Wolfpack Citizen Science Challenge Fall 2016

wolfpack citizen science challenge logo






The Fall 2016 Challenge has ended. Read more about it here.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Your Campus

We’re asking students, faculty and staff to use camera traps to make discoveries about the mammals that live right here on campus. “Catch” animals on camera to win prizes!


Volunteers will borrow camera traps to collect data about animal activity. Camera traps silently take photos when their motion sensor is triggered by animal movement. An infrared flash allows the unit to capture animal activity at night without disturbing them.

Volunteers will work in teams of two to four people. Each team will be given a specific location on campus to monitor. Teams will lock camera traps to trees at these locations and leave them in place to monitor the mammals that walk by. After three weeks, volunteers will retrieve the camera traps, examine the images, and identify the animals. They will use custom desktop software to upload their pictures to the eMammal database.


The Fall 2016 Challenge has ended. Check out some volunteer images and come to our closing event.

  • Start date: August 17, 2016
  • Last day to deploy cameras: October 8, 2016
  • Last day to retrieve cameras from the field: October 29, 2016
  • Last day to upload pictures to eMammal: November 4, 2016


  • Sign up your team of 2-4 people. We will match you with other volunteers if you don’t have a team. (Note: All team members must sign up individually.)
  • Complete online training (~40 minutes).
  • Get assigned a location on campus. (You do not need a car to participate–all locations are accessible by Wolfline and walking.)
  • Borrow a camera trap from the Natural Resources Library.
  • Use a GPS app to find your location:
  • Set up your camera trap (and leave it alone for 3 weeks).
  • Retrieve your camera trap and download the images.
  • Identify animals! Share pictures on social media using the hashtag #WolfpackCitSci.
  • Upload your data to eMammal.


The first 80 volunteers who complete their assignments will receive a Wolfpack Citizen Science Challenge t-shirt, and all will receive a chance to win a Reconyx HyperFire Professional Covert Camera Trap. Additional prizes will be given to the best stories and images shared on social media using the hashtag #WolfpackCitSci.

More About the Wolfpack Citizen Science Challenge

NC State is an urban campus. Yet tucked among all the brick, asphalt and concrete, we find patches of wild. These patches provide important habitat and refuge for city-dwelling species.

Surprisingly–despite the hundreds of people who pass by these wild places each day–no one has investigated what mammal species live there and how they use that habitat. We’ll use citizen science, an approach where the public and scientists partner to do real research, to help us uncover the mysteries of NC State’s wild spaces.

We want to know

What mammals use the forest patches scattered around the NC State campus?

In addition to helping us better understand the biodiversity on our own campus, you will be contributing to an ongoing study on how animals use the forest patches found in different types of environments, from urban to wild. Your participation in this project, led by Roland Kays, a wildlife biologist at NC State and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, will contribute data about animals using urban areas. Data collected at NC State will then be compared with data collected by other citizen scientists in less developed areas around the state.

Stay Connected

Sign up for the citsci-ncsu listserv to learn about campus citizen science activities. Share on social media using the hashtag #WolfpackCitSci.

If you have questions about the challenge, contact Karen Ciccone at nrl_library@ncsu.edu.