Monday, September 26, 2011

First Tracking Intensive weekend 2011

Sept 24th-25th:
Great class this weekend. 1st Tracking Intensive class of the year. Students were challenged right from the start. Saturday morning involved classes on foot morphology and tracking principles. They took a shot at tracking and trailing and then reflected on their current skill set. Then the afternoon was spent studying tracks that had been laid out in stations by the teaching staff.

Sunday was a full on day of tracking in different substrates. The team set up a mock evaluation so that everyone would have a chance to test their extent of naturalist and tracking knowledge. Our first part of the day was spent a few miles from north bend near exit 38 on I-90. We found racoon, deer, elk, vole, deer-mouse sign.

Track of an elk which passed under Interstate 90.

Eli inspects the trail of a deer mouse under Interstate 90

Mallory facilitating a discussion around the identity of one of the sets of tracks we discovered.

Then we moved up the middle fork of the Snoqualmie river. Lots of exciting tracks, sign and stations. Students had 40 or so different questions to answer. A beautiful wild riparian habitat was a great setting for the day. There was a lot of great sign. Amongst others the species we came across were raccoon, river otter, great blue heron, stellars jay, jumping mouse, beaver, bear, bobcat and dog. There was a lot of excitement over finding a lot of bear track and sign and everyone had a chance to check out a great example of a bears overstep walk. There was also a lot of debate over a set of tracks that had aspects of cougar but was in fact a large domestic dog. Thanks to all who participated.

Tracks of a Stellar's jay on the banks of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.

Mallory looking on as several students decipher the tracks left by a beaver on the banks of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.


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