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Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
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Surveying Deer Populations

Posted on October 5, 2012 by Maryann Valois

On the first day of school, Mr. Tweed, head program director and 11-12 grade advisor, gave the Wildlands students an idea. What if we headed out to Camp Philips to do a Deer Population study? Many of us were interested, so we signed up and got started.

First thing we needed to do was discuss the plan. We had a meeting and decided that the first two weeks would be preparation, the next two weeks we would set out bait piles just to get the deer used to going there for food, and lastly we would bait the sites and set the cameras.

The first step of preparation was figuring out how to use the Cudde-Back trail cameras. We got together in groups of two and explored the different features of the Cudde-Backs. We went out to the woods behind the school and hung our cameras on trees, then tested the motion sensor by walking past so it could take a picture. After that was done we made sure we had new batteries to last the two weeks, and new memory cards.

A few days later, Mr. Tweed approached us with bad news. We would not be able to survey Camp Philips because of Chronic Waste Disease. This is a bacterial infection of the spine that attacks deer through saliva. Currently at Camp Philips, it is illegal to set out bait piles of corn since they may spread the disease. So we went to plan B.

Plan B was to survey the Henke farm 5 miles down the road from Beaver Creek Reserve. That didn't work, so now we're on plan C, which is to bait two different places, one being Beaver Creek Reserve and the other being the land around Swamp Road. We have gone onto DNR Garmin, our GPS computer program, to make a map with our BCR sites. So far we have split up into groups and set out flags. Next we will be going to Swamp Road to do the same.

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In the winter of 2011, Wildlands Charter School students began producing news stories for our website and an electronic email newsletter.

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