This kind of interdisciplinary project forges meaningful connections between academic departments that are mutually beneficial to each department’s students. It also creates the opportunity for Guilford students to learn more about the ecology and biology of a habitat that they live in cooperation and contact with — the Guilford College Woods.
Phase two of the project, planned for 2018, will include an additional creature to learn about — bats.
“Jim Hood built us two bat houses for the next phase,” Chafic says. “We will install the Raspberry Pis to capture video and monitor activity, as well as the internal temperature of the houses. It will give us an opportunity to learn together about the habits of these amazing, nocturnal mammals.”
English Professor Jim Hood has a deep appreciation for nature and for woodworking. His newly constructed bat houses have two side compartments that will contain Chafic’s students’ Raspberry Pis.
“I've really enjoyed using my woodworking skills to assist with the 'Internet of Things' project, as well as helping the field biology program further its longstanding bluebird nesting study,” he says. Jim regularly teaches a course called American Nature Writing and hopes that once there are bats living in the new bat houses, he can also take his students out to appreciate them.
Soon, Christine's students will begin analyzing the data from the Raspberry Pis. "Students in my Ornithology class will be monitoring the boxes when we get back from spring break to keep track of the nesting activity beginning right now in the woods," she says. "Once we get the bat houses up, and that may be as early as this spring, I'm expecting that a number of student research projects and biology theses should come from the data as well!"
Interested in other wildlife research that’s going on at Guilford College? Watch this video on Biology students’ research on rock hyraxes and sand cats at the North Carolina Zoo. Want to learn how Guilford College can help you find your niche in the academic and professional landscape? Schedule a visit!