Earlier this year, we sat down as a team to brainstorm how to make Sky Island FotoFauna more accessible to rural communities and schools. Our solution was to launch a “lending library” program for FotoFauna cameras — and we’re excited to share that we’ve kicked off our first lending library location in Arizona* this month!
How does the lending library work?
Starting November 1, patrons of the Copper Queen Library (CQL) in Bisbee — a small art/mining town nestled in the beautiful Sky Island Mule Mountains — can check out one of four FotoFauna camera kits from the CQL’s “Library of Things.”
Anyone who lives in Cochise County is welcome to participate, but please note: to check out a kit, patrons must be over 18 and have an active CQL library card. Getting a library card is easy, you just need to go into the CQL with an ID and a piece of mail that has your address on it.
Each FotoFauna kit comes with a Meidase SL122 Pro** trail camera and tree strap, lithium batteries, an SD card, and a card reader for your computer, as well as all the necessary written instructions (like a wildlife ID guide and quick-start camera guide) you’ll need to get started with the program. The included instructions are printed in both English and Spanish.
For patrons who don’t have a computer or tablet at home, the CQL and the Bisbee Science Lab have both offered to let FotoFauna participants use their computers to submit monthly FotoFauna checklists. (Note: The Bisbee Science Lab computers are only open to the public on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
For patrons who don’t have a car, the Bisbee Bus Program runs between Douglas and Bisbee and Sierra Vista and includes stops at both of these locations.
Why should I check out a kit?
Keeping kids and students in mind, we’ve made these FotoFauna camera kits easy to use. They are great for families who homeschool or who want to introduce new STEM activities into their kids’ daily lives.
The kits not only teach families how to set up a wildlife camera and get them thinking about where animals and birds might migrate through their yard; they also include wildlife identification guides that teach kit users how to tell the difference between species like the four Sky Island skunks, mule deer and white-tailed deer, ground squirrels and tree squirrels, and many others!
Kits are also checked out for 30*** days, which gives patrons enough time to enjoy observing, documenting, and submitting a FotoFauna checklist for the species that visit their yard. Patrons are allowed to keep the digital photos taken by the camera — so consider posting yours to social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) using the #SkyIslandFotoFauna hashtag.
The CQL has four kits on hand, so be sure to get on the waitlist — and have fun!
* Are you a student at the Universidad de la Sierra in Moctezuma, Sonora? UniSierra also has FotoFauna kits that students can check out during their studies! Email email@example.com for details.
** Moving forward, we will be using the Meidase P40 Trail Camera, as the older version we use for the CQL kits have been discontinued.
*** We generally ask that wildlife cameras participating in the FotoFauna project run for a full calendar month (e.g., November 1 to 30 with a checklist submitted after December 1), but we are relaxing this requirement for our lending library cameras to allow as many people to join the project as possible.