Photo: Brady Clarke

The Connecting Students with Wildlife Project (CSWP) is a west coast wildlife monitoring project. We use non-invasive, motion-sensor “camera traps” to help teach local students about coexisting with wildlife in our communities.

CSWP is a joint project between Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Bob Hansen, and the Raincoast Education Society. CSWP was founded in 2015 by Bob Hansen and Keltie Minton, with help from Megan Adams and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, who piloted the school wildlife monitoring program with local schools. To make this project a continuing reality, support has come together from Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, SD 70, District of Ucluelet, District of Tofino, WildsafeBC, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Ahousaht Education Authority, University of Victoria, and local businesses. The Raincoast Education Society's Kaylyn Kwasnecha is now the CSWP project coordinator.

Local wildlife specialists work first hand with students and teachers through a series of sessions that include both classroom time and field work. Students are taught about wildlife safety, tracking, and ecology and are given the opportunity to develop upper level research skills close to home. They develop wildlife technician skills while collecting, recording and analyzing data from the cameras and from field observation of wildlife tracks and signs. Students also recently had the opportunity to connect, learn together, and share their experiences between schools at the first annual Wildlife Symposium (coordinated by CBT) at Ucluelet Secondary School in May 2016.

Wildlife in Action
The motion sensor camera takes a series of photos when an animal travels by including the date, time, and temperature stamped on the image. Remote cameras record data by capturing images or videos at specific time intervals or when infrared triggers are detected. We collect thousands of images and videos each year and review them to get a glimpse of the wildlife that travels through our communities. This data helps us understand which habitats are important for which species, and helps inform the community of potential wildlife conflicts. CSWP continues to be developed, and the ongoing project results will be shared with the schools, parents, and the broader community.

*If you come across a wildlife camera, please leave it alone and do not touch it. They are valuable research tools for our communities!

How Can You Help?
What you do while visiting or living in these wild areas can have an impact on the safety of you and the wildlife. We need your help to prevent human-wildlife conflicts and keep our predators wild. To reduce conflict with carnivores you can:

• Space is safe! Respect your distance from wild animals.
• Keep your dog on a leash at all times.
• Never feed or entice any wildlife. Carnivores can become conditioned to human food.
• Keep your campsite or surrounding home free of wildlife attractants.
• Keep children close by.
• Avoid hiking alone, especially at dawn, dusk, or after dark.
• Learn more about the wildlife that shares your home!

For more information about living with wildlife, please visit the following links:
Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (Map)
Pacific Rim National Park - Living with Wildlife
You are in Black Bear Country (PDF)
You are in Cougar and Wolf Country (PDF)

Sponsor a Wildlife Camera
Support Raincoast Education Society by sponsoring a wildlife research camera in our communities. With a minimum donation of $400 - the cost of one remote camera - we will send you photos of the animals detected by the camera you have donated throughout the research season. Maybe your camera will get visited by a river otter, wolf, or cougar! Other species our cameras have detected include black bears, deer, raccoons, rats, owls, domestic animals, birds and more.

All proceeds go directly toward CSWP research programs. Your support will facilitate our local learning and getting students outside into the natural world. Our schools strive to develop new courses and opportunities for local youth that will enhance their lives and the community!  Please email us at or call 250 725 2560 if you would like to sponsor a camera.