Sheridan College Foundation donors are helping Sheridan College Wildlife Biology Students do cutting edge research
Small mammals such as mice and voles play important ecological roles in forest ecosystems, yet little is known about the small mammal communities of the Bighorns. Wildlife Biology instructor Scott Newbold implemented a long-term, education-focused, monitoring project to better understand the diversity and habitat use of small mammals in the lodgepole pine forests adjacent to the Spear-O-Wigwam Sheridan College Mountain Campus.
Sheridan College Foundation donor contributions funded the purchase of eighty traps. Students participated in all aspects of the process, including: hypothesis generation regarding small mammal diversity in different habitats, learning how to properly set and bait traps, collecting traps and ‘processing’ animals to identify them to species using various characteristics, such as tail length and body weight. Students used published keys and field guides to positively identify all mammals captured.
Students clearly were motivated by the study, enjoyed setting and checking the traps, and did a nice job identifying animals that were captured. This will be an ongoing research project that utilizes the Spear-O-Wigwam Campus.
As the wildlife biology program at SC grows, Sheridan College wants to continue to provide cutting-edge, hands-on experiences that inspire the next generation of scientists. Instructor Newbold appreciates the financial aid his program has received from the Foundation. “You can’t have these kinds of experiences in the classroom, and donor support, specifically, makes such amazing opportunities possible!”