This course serves as an Inspiration and Introduction to Wildlife Tracking.
Learn to see the bent twig, pushed down grass and know that an animal passed here. How long ago? What animal? This course introduces you to the clear tracks in mud and sand to prepare you for further study in the mystery and excitement of Animal tracking. We will explore areas in low lying forest and riparian areas.
The location for the course will be on the Washington side of the gorge.
Participants need to be prepared for walking and being in the field for the class time. Please bring a bag lunch.
Either of these classes will prepare students for further study in our other Tracking Courses.
The Intro class is appropriate for participants 16 years old and older.
This course serves to give the nature enthusiast more depth of information and skills to find the elusive animals they want to photograph and study. We will look at tracks on the ground with more depth and explore animal signs all around us in nature, giving you the knowledge and tools to answer questions about animal behavior. Why were they here? What were they doing? What is the story on the ground? This course will ignite a new understanding of animals in their environment and the connections we all have to nature, our interconnectedness with all things.
Focus of the class
Perspective: Seeing any landscape from 3 viewpoints: flying, standing and kneeling. Being able to evaluate an area from multiple perspectives helps a tracker to understand the ecosystem with a deeper awareness.
Tracking: Track and foot morphology – we will focus on animal families, species lists, track design and morphology.
Gaits: We will focus on gaits and baseline movements of animals and how movement relates to animal behavior.
Skulls: Animal skulls provide wonderful information about animal behavior. We will spend part of a day looking at different skulls and appreciating how each species’ adaptations influence how they use their habitat.
For those interested in taking home a memory we will help students make track casts of a clear track during the program.
As a special treat this course includes an overnight and tracking adventure at a property in Washougal that has been uninhabited by humans for generations. The overnight will include 2 catered meals by a chef who creates lovely meals using locally sourced ingredients. More information available with registration.
The Intro class is appropriate for participants 18 years old and older
A field based summer series of tracking classes designed to be a continuation of last years series, or for trackers who wish to take their tracking skills into practical applications. Using the skills of finding and interpreting animal sign, this series will explore additional skills that are needed for guiding, being a citizen scientist, using remote cameras, doing wildlife surveys and being a coexistence counselor with Animal Arbitrators.
In the process of our field work we will continue using the skills of the tracker:
• Clear and blurry track identification along with foot morphology
• Gaits and Track patterns
• Feeding behavior and associated sign
• Communication behavior and sign
• Shelters, beds, nests, and temporary lays
• Trailing humans and animals
• Navigation and personal safety issues
In addition we will cover:
Making an adventure fun and interesting
Addressing the needs of individuals
Putting together a cohesive trip
Psychology for successful mentoring
Documentation of sign, including written, drawing, photography, and measuring
Collecting multiple sign and securing data
Confirmation of conclusions in field guides and in I-Naturalist online
Determining where to set a camera
Security of your gear
Where to share and how to keep wildlife safe
How to defuse irrational fears
Explaining Trophic Cascade
Practical coexistence strategies
Each class will take place in the field, mostly in the southern Gifford Pinchot National Forest. If the participants have mountain bikes, we will cover more ground by bike. If not, we will drive to remote active areas and access the habitat on foot. Using a kayak to access habitat is also possible if the students have the gear.
Vehicle that can navigate back country roads
Field guides (a list of approved field guides will be provided)
A notebook (one will be provided)
Personal clothing that will keep you comfortable in all manifestations of PNW weather
A day pack
A walking stick
A mountain bike
Cameras and a trail camera
Close focus binoculars
Six classes will be conducted mostly in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest,
and in some areas around the Columbia River. Classes will typically be
from mid-morning until late afternoon. Students will need their own
transportation, a packed lunch and field gear for each class. Boots and long
pants are needed for every class, regardless of the weather. Students with
special needs, limitations or concerns can contact the instructor team for
consultation ahead of the program. This is a class for adults, however,
certain exceptions can be made for exceptional young people at the
discretion of the director and instructors.
Down payment of $100.00 will hold your place until May 15th, when the
balance is due.
The program will be limited to 10 students and must have 8 students signed up to
Instructors are Cybertracker certified and guest instructors are a possibility for some
There will be no refunds for missed classes.