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  • Writer's pictureMatt

Naturewatch Garden Cam

green plastic weatherproof case for raspberry pi, camera and battery used to make a garden camera trap
Weatherproof garden cam case

One of Margate's Tech Clubs was given a 'garden' theme and we built some battery-powered garden cameras that would monitor the garden and record videos or take pictures when triggered by movement. This was great for capturing footage of the wildlife in the garden without scaring them away with human presence.

My Naturewatch was a research project funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) who fund lots of research projects. This one was carried out by Northumbria University and Royal College of Arts who worked with BBC's Springwatch team to develop the "My Naturewatch Camera".

There are many online tutorials that explain how to make this type of system. My Naturewatch stands out because it is so well documented and communicated making this self-build project so very accessible. I particularly recommend Maddie Moates' youtube video How To Make a Wildlife Camera which is great for kids.

I won't reproduce the full instructions for this project but I will give an overview with the key points that any reasonably able Geek could follow to successfully get this project done.

Step 1: Get a Raspberry Pi with a camera attached.

Step 2: Write the NatureWatchCameraServer image to the RPi's SDCard

Step 3: Put it in a weatherproof box and power it with a USB power bank

Step 4: Connect a phone/laptop to the RPi's wifi with SSID MyNaturewatch-xxxxxxx. Password: badgersandfoxes

Step 6: Open a browser and go to camera.local or when that doesn't work its IP address which should be

From there you can command the garden camera to capture video or stills, review the gallery and download the videos and images to your device.

It's a real delight to get such an intimate insight into the wildlife of your garden and building the project with children makes it so much fun.

Margate's Tech Club is a free drop-in session for kids where our community of evangelist geeks share our joy of technology. We all feel a responsibility, a duty, to share our skills and knowledge with anyone especially children.

Tech Club is hosted by The Margate School who opened a community garden behind the old Woolworth's building on the High Street. It seemed right to run a tech activity in the new garden for the subsequent Tech Club.

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