December 17, 2013
Early in December, braving crisp, cold sub 30° C temperatures, Fiera personell again had the pleasure of leading a workshop that serves as the prerequisite for consultants who collect winter tracking data for the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute.
Trudging through knee-deep snow, we covered a lot of ground, and along the way, we saw a good range of tracks on which to practice our deductive skills, including; porcupine, bison, moose, elk, deer, weasel, fisher, snowshoe hare, coyote, and red squirrel. Everyone survived with all of their fingers and toes, and no one looked uncomfortably cold.
We covered a lot of ground figuratively too, with over 400 slides, 12 hours of classroom time, and a final exam. Consultants come to the workshop with varying levels of skill and experience, so the purpose of providing the workshop is to bring everyone up to a minimum level of understanding of the protocol, and to provide a base skill level of track ID skills.
The final exam was tricky and participants had to apply what they learned without the guide of their instructors. The exam also serves to identify individuals who may require a few more hours training before heading out on their own to collect important data.
With all the snow that we have had already this season, you can bet that there is a heard of well-trained consultants chomping at the bit to get outside and start tracking. From Lake Athabasca to Waterton National Park, and from Jasper to Lloydminster, we have the province covered.