Winter at Quarrybrook Experiential Education Center can be a lonely time! The snowy days mean fewer students come here for field classes, and the building settles into a quiet routine that starts to make us feel like we are all alone out here. But – a quick check of our game cameras last week showed us that winter is anything but lonely out in the woods!
With 245 acres of space to roam, hunt, play, and sleep, Quarrybrook is home to a wide variety of animal families. In the warmer months we see animal activity everywhere we go: chipmunks run in the stone walls; squirrels watch field classes from their trees; and early in the morning we are frequently visited by deer, turkey, and the neighbor’s cat (especially since we added some bird-feeders)! But in the winter, most of the animals we are used to seeing are either hibernating or have moved deeper into the woods, where they feel less exposed among the leafless trees. But that doesn’t mean they have left completely, and it turns out
Over the past few weeks, we have caught images and videos of the animals who remain active all winter as they go about their daily – and nightly- routines. We have a happy family of fat raccoons who love to investigate the cameras after a quick scavenge around the stream. Throughout the winter, raccoons are awake and alert, coming out at night to look for food, to play in the snow, and to see what everyone else is doing. Our raccoons need to be vigilant, however, because they share their evenings with coyotes, a fisher, and a bobcat! So far, everyone seems to be taking turns at the stream and onour trails throughout the evening and nighttime.
Each snow fall presents a new world for the animals to explore; each time the snow melts it reveals more than enough food and water to keep everyone happy and healthy. Our game cameras are an unobtrusive way in which we can look in on what the animals are doing during the winter. Each time we collect the images, they give us a ton of new information – and always a few good laughs!
Check out some of the images we have captured in the recent months so you can see for yourself how busy this place really is during the winter, even when we don’t know it!