Elizabeth Divish; other author: Dustin Holmes
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Recreational Locations such as Glen Helen Nature Reserve (Yellow Springs, OH), are welcoming and open to many human activities that involve being outdoors. These nature locations are also home to many different wildlife species that interact with each other and the humans that visit the park. These species have natural behaviors and interactions that are necessary for survival and reproduction. Living in an outdoor recreational area can at times make it difficult for them to follow their natural behaviors, because human activities such as hiking and dog walking can influence how the animals act, what times they look for food, or look for mates. In collaboration with the Glen Helen Nature Reserve, we implemented a wildlife monitoring project through the use of remote trail cameras in their park. We set up five trail cameras, with three of them having bait in the form of bird seed. Cameras were active for a month, from Nov 15 to Dec 15 2022. We documented eight mammal species: North American beaver (Castor canadensis), White tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Raccoon (Procyon lotor), Coyote (Canis latrans), Gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans), Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), and small rodents, such as field mice (Mus musculus). Using the footage from the camera traps, we found observable data to support that wild mammals inhabiting this location are affected by human behavior visiting the park. The majority of wild animals had nocturnal behavior, in contrast to human activity that occurs entirely during the day. By analyzing at the time of day of the activity for both, the different activities that are taking place and the relationship between them support the idea that wildlife are shifting their behavior to avoid human activity. The research has shown the effects that an outdoor area allowing humans to explore nature and their surroundings can have on the different fauna that call that location home, and these results will help inform Glen Helen Nature Reserve and their management plans for this protected area.
Independent Research 202310 BIO 300
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences
Institutional Learning Goals
"Human Impacts on Wildlife Activity in Glen Helen Nature Reserve" (2023). Stander Symposium Projects. 3106.