Wildlife Tracks & Traces

Walking Workshop

Event Summary
Date: April 10, 2021
Location: Cooking Lake Blackfoot Recreation Area, east of Edmonton
Instructor: Joseph Litke
Maximum Participants: 8
Registration: Here

A socially distanced, fully outdoor, immersive experience – show up, get tracking

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Instructor: Joseph Litke

This 1-day Wildlife Tracks & Traces Walking Workshop is a full day of hiking and learning to identify and interpret the tracks and other signs that wildlife leave behind as they go about their business.

Winter or summer, spring or fall, animals leave evidence of their nature and their day to day lives in the tracks and other traces that they leave behind. With practice and training, all of us can identify species by their tracks, general trail patterns, scats and other traces that they leave behind. The pages and pictures in your favourite field guides are a wealth of information, but nothing compares to the time spent in the field with a knowledgeable teacher. Spend the day with a small group of like-minded nature-curious individuals on a daylong hike at a local wilderness park or natural area. When we see something interesting, we will stop, watch, investigate, and learn together. Learn the key questions to ask while viewing wildlife or encountering wildlife tracks and sign. Nature will set the syllabus, and learning will only be limited by the endurance of our curiosity (and the available daylight). This workshop can be conducted at any time of year, though the focus and curriculum may change from season to season.

Wildlife Tracks & Traces, snow track identification course, snow tracks, winter tracking, track id, grouse, ptarmigan,
Grouse Tracks in Snow

Duration: 1-day (~6 to 8 hours of field based learning)

Prerequisites: None. Tracks & Traces Walking Workshops are meant to be welcoming to the beginner tracker. Participants should be fit enough to spend a whole day hiking, and be comfortable in rugged terrain and isolated outdoor conditions.

**Note: at this time, participants must be adults of 18 years or older on the date of the event**

Preparation: This workshop will be comprised of a long day outside in a wilderness setting, and may be scheduled for any time of year. Come prepared with appropriate footwear for the conditions, and clothes for all manner of weather. Bouts of inactivity during instruction are likely to occur, as well as long bouts of hiking. The further we hike, the more opportunities we will have to see and learn. Snowshoes may be required on some days, and rubber boots on others. Come prepared.

Edmonton workshops: When offered in the Edmonton region, field portions of this course are often held at Elk Island National Park, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, or at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park (to be confirmed on a course by course basis).

Fees for scheduled Wildlife Tracks & Traces Walking Workshop: $100 per participant.

Custom workshops: Custom, on-location Wildlife Tracks & Traces Workshops are available by request at any time of year. Help selecting a suitable location in your area is appreciated. This offering is perfect for outdoor clubs, and nature groups. Learn more.

Outcomes: by the end of this course, participants will:

  • have an introductory understanding of how deductive reasoning is used to help identify tracks
  • be aware of some of the pitfalls inherent from learning only from field-guides
  • have an introductory understanding of how trackers assess the age of tracks and other wildlife traces
  • have exposure to a variety of wildlife tracks, track patterns, and gaits, foraging sign and scats
  • have reviewed basic track morphology for different groups of animals
  • have experienced identification of ungulate scats
  • have learned techniques for documenting tracks, including taking measurements, and photographs
  • understand the importance of broader ecological knowledge and awareness of habitat, season, time of day, and the environment in wildlife tracking and continued improvement
  • be aware of the influence of substrate on track appearance

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