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Wholesome Story Alert: Elementary Students Learn About Wildlife via Trail Cams

We’ve discovered the most wholesome montage ever—footage of baby animals and other highlights from an elementary school’s network of trail cameras in the Washington wilderness. Students at Beaver Valley Elementary School in Leavenworth, Washington get to monitor the trail cameras placed around the central Cascade Mountains throughout each school year as part of an ongoing project.

This year’s highlight reel features clips of everything from bunnies to bears, mountain lions to skunks, and minks to mule deer. Jeff Layton, the project lead, told local news that the cameras are all within 20 minutes of the school. For the past three years, Layton told The Leavenworth Echo that he and the students have used trial and error to figure out the best places, heights, and angles for the cameras.

Each month, Layton looks through the clips and brings the highlights into the classroom. Together, he and the kids talk about what they caught on camera, the animals’ behavior, and what has changed since last month (and how these changes affect the animals’ behavior).

Watch the Beaver Valley Elementary students’ trail-cam highlights from the 2023-2024 school year:

Imagine the kids’ excitement when they saw mountain lions and bears on the trail cameras. (The moment the black bear inspects the camera must have been a real crowd pleaser!) Layton hopes the project encourages kids to care about the wildlife in their school’s backyard.


Best Trail Cameras to Watch Wildlife

Learn more about the best trail cams here.

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“Watching their engagement, and their knowledge, and their understanding of what’s around them has been really gratifying,” Layton told The Leavenworth Echo.

To donate to the project, contact the Beaver Valley Parent Group at [email protected].

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