Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature by Roland Kays is one of my favorite book purchases of the past few months. I’ve been obsessed with camera traps for a while and last year my biology colleague and I worked with a group of students who set up their own camera trap project on our school campus. Kays was one of my inspirations for getting involved so I was thrilled when he published a book focused on camera traps.
For those who don’t know, camera traps are remotely activated cameras (usually trail cameras) that take unobtrusive pictures when wildlife walks through an area. They are used to measure biodiversity, population, and habitat use (among other things). While some camera traps are expensive, it’s relatively easy to set up your own and can be a great way to help students learn more about the world around them. I think it’s so important for students to be aware of local biodiversity and camera traps can help them with this.
Kays’ book is full of photos from camera traps all over the world. Presented in accessible language, the book can introduce students (and teachers) to camera traps and the various ways they are used all over the world. In English class I could imagine using some of the full-color photographs for picture prompts or journal entries. The book could also inspire citizen science projects or research projects in English and science class. The book is worth the price for the photos alone but the text is also a great example of easily-accessible science communication. A win-win for teachers looking to do some collaborating between English and science class!