Haliburton Forest Citizen Science offering gives the public insight to scientific research 0
Researchers Alex Scott followed by Kat Kostyukova make the short walk from their vehicle to the canoe to cross Havelock Lake to check their live traps, as part of the Haliburton Forest Citizen Science program that enables the public a first-hand experience with science in action at the Haliburton Forest. There are 335 traps they must set and check in a week. The program's last offering is Sept. 1. Call 705 754-2198 for more details. DARREN LUM/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
For most people the commute is the worst part.
However, for Ph.D student Kat Kostyukova (who is co-supervised by Dr. Sean Thomas and Dr. Jay Malcolm) and Fleming College student Alex Scott of the fish and wildlife technician program it’s the best, as every day has its rewards.
Their approximate 20-minute canoe paddle from the boat launch (when not camping overnight near the 13.5 hectares of research area) is full of surprises such as the resident duck family, occasional inquisitive bear or the receding water levels, which is cause of concern when transporting hundred of traps.
As part of the Haliburton Forest Citizen Science (experience research in action), the pair of researchers opened up their workday to the public for Small Mammals of Haliburton Forest – Part A of a three-day offering. Part B is July 19 and Aug. 29.
Kostyukova is easily excited. She points out how you see things before the statistical data shows itself. It fascinates her about how observations can lead to questions.
Their research focuses on “identifying important structural elements within the forest for small mammal communities, and the effects of habitat selection on small mammal population dynamics.”
Although they captured mainly deer mice on the partially truncated day, the list includes small mammals such as flying squirrels, shrews, eastern chipmunks, red squirrels, woodland jumping mice and red-backed voles.
Using live capture methods, the researchers showed how taking measurements of the mammals can help with estimating their density, species composition, age structure and survival rates. With limited time, and use of the live-capture traps, the pair hope for dry and mild conditions, as the cool and wet weather can be stressful to the animals. They attempt to minimize this by returning to traps early the next morning after setting them.
This is a sample of a one-week trapping session. There are three sessions with one in spring, summer and autumn.
For more opportunities and a schedule of other experiences in research in action see citizensciencehaliburton.com.