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 in the Spring and Fall. 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 $275 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 Rasberry Pi sensorgnome (Funcube Dongles not included) for an additional $225.
What to expect once 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. Ligonier, about 8 miles away, is the nearest 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 days can start with considerably cold mornings)
Blankets/Sleeping bag/Towels **the cabins do not come with linens
Boots and rain gear. Come prepared for the weather and walking/working outside.
Notebook and pen/pencil
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motus Workshop FAQ's
1. How do I sign up for a workshop?
After purchasing a ticket, Jonathan Rice will email you to confirm your attendance to the workshop.
2. What is the cost for the workshops?
The cost is $275 per person. An additional $225 is required for participants who would like to build their own raspberry pi sensorgnome (funcube dongles not included) that they can take with them after the workshop.
3. What does the cost of the workshop include?
The cost includes: 2 days of instruction on the assemblage and use of Motus technology. Lodging on site at Powdermill. Meals include: dinner Friday and Saturday lunch and dinner. Powdermill cabins will be stocked with limited breakfast food (granola bars, fruit, and coffee) before the workshop begins. Other breakfast food will have to be supplied by the workshopper.
4. Where will I be staying?
Lodging is in a house or cabin on Powdermill property. Participants may be required to share bedrooms with one another, but there will be individual beds for everyone. Participants will need to bring linens. Facilities include a common living area and a kitchen.
5. How is registration decided and confirmed?
Space is limited; therefore priority will be given to those who sign up first.
6. When is payment due?
Payment is due when you purchase your ticket.
7. Can I be refunded?
If you are not able to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, we will refund your money in full if we are able to find another participant to take your place. In the event that we cannot find a replacement, we will refund half of your payment under reasonable extenuating circumstances.
8. Is there a waiting list?
Yes. If tickets for the workshop are sold out, email Jonathan Rice at email@example.com to be put on a waiting list. Folks on our waiting list are given advanced notice of the next workshop and first access to ticket sales.
9. Who are the instructors?
Lucas DeGroote, Avian Reseach Coordinator, Powdermill Avian Research Center
Jonathan Rice, Urban Bird Conservation Coordinator, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Todd Alleger, Agroecology Project Coordinator, Willistown Conservation Trust
Alison Fetterman, Bird Conservation Associate, Willistown Conservation Trust
10. What about internet access?
There is wireless internet in the lodging and at the Avian Research Center.
11. How about cell phones?
There is very little cell phone reception on the reserve, but you can connect by driving a short distance (~1 mile) away. The phones in the cabins make local calls only; you may want to bring a calling card if you wish to use the cabin phone for calls out of the area.
12. Can I bring a guest?
No, sorry. Space is very limited and thus only parties interested in utilizing Motus technology are expected to attend the workshop.