The Motus Wildlife Tracking System has revolutionized how we record animal movements in nature. An international network of radio telemetry towers can now detect small nanotags attached to birds, bats, insects, etc, that are on the move near these receivers. This emerging technology has opened up new avenues for research in areas of animal behavior and habitat use across multiple seasons.
Powdermill Avian Research Center and Willistown Conservation Trust are hosting workshops focusing on Motus technology one or two times annually during the migration seasons. Workshops are held in the beautiful mountains of Western Pennsylvania near Rector at the Powdermill Nature Reserve, the field station of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
The Motus Workshop is designed for those with little or no experience utilizing nanotags and the Motus Wildlife Network. Participants will gain hands on experience building a sensorgnome, setting up a Motus station, and attaching nanotags to live birds (for participants sub-permitted to band birds). Presentations will focus on equipment, project planning, and examples of how the network has been used for research.
Workshop registration is $500 and includes meals Friday evening through Sunday morning and shared housing in modest cabins on property (bring your own linens). If you wish to stay elsewhere, standard accommodations are available at several nearby hotels for approximately $100 per night. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation. Participants can build and take home their own CTT Sensorstation with instructions on how to utilize it as a hybrid station (Funcube Dongles not included) for an additional $800 ($1300 total).
The next Motus Workshop will be held September 11-13, 2020.
What to expect if you are registered
We will send reading materials in advance of the workshop start date, including papers related to Motus technology, a tentative itinerary, menu, and map. Workshop activities will begin Friday evening at 5:00 pm with an opening talk outlining what to expect during the workshop. Saturday activities will begin at the Powdermill Avian Research Center (PARC) just after sunrise and continue into the evening. On Sunday, workshoppers will again head to PARC at sunrise; sessions will continue into the afternoon when workshoppers are free to leave as their schedule requires.
About the area
Powdermill Nature Reserve is somewhat remote and sits in the valley between two ridges with a lot of surrounding state park and forest lands (i.e., lots of opportunities for hiking, exploring, etc.). If you wish to extend your stay before or after the workshop, places worth visiting include Linn Run State Park (4 mi), Forbes State Forest (5 mi), Laurel Summit State Park (10 mi), Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (25 mi), and Ohiopyle/Ohiopyle State Park (30 mi). Barb’s Country store in Rector (3 mi) is the closest place for a few essentials or delicious deli sandwich. Ligonier, about 8 miles away, is the closest town and has plenty of shopping, restaurants, and a grocery store. A short drive farther west on Route 30 (~15 minutes) will take you to Latrobe, the closest city with large shopping centers and medical facilities.
What to pack
- Layers (warm/hot days can start with considerably cold mornings)
- Sleeping bag or sheets, pillowcase, blankets, towels and washcloths (the cabins do not come with linens)
- Soap and personal items
- Boots and rain gear – come prepared for the weather and walking/working outside
- Notebook and pen/pencil
- Water bottle
- Drinking water (OPTIONAL – tap water is tested and good to drink, but smells a bit metallic)
Still have questions?
Please read through the FAQs below. If you can’t find your answer there, please email our Workshop Coordinator, Jonathan Rice at email@example.com.