Fort Collins -- The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy (RMCC) and its partners announce a special community event to open the wildlife photography exhibit, Wild by Wild, on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Museum in downtown Fort Collins. The event is free and open to the public, but donations to the RMCC in support of its work are gratefully accepted.
The photography exhibit showcases dramatic images of the most common wildlife species found along the Front Range of Colorado, including mountain lions, bears, coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other species, captured in action, in their habitat by remotely activated “camera traps.” The photo exhibit showcases the work of a citizen-science project initiated by the RMCC, the Community, Cameras, and Conservation (CCC) project, which focuses on wildlife conservation. All the photos are unretouched and appear exactly as they did when originally taken.
“This event showcases the full range of local wildlife species inhabiting nearby parks and forests, captivating images of wild animals in their natural setting. Each photograph was actually taken by the animal in the photo, self-triggering a heat-motion activated camera,” explained Caroline Krumm, big cat biologist and RMCC Director. “You could say these are photos wildlife taken by wildlife, hence the title of the exhibit “Wild by Wild.”
The public can tour the gallery or visit a variety of other fun, educational activities for visitors of all ages, that have been set up in connection with the photo exhibit, including wildlife booths manned by Master Naturalists and featuring wildlife furs and skulls; enjoy a slide show of wildlife pictures not featured in the exhibit; talk with project volunteers about their experiences, and cast a vote for best image.
Krumm and other RMCC partners will be available to discuss their work in mobilizing local citizen-based science projects and outreach efforts. Dr. Don Hunter, RMCC’s Science Director will be on hand to sign and talk about his new book, Snow Leopard: Stories from the Roof of the World (University Press of Colorado, 2012).
“We are thrilled to have the Wild by Wild event and exhibit at the Museum,” said Jason Wolvington, the Museum’s Associate Director. “It aligns perfectly with the mission of the Museum, bringing art, science, education, and interactive discovery to the Fort Collins community.”
For the Wild by Wild gallery only the most remarkable images were chosen from thousands collected over the past year by several CCC projects located along the Front Range.
CCC was originally launched with middle and high school students in Estes Park and has since grown to include a program for high school and college students on the Front Range. Partners include The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, Front Range Community College, Larimer County Parks, Lory State Park, Rocky Mountain and Fort Collins High Schools and several local volunteer organizations.
“This collaborative effort engages students and community volunteers in valuable wildlife research,” said Deborah Price, Community Programs Educator with the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, who oversees the CCC program at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area in Masonville, Colo. “Our Master Naturalist volunteers and students from Fort Collins High School share time in the field checking cameras, downloading images and recording scene and location data. It’s exciting and educational. ”
Experts install camera traps at prime locations in key wildlife habitats. These cameras use heat-motion detectors that take a photo when an animal moves into view of the lens. Camera traps have been used in wildlife and ecological research for years because they can accurately and effectively collect data on wildlife presence, changes in population, activity and habits without disturbing the animals or their habitat. Each camera site is monitored regularly by students and volunteers, at which time pictures are downloaded to a database developed for that area. They also record other data observed in the field as they move from camera to camera.
The RMCC is dedicated to promoting wild cat conservation through research and community stewardship, and was founded on the belief that a higher degree of coexistence can be achieved through proactive, strategic research, education and community involvement.
This is exhibit is the third annual “Wild by Wild” photo exhibit, but the first in collaboration with the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.