff serves 3 good, simple squares with an SF flair.
There will also be 2 other great workshops going on at same time, with a couple dozen other nature geeks to cross-pollinate with - this year's will be Medicinal and Edible Wild Plants, and Field Sketching in the Range of Light (by the amazing John Muir Laws).
And if you wanna explore, there's many local hotspots - Marble Hot Springs Road for birding and flora, Gold Lake and the Lakes Basin for hiking and flora, Deadman Lake, Haskell Peak...
I'll shut up now and just show the pics.
Some of the characters I cam trapped around campus...
And some of the amazing native flora and fauna we found while in the field...
July 22-27. A week in the Sierra Nevada, with fun, like-minded folk, and a world-class Professor.
For natural science geeks, that's practically Utopia.
And even if you can't go this year, keep it in your head, and shout about it to folks you think would be interested.
randomtruth, aka RT, aka Ken
Journeyman instigator, California Camera Trapper's Society (some day...)
- SF State University Field Campus - Photographing Wildlife with Camera Traps
- The Camera Trap Codger - 2012 Workshop Sales Pitch
- The Camera Trap Codger - 2012 Workshop Schedule
- California Academy of Sciences - Chris Wemmer, PhD
- Camera Trapping Campus - High Sierra Sallies
- Camera Trapping Campus - Showtl Strike Two
- Camera Trapping Campus - Guest Post: March of the Marten
- Camera Trapping Campus - Beware of the Mountain Lions
- Camera Trapping Campus - Sierra Valley Foxes
- Camera Trapping Campus - Sierra Valley Foxes Continued
- Seabass Kennerknecht's Blog - Being a student in Codger's Camera Trapping Class
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Just Another Manic Marten
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - A Fossorial Living Fossil
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - 3 Goldilocked Bears
- My flickr photo albums from 2010 and June and July visits in 2011