Tracking and Naturalist Skills
This is our listing of all our classes in this category, on the ones listed in the Current Classes Section are scheduled the rest are TBA.
The Winter Tracking class is open to all skill levels and students 16 and older. The day will be predominantly experience based, offering guided ‘dirt time’ in which students can push their skills in real tracking situations. Trailing and interpretation will be a major theme for the day as we take in depth looks into the lives of the animals living in Vermont’s forests. Expect to cover a lot of snow in any weather conditions and to spend the day in the forests and fields tracking. Snow shoes recommended if the snow is deep.
Bird Language and Behavior
Understanding birds, their behavior and their language is a key to understanding the natural world at large. The eyes and ears of the forest, birds can be constantly keying us in to deeper levels of knowing what is happening around us, the health of the ecosystems, and linking layers of the ecosystem together in exciting ways.
This course will be introducing ways to dive into bird identification, both by sight as well as sound. Much like tracking, birding and ornithology are largely based around knowing the questions to ask. How big? What shape? Where was it? Through a combination of classroom and field time we will work as a group to ask these questions and many more as well as how to find the answers in our resources. We will also explore the basics of bird language and behavior and how to identify what the bird is doing and what it means. Come explore birds as individuals, indicators and educators.
Expect to do a bird sit at dusk. This time of year that will mean an after dinner sit. People are welcome to camp at the school if they wish.
Guest Instructor Amasa Fiske-White
Wildlife Tracking and Nature Awareness
If you want to move through the forest and know which animals and birds are living there, what their lives are like, and read the stories of their experiences, and learn to follow and see them, then this class is for you! Tracking class will cover the basics of tracking such as clear print identification, gait studies and interpretation, sign tracking, cluster tracking, trailing and much more. We will spend time looking at compression tracks and trailing in order to learn to track in different substrates. As well as tracking we will discuss the importance of awareness and learn techniques of how to open our senses to the world around us and observe a greater depth in the world around us.
Human Tracking and Trailing
Come on out and build your trailing and interpretation skills! We will guide you through the process of learning to follow human trails through everything from gravel, to leaf debris, to grass to all of the in between.
In this course we learn to identify individuals and group sizes through their tracks, interpret gait for speed detection, and activity, as well as aging the sign. We will also look at how to approach and study rest areas and campsites, as well as learn to gain valuable information about the habits, gear, skill level, and health of the subject. We will then apply this understanding to trailing, the art of following a subject across the landscape. This will include how to follow sign through difficult terrain and substrates, team tracking in both threatening and non-threatening situations, track traps and cut tracking, and lost track drills. Expect direct lectures followed by application time in the field.
This class builds directly on the experience and information of our Tracking and Awareness Class. Tracking is much like learning to read. In the first class, we teach the alphabet and begin to look at how the words are put together. In this class we begin to turn the words into sentences by learning techniques and ancient understandings for seeing more in each track and sign we encounter. Advanced gait interpretation and basic pressure release studies, track aging, and compression tracking on increasingly difficult substrates will push students to new levels of tracking ability. The intensive tracking will be complimented by a wide range of awareness exercises allowing us to experience the natural world in new ways, from minute to majestic.