The project runs on Zooniverse, a platform for citizen science, hosting over 2 million volunteers who assist researchers in analysing and organising data. The Zooniverse website shows that there are currently 1358 volunteers supporting the research. The Arctic Bears project asks these volunteers to study batches of photos alongside a field guide. The volunteers provide the researchers with information on the number of bears or cubs, their genders, and multiple other factors. There are five trail cameras installed at three different field camps, as well as another eight located at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. These cameras have captured over 600 different polar bears. Whilst all the cameras are located in Wapusk National Park in northern Manitoba, the sites are almost 200 kilometres apart which ensures the data provides information on varying environments. The project is the first of its kind and hopes to broaden current knowledge on polar bear behaviour. When it began in 2011 the primary aim was to answer whether the creation of field camps had worked to attract or repel polar bears. The aims of the project have now expanded in scope and hope to answer important questions including: What drives polar bears to visit human infrastructure or activity? Do observations of polar bears change over time? Oxford University scientists are working alongside a group of Canadian researchers to involve citizen volunteers in a project which aims to examine polar bear behaviour. Utilising 10 years worth of images volunteers will assess a series of photos which will reveal trends in polar bear behaviour. Image: Hans-Juergen Mager via unsplash.com The unique approach taken by the Arctic Bears Project carries many benefits. The process is very efficient and without the support of volunteers the labour intensive work could take years for the researchers to complete. Creating ‘citizen scientists’ also encourages active participation from those who would otherwise be detached from the process. Individuals are able to become more involved as well as gain a greater understanding of the issues. Finally the process is non-invasive, meaning it is not stressful for the animals being studied. One of the project’s most notable discoveries so far is capturing black bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears living together for the first time. The cameras have also confirmed the pattern of polar bears moving from the sea to land in Summer and Autumn, when the ice melts.
View City Beach presentation at this link CLEAR LAKE — The Clear Lake City Council this week set the date for a public hearing on the second phase of the City Beach Enhancement Project. The project, estimated at $1.2 million, features the construction of a splash pad, a new restroom facility, a sun shade shelter area, as well as landscaping and lighting improvements. Jason Blome of RDG Planning & Design says the new splash pad would have three different zones, with one zone being more geared to toddlers. “It has a variety of play opportunities with a foaming geyser-gusher, kind of smaller jets that aren’t quite as intimidating for the smaller kids. They can sit down and really get integrated into those splash pad features. There’s also vertical features in this particular zone for the young kids. We’ve got a fish, a frog, a really large leaf component, and a little waterfall-volcano type element in that area.”Blome says the other two zones will also incorporate lighting into the splash pad. “A lot of the components in zone two and three also have LED lighting, so at night those features would be lit up. One of the strategic reasons for these locations is they are right along the beach in the walkway, and they’re kind of a nice forefront to the restroom building that will have some art features incorporated onto the facade of that building as well. Also in the fringes of these areas are some smaller bubblers for the young kids as well.” Blome says the sun shade shelter will be a nice added feature for adults watching their children enjoy the splash pad. “Another architectural component to the site is the shade canopy that is located directly to and parallel with the water treatment plant. It provides shade respite for the parents, good for flexible type use, adjacent to the splash pad area.” Councilman Mike Callanan was part of a committee of councilmen, city staff and community organizations that’s been working with RDG on the project. He says the plan has exceeded his expectations of improving the area. “From a personal standpoint, it’s got the wow factor, and I think the locals, as well as people visiting our beautiful community, are going to find it as a very wonderful thing for the city of Clear Lake.” The public hearing and award of contract for the second phase of the City Beach improvements will be held at the council’s January 6th meeting.