LATO Wildlife Camera Project

About the Wildlife Camera Project

The LATO Wildlife Camera Project (WCP) provides a window on animal activities in local oak woodlands. Though we sometimes see birds, even a bald eagle, most of the images are of mammals going about their lives, often at night, in search of food, water, a mate or a place to shelter. The project began at the Santa Margarita Ranch LATO Trail in 2011 as a Cal Poly Senior Project for Christina McAdams, 2012 B.S. Environmental Management and Protection. Christina worked with advisor Cal Poly Biological Sciences Professor John Perrine, PhD, to develop the project with these goals in mind:

  1. Stimulate public interest in learning about local wildlife and habitat conservation issues
  2. Help our community better understand how to live in harmony with our wild neighbors
  3. Help students understand how scientists use wildlife cameras as an investigative tool
  4. Give students the opportunity to work with and learn from university field biology students managing and interpreting WCP data

Over the past ten + years, the WCP has expanded to include oak woodland sites throughout San Luis Obispo County and is powered by teams of dedicated, trained volunteers. We’re indebted to these volunteers as well as WCP technical advisors and supporters. Professor John Perrine is key among these, as well as recently added tech advisor Cindy Roessler and longtime volunteer Lydia Lawson and her son Chris Lawson, a Santa Margarita Elementary School Oak Ambassador alumnus.

We’re grateful to Santa Margarita Ranch co-owners Karl Wittstrom, Doug Filipponi and Rob Rossi for opening the door for us to establish the WCP at Santa Margarita Ranch. In addition to Santa Margarita Ranch, we now have cameras deployed at Santa Rita Ranch, the Vineyard Elementary School Nature Trail and the Pismo Preserve. We would also like to thank longtime WCP volunteers Sue and Greig Cummings as well as Julie Wales for many years of service before their retirement in 2022.