DENVER URBAN COYOTE PROJECT
The Denver area of Colorado has seen a steady increase in the activity of coyotes over the last 30 years. A 2010-2014 study led by USDA National Wildlife Research Center scientist Dr. Stewart Breck showed that coyotes adapted to survive in urban environments by learning the schedules, traffic conditions and other behaviors of people and adjusting their activity to live alongside – yet avoid – their bipedal neighbors. But why has coyote activity risen recently, and what factors of coyote behavior and biology indicate how successful they will be in urban living?
These questions and more are currently being investigated by Dr. Chris Schell, an evolutionary biologist, behavioral endocrinologist, and urban ecologist. He is working on a three-year study focusing on the behavioral, hormonal and genetic factors that determine coyote success in cities. His work includes GPS collaring, and DNA sampling and comparison.
UCI has partnered with the Denver Urban Coyote Project, the home of Dr. Schell and Dr. Breck’s research. We are telling the visual story of Denver’s intrepid urban coyotes, the research that is uncovering the genetic and behavioral secrets to their success, and the story of the scientists themselves.
The photographs and videos we create will be used by the Denver Urban Coyote Project to connect with the community, expand the reach of the project, and visually explore the many facets to urban coyote ecology, scientific research, practical application of findings, and of course to engage the public in learning more about the wildlife living in their own backyards.
In our efforts to assist the Denver Urban Coyote Project, we are working on several creative visual communication strategies. Our goals and needs include:
- Consultation and assistance with social media outreach strategies for DUCP to drive engagement in citizen science, such as reporting urban coyote sightings on twitter and iNaturalist
- Funding for the design and creation of a “gallery in a box” media kit for classrooms about urban wildlife an ecology, which will be distributed to local schools
- Funding for the design and creation of a community action tool kit that can be distributed to neighborhoods to educate and empower residents around urban wildlife coexistence
- Visual strategies for increasing engagement in low income and underrepresented communities