Winter Tracking Specialty
WFB / FOR 185 – Winter Tracking Specialty
Credits: 2 Instructor : Michael Kessler Meeting dates and times: Course meets 4 consecutive days during the Winter Session from 9:00am -12:00 and 1:00-5:00pm. Please see the Schedule of Courses for exact dates. Location: UVM Jericho Research Forest, 127 Tarbox Road, Jericho, Vermont 05465
This course is both unique and complimentary to the other tracking courses (013, 014, 015) in that it affords the student a rare opportunity to
‘walk with the animal’
(fisher and/or fox) over several consecutive days to enter its world, see through its eyes, experience a portion of its winter journey and become expert at identifying its tracks. The odyssey of winter survival for these predators will be touched through reflection, journaling, and blogging their 4-day biography as a class. During this process, students will also learn about themselves and their relationship to the beauty and stillness of the winter landscape. In addition to basic tracking and trailing, advanced winter tracking techniques are introduced including the analysis of snowflake and ice formations to age tracks with confidence. While the other tracking courses aim to connect the student with the earth that holds all the tracks, this course aims to connect the student
with the animal, itself
. Afterward, students may want to take the other courses in order to be able to repeat this experience on their own under any conditions. (2 credit hours)
1. To journey with a fisher and/or fox through their tracks until their experiences upon the landscape are sensed and internalized by the students, themselves. 2. To discover evidence of the fisher’s and/or fox’s movements through the tracks of other animals in the forest. 3. To be able to ‘think like’ the fox and/or the fisher to predict where they have been or will be and then track to confirm. 4. To carry a more holistic sense of the flow of life, the interaction of the elements, and the flow of time within the winter landscape.
1. Intimate familiarity with the tracks, gait patterns, behavior and temperament of fisher and/or fox. 2. Identify and follow trails to observe the animal’s scenting, interactions, and hunting. 3. Understanding how tracks originate, and age, in snow including reading tracks and trails covered by snow.