Schools Camera Trapping Project

Our successful project showed that camera traps are a great way of engaging children with nature.

NatureScot has further expanded an innovative camera trapping project – originally developed in north-east Scotland – over a number of years. The results have been excellent. They show that this technology can really inspire young people to engage with local wildlife and has huge potential for a variety of learning opportunities. It is also a very effective way of encouraging outdoor learning.

Engaging children with nature

Camera traps are a great way to encourage children to get outdoors, as they combine technology with children’s innate sense of curiosity about the world. They also show that wildlife is not confined to the countryside but can be found in even the busiest urban areas. Inspiring children can also be a very effective way of encouraging adults to value nature.

Aims of the project

The inspiration for the project was the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity.

The aims are to encourage innovation in nature education, engage children with nature, encourage outdoor learning and create a lasting legacy.

Developing the project

We worked with the originator of the pilot project, Rose Toney, North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership Coordinator, to deliver the 2017 project. We then approached rangers, nature reserve staff and others working in environmental education. Each of those approached picked a local school that they would be able to support 'on the ground'. The most recent round of the camera trap project worked with schools involved in the Learning in Local Greenspace project.

Camera trapping in action

Schools taking part were lent a camera trap kit and asked to submit a video compiled from their best footage. The winning schools were each awarded a new camera trap kit.

Pupils had to be involved at all stages of planning, recording and preparing the videos. Most were narrated by the children, explaining what they had discovered about their local wildlife. Each school were encouraged to submit its findings to its local records centre. This also helps to engage children in protecting wildlife and provides more learning opportunities through data gathering.

The results

The judging panel was amazed by the standard of submissions. The judges were also delighted by how schools had embraced the project. They could see how schools had used it as a springboard for further learning activities and to support their delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Watch some of the winning videos.

The most recent films were submitted shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic and we have developed these submissions into a suite of resources that we hope other teachers will find inspiring to see. We invited the teachers to talk about their experience of the camera trap project and what learning opportunities can be developed by using this technology:

You can view the full Schools Trapping video playlist.

Scottish Primary Schools Camera Trap Competition 2020
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NatureScot Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska takes a look at the six fantastic schools' entries for this year.

Next steps

The project is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Sharon Cunningham
Email: [email protected]

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