California Wolf Center Takes Wolves Into Classrooms During National Awareness Week
To celebrate National Wolf Awareness Week, the California Wolf Center, located in rural San Diego County, approximately four miles from Julian, is bringing its wolves to classrooms throughout the world.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds HPWREN, an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional University of California, San Diego, research and education program in order to assess the feasibility of wireless data networking technologies. Its connectivity is now used for a variety of activities at the California Wolf Center ranging from motion sensing cameras and real-time acoustics sensors to live presentations from the hard-to-reach facility to metropolitan university classrooms.
Erin Hunt, caretaker of the 35 wolves living onsite, explains that the HPWREN connectivity assists the Wolf Center in achieving its overall goals, such as carrying out research related to wolf vocalization, feeding behavior and natural pack interaction. "Anyone who has access to the Internet can view our wolves in real-time while they are exhibiting their natural behaviors and that's a great education tool," she says.
Cameras and microphones networked through HPWREN are used to study behavior and vocalization of wolves, how they interact with one another, and how best to manage them. Specifically, the real-time monitoring equipment includes two antennae for the wireless access point. These antennae support mobile stations that allow researchers and students to make live presentations from the Wolf Center to remote locations such as university classrooms.
A megapixel camera, installed in January 2004, helps to provide additional monitoring capability and is accessible via the California Wolf Center's Web site, http://www.californiawolfcenter.org/. The setup also encompasses an Ethernet hub, which is connected by underground fiber to the HPWREN radio/ The hub connects the camera and serves as an access point for Live Interactive Virtual Explorations (LIVE) activities, which allow for real-time "tours" of the Wolf Center from anywhere in the world.
Throughout its 30-year history, the Center traditionally has focused its attention on education, conservation and research, according to center director Kim Miller. This project is an example of applying technology in a new way to enhance the education component . For more information visit, http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/news/20071016/.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.
Useful NSF Web Sites: