Winecup. Photo courtesy of Neal Johnson.

Collaborative Observitories for Natural Environments (CONE)


If you are unable to visit the Welder Refuge in person we welcome you to view some of the Refuge wildlife that wandered through our CONE site from 2008-2011. An acronym for Collaborative Observatories for Natural Environments, CONE was a project centered on a telerobotic camera located on the Welder Wildlife Refuge that was the basis for a citizen science project and a networked telerobotic observatory game. 

Researchers learned that subtropical species of birds such as the green jay, great kiskadee, and white-tipped dove are now being observed further north than their historical range; however, the reasons for such expansions are currently unknown. The goal of this project was to use the CONE observatory to help determine if such sightings are: 1) representative of rapid and recent changes in breeding range, or 2) the result of normal bird vagrancy and dispersal.

The CONE site included a telerobotic camera that viewers could operate online, as well as a variety of wildlife feeding and watering stations and a native plant garden, all of which could be viewed through the CONE website. Although the project is completed you can still view images of the Refuge's spectacular wildlife that wandered through the CONE site near the Headquarters. 

This project was made possible through collaborative efforts between the following:

Welder Wildlife Foundation

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Texas A&M

UC Berkeley

National Science Foundation