Shelter - Fall 1999.

People in Places: Human Use of The Evergreen State College Campus

This is Page 1 Go to Page 2 (survey times/update) Page 3 (survey sheet) Page 4 (input data sheet)

The Evergreen State College (TESC) Campus can be thought of as a landscape composed of patches of different habitat types, including buildings, areas of natural vegetation, pathways, areas for sitting, etc. This landscape is the product of design (in which ways?). One way to determine how a species like humans uses this landscape, is to measure where individuals are and what they are doing over a period of time. Areas that are used a great deal, more than would be predicted based on their size, are often considered preferred, whereas areas that are used less than would be predicted based on their size are avoided. With data on the location and behavior of species across the TESC landscape we can begin to ask questions such as: 1) What habitats are used mostly for resting, traveling or other behaviors? 2) What habitats are avoided or used for behaviors other than for which they were designed? and 3) Do habitat use patterns change with weather, human density, time (of day, week or month), or competition with other species?

During weeks 4 and 5 of fall quarter the shelter class will map how human and other species use TESC campus. Mapping consists of observing and recording the number and behaviors of humans and other vertebrates (dog, squirrel, bird, etc.) on predetermined areas of the campus called census areas. Students will work in teams of two or three. Depending on the density of people in your census area, one student should record data while the other observes and dictates what they see. Count the number of individuals and record their behavior. Ideally, you want to record an instantaneous snap-shot of individuals and their behaviors in your census area at your sampling time. In reality it will take a few minutes to do this. However, individuals that enter your census area after your sampling time must be ignored. Likewise you must do your best to record individuals on the census area even if they leave the census area before you get to the point of writing it on your data sheet. Expect to conduct approximately 18 censuses in each of week 4 and 5. Sampling times will be posted in class.

Data Codes

Describe all behaviors and record the sex of people in your census area using the codes below. Each person in your census plot should have at least two (the subject’s sex and what he or she is doing) and possibly more codes associated with them.

Sitting or lying = SI,

Standing (not moving) = ST,

For people staying in one spot (SI or ST) please record the following information. If the sun is shining, are they in the full sun (FS), shade SH, or partial sun (PS). If it is raining, are they under some structure that provides cover (CO), under an umbrella (UM), or getting wet (WE).

For people who are moving around in your census area, assign the most appropriate code.

Playing (moving for the purpose of a game such as frisbee, but no directed motion) = PL

Walking = WA,

Running or jogging = JO

Biking = BI

Skateboarding = SK

Other---please describe in words

For other activities that people may be doing in addition to being stationary or moving.

Eating = EA,

Smoking = SM

Talking = TA

Making music including singing = SI

Reading = RE

In addition to the codes above please record the sex of the people you observe. If not readily apparent, then mark UK

Female = FE

Male = MA

Unknown = `UK

Finally, if the person you observe is part of a group of 3 or more people interacting with each other (talking, playing, etc.), then illustrate the group by drawing a circle around all member of the group on your map. This will signify both the size of the group and its location. Of course in addition to the group designation, you must give each individual in the group the appropriate activity codes and record the sex of the subject.


If two women were walking in your census plot talking with one another, then you would record each of the two people as WTF, W for walking, T for talking and F for female. If one of them were eating in addition to talking, then the code for one would be WTFE. Importantly, you need to mark the location of these two individuals on your map and as close to their actual location as possible at the time the census was suppose to occur. This will require that you have maps of your census area and know how each piece of ground corresponds to your map. Practice will greatly improve your ability to record good data. Also, practice will result in finding the best spots to see your entire census area. For each person you observe put a mark on the map with the behavior codes next to it. Please also note the location of non-human vertebrates such as birds and mammals during your census. You can record their behavior using the exact same codes as you use for humans

Recording the weather

Because weather may affect human behavior (it does mine) you should record local weather conditions. For temperature you can use the data recorder in the CAL Lab or access this off the CAL web page. Describe wind according to these categories: calm (smoke rises vertically), light air (slight movement of smoke), light breeze (wind felt on face), gentle breeze (leaves move, flags flutter), moderate breeze (small branches move), fresh breeze (small deciduous trees move), and strong breeze (wind heard as rushing and whistling noises). Describe cloud cover according to these codes: overcast (no blue sky), partly sunny (broken clouds), very sunny (very few or no clouds). Finally, describe precipitation as heavy rain, light rain, very light rain, or drizzle (i.e. fog).


Additional Data

In addition to these formal observations, you should carry along your field notebook to record your observations of human behaviors that do not fit neatly into the behavior categories listed above. Use the "adopt a species" approach that we used at Satsop Wells, but apply it to human beings. We are looking for patterns of human use of the campus, and ideally, the cause of those patterns. Although our formal sampling protocol is coarse (putting complex behaviors into categories), this process will help us gather enough data to draw some conclusions. On the other hand, your observations about human use patterns that you document in your field notebooks could help us form better behavior categories and new hypotheses. You likely will need both your formal observations and your informal observation from your filed notebooks to interpret the data.

Mapping the Campus

Finally, we will be cover type mapping our census areas using a simple classification scheme. Cover types can be thought of as the predominant ground cover you would see if you were looking down upon your census area from a low flying plane. Each part of your census area should be typed into one of these categories: buildings (which are already mapped), brick, concrete, asphalt, gravel, grass (may have scattered trees in it), and forest. In most cases your census maps will have the borders around unique cover types (i.e. polygons). All you need to do is code the internal portion of the polygons on a map and where appropriate complete the polygons if they do not have a complete border. Please map your census area in week 4.

Back to: Home Page Major Assignments Go to: Next Page for this Assignment