October 22nd – 24th
The $250 fee covers the cost of the program and is paid during registration online. For further details about housing costs, which may be paid at any time up to arrival on-site, please visit our Conference Rates and Cancellation Policy page. These prices will also be listed on the registration.
About The Program
Spend a fabulous Fall weekend immersed in the art and science of wildlife tracking; engaging with the 1,400 acres of beautiful protected forests surrounding Rowe; discovering footprints and wildlife signs; and learning about nature! An experienced team of scientists, naturalists, and educators from the NWT will guide you into the lives of Rowe’s elusive forest neighbors. You’ll spend field time in woods where fisher, fox, and coyote roam; on rocky ridge habitats of bobcat and bear; and in wetlands that are home to mink, otter, and moose. You’ll learn basic track and sign identification, gait interpretation, ecological tracking, tools for teaching tracking to children and adults, and awareness exercises. Whether you’re a dedicated tracker or are inspired by nature, discover how rewarding and fun animal tracking can be.
The Northeast Wildlife Trackers are a group of enthusiasts who share a passion for collaborative exchanges on all aspects of wildlife tracking in the Northeastern United States. Our mission is to convene, network, motivate, and inspire wildlife trackers across the Northeast. Through our conference, we aim to develop long-term connections and strategies for inspiring wildlife habitat protection by bringing together a range of issues and experiences connected to wildlife.
Workshops as of 9/11 (additional workshops may be added)
Tracking Wolverines and Dreams: Building a cross-cultural multi-species research program between Mongolia and the US
Rebecca Watters, Executive Director of the Wolverine Foundation
Wolverines are one of the most iconic species of the north. They are also notoriously elusive. Tracking has played a key role in scientific research on the species over the past several decades in North America, but wolverines have been tracked for much longer by people who live in wolverine habitat around the world. This talk will encompass the state of wolverine research and conservation and the ways that tracking has bolstered that work, and will also discuss the way that tracking the species in Mongolia led to the development of a multi-species research project with the Mongolian Protected Areas Administration, highlighting the importance and potential of cross-cultural work for wildlife and conservation.
Trailing in Snow: The Opportunities!
In this presentation, we will consider opportunities that snow provides to trackers, of all skill levels, for trailing. Of course, there are many species whose habits are suddenly apparent, but there are also chances to learn about individual animals, ways of aging trails, and dramas that unfold before our eyes. Come, let’s consider some stories! Get ready for next season!
Who Do You Track?
Together we will engage in embodied tracking practices that enrich our connection to the animals we endeavor to know better. Through movement, play, imitation, and creative expression we will learn from and with each other in order to enrich our understanding of the animals whose tracks we discover.
Discovering Wildlife Sign Through Mindfulness
Learn helpful tools in the field to discover wildlife by practicing mindful exercises, including: stress reduction, utilizing our senses, being present, energy and nature connection. We often take our daily stressors into the field even if we don’t realize it. By practicing mindfulness, we become grounded, connected with ourselves and in turn connected with nature. These tools will enhance your skills as a wildlife tracker, photographer, naturalist, or nature lover.
GPS, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) & Aerial Photography for the Tracker
In this session Matt will discuss some of the best free and easy to use software options for the tracker. We will discuss the process of collecting GPS data, photographs, and notes. All you need is a cell phone. We will cover the options to download your data and integrate it with some of the massive amounts of environmental data available online. The goal is to create your own tracking maps so that the tracker can record, organize, and analyze their time in the field.
Mammal Skulls 101
In this hands-on workshop, we will begin with a discussion of skull anatomy and how that relates to animals’ natural history including their sensory adaptations and behavioral tendencies. Participants will then be guided in seeking out the identity of skulls using their newfound skull “tracking” skills. Multiple species of mammal skulls will be on hand as well as some reference materials. People are also encouraged to bring animal skulls from their own collections as well as skull ID books if they choose.
Porcupine Tracks and Sign
For porcupines, tracking in the strict sense is seldom possible without snow on the ground. But porcupines leave an abundance of sign in the form of feeding scars, scat, and urine that announce their presence in all seasons of the year.
Field Sessions as of 9/11 (additional sessions may be added)
GPS Field Session
Join Matt O’Mara in the field to collect your own GPS data and photographs. We will bring this data back inside, download it onto our laptops, and create our own custom maps and tracking journals. The goal of this session is to help the tracker take advantage of current technology to get more from your time in the field. If the Tracker knows where to look online they can avoid being overwhelmed and instead take advantage of the massive amounts of free data and analysis tools available online today. Creating your own digital tracking journal can give new insights into the information you collect and help you to store and analyze your forays into the woods.
Insects Field Session
Join Charley Eiseman, the author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates, for an exploration in search of galls, leaf mines, egg cases, cocoons, webs, nests, burrows, and other traces of six-legged, eight-legged, and no-legged wildlife! Be prepared to move slowly and study very small things–the less ground we cover, the more we will see!
Tracking and Naturalist Field Session
Join Jonathan Shapiro from Fox Paw School for a tracking and naturalist field session. We’ll start with some exercises to deepen our observation practice, then head out to pay attention to the lives of our wild neighbors and see what they’re up to. Along the way, we’ll let our curiosity be our guide, and may get distracted by any number of plants, trees, invertebrates, cloud forms, or other natural stories unfolding around us.
Porcupine Field Session
Join Uldis Roze in the field to look for porcupine sign. Tracking in the strict sense is seldom possible without snow on the ground. But porcupines leave an abundance of sign in the form of feeding scars, scat, and urine that announce their presence in all seasons of the year.
Meet the Presenters (Subject to change)
Rebecca Watters, Executive Director of the Wolverine Foundation (MT)
Rebecca Watters is a wildlife biologist and writer based in Bozeman, Montana. She is the executive director of the Wolverine Foundation. She spent two years in Mongolia doing environmental work as a Peace Corps volunteer and started the Mongolian Wolverine Project in 2009 to assess and monitor climate-sensitive mountain wildlife in Mongolia. The Mongolian Wolverine Project has expanded beyond wolverines and works with three large protected areas in northern Mongolia to monitor wildlife and to build conservation capacity. Tracking, camera trapping, and field naturalist skills all play important roles in this work.
Rebecca was raised in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, where she received a BA in anthropology, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she received a master’s degree in environmental science.
Amy Beal (ME)
Amy Beal mentors adults and children with compassion, curiosity and awareness. She leads White Pine Programs’ Wildlife Tracking and Nature Study program for adults and myriad youth nature connection programs. As a student of wildlife tracking for nearly two decades, she has crafted an approach to teaching tracking that centers around welcoming, honoring all voices, and remembering together the deep connections we have with the wildlife who inspire our work.
Kathy Dean (MA)
Kathy Dean has worked in the field of outdoor education since 1983 as a wilderness guide, rock climbing instructor and teacher of animal tracking, bird language and nature awareness. In addition to working with several nature education centers, she offers her own Women’s Wildlife Tracking Intensive, custom-tailored nature programs and wildlife surveys. Kathy is the author of Abbreviated Field Guide to Mammal Behavior: New England Region and currently holds a Cybertracker Level III Track and Sign Certification for the New England Region. She lives in a small hill town in western Massachusetts and is blissfully surrounded by woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife.
Charley Eiseman (MA)
Charley Eiseman is a freelance naturalist, conducting plant and wildlife surveys for various nonprofits, government agencies, and universities throughout New England. He co-taught an “Ecology Through Animal Tracking” course in various incarnations for over a decade and has more recently taught several insect-related courses through the Eagle Hill Institute and North Branch Nature Center. He holds an MS from the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Program and a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and Management from the University of Massachusetts. Charley is the author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), Leafminers of North America (self-published e-book, 2019), and an insect-themed blog called “BugTracks.” He has also published around 50 scientific papers on insect natural history, including the description of over 75 new species.
Nate Harvey (VT)
Nate works across North America and Europe to evaluate trackers for CyberTracker Conservation in both Trailing and Track & Sign Identification. Additionally, he teaches trailing in workshops and intensives near his home in Southern Vermont.
Matthew O’Mara (NH)
Matt is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, tracker, and hunter. He worked for 6 years in the mapping industry utilizing GIS (Geographic Information Systems), GPS, aerial photography, and CAD technology. Currently he is a Realtor who works primarily with investors and still uses his mapping skills to do research for both investors and home buyers.
Jackie Robidoux (NH)
Jackie has been observing and photographing wildlife for the past 20 years. She is a self-taught naturalist, Reiki practitioner, conservationist, and wildlife tracker enthusiast as well. Over the years she has been involved in the preservation and conservation of many of our native species through volunteer work with Audubon and the NH Fish and Non-Game department. She is a guest educator and volunteer for NH Audubon, Beaver Brook Association of NH, Millstone Wildlife Center and New Hampshire Technical Institute. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of nature connection, discovering wildlife, tracking, and the many experiences she encounters with the diverse wildlife of the Northeast.
Uldis Roze (NY)
Uldis’ academic background did not include mammalogy – he was trained in organic chemistry and biochemistry. In some contexts, this background has been an asset. He has shown that porcupine quills have antibiotic properties, and he has related this to the arboreal lifestyle of the North American porcupine (Roze, Locke, and Vatakis 1990). He has used gas chromatography of resin-trapped volatiles to chemically identify the warning odor of the North American porcupine (Li, Roze, and Locke 1997), and he has used gel electrophoresis to clarify the male-female differences in perineal gland secretions of the porcupine (Roze et al 2010).
By telemetering porcupines and following them in their Catskill mountain habitat through the four seasons, Uldis has learned their food choices and feeding techniques, their social
structure, their defense behavior, salt drive, parasites and mutualists, anatomy, reproduction and maternal care, and the topic of this meeting – tracking them in the forest. For porcupines, tracking in the strict sense is seldom possible without snow on the ground. But porcupines leave an abundance of sign in the form of feeding scars, scat, and urine
that announce their presence in all seasons of the year (Roze 2009).
Jonathan Shapiro (VT)
Jonathan lives in Vermont and spends his days tracking, making traditional crafts, hunting, canoeing, picking up roadkill, and listening to birdsong. He believes that an accurate understanding of and deep connection to our wild surroundings are necessary for all people to thrive. He runs the Fox Paw School, where he teaches adults about wildlife tracking, bird language, weather, plants, awareness, and nature connection.