At Felidae we believe in the importance of helping to instill in young people an appreciation for the natural world and the importance of taking steps now to protect it for future generations. The Bay Area Puma Project includes a set of educational programs to inform our communities about pumas and local ecosystems, and the core of this work is a set of environmental education programs for middle schools and high schools throughout the Bay Area called CAT Aware.
Our innovative programs teach students about:
The balance and healthy functioning of natural habitats
The central role of pumas in the local ecology
The effects of human expansion on these ecosystems
The larger environmental issues that these trends raise
The program focuses on the charismatic puma as keystone species, in order to convey both the richness of the natural world and the growing damage being done to it by human activities, and to make a powerful impression about the need to preserve habitats and foster healthy co-existence between humans and wildlife. The program also discusses bobcat ecology and the role of the bobcat as a meso-predator in the ecosystem.
The CAT Aware Education Program
INTRODUCTORY PRESENTATION: A live presentation by Felidae's Education Program Manager and Education Teaching Associates using slides, photos, video and personal stories to provide an engaging introduction to the biology, ecology, research and human impact on our region's keystone predator.
SCIENCE LAB: A hands-on science lab focusing on predator-prey interactions and the effects of human encroachment on the natural balance; there will also be a separate online version of this lab that runs as a predator-prey population simulator.
FIELD TRIP: An optional field trip to puma habitat to experience real wildlife science with biologists studying wild pumas, including seeing signs of pumas in the forest (tracks, scratches, scat) and tracking actual pumas in the study with radio telemetry.
INTERACTIVE WEBSITE: A project website for the Bay Area Puma Project that provides interactive tracking maps, community discussion forums, researcher blogs, photos and videos of study cats, etc. View the website at www.bapp.org.
IMMERSIVE 3D GAME: An online and mobile game called Puma Wild that allows the player to become a puma and experience first hand how human development makes it more difficult to survive. A beta version of the game will be available in 2017.
REMOTE CAMERAS: Schools have the opportunity to engage students directly in citizen science by having them help with maintaining a remote camera station in a natural area close to their school.
To learn more about bringing CAT Aware to your school email firstname.lastname@example.org
Create A Puma Safety Video
Staying safe in puma territory can be fun as well as informative. If your class might be interested in creating a video like the one below, contact us to find out about what kind of help we might be able to offer, such as scripts, puma suits, site selection, etc.