Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wildlife Tracking Workshop this Weekend

Title: Tracking – Another Tool for the Naturalist – Identifying & Interpreting Animal Tracks

Date: November 27, 2010 Time: 10 : 00 AM - 5 : 00 PM

Location: rare Administration Centre, 1679 Blair Road City: Cambridge ...

Contact Info Contact Name: Brenda Pearce Email:

Phone: 519-650-9336 ext.125

Join Alexis Burnett, a Naturalist, Tracker, Wilderness Skills Practitioner and Canoe Guide and Jason Bracey, a local teacher and rare volunteer for this combination event of a presentation and a hike. Alexis will share his knowledge and passion in teaching you how to identify and track animals as well as interpreting the story that the tracks tell you about the behaviour of the animal. After the talk, Jason will lead the group on a hike and Alexis will help participants put their new skills to use. It is recommended that you dress appropriately for the weather and bring the following items: proper footwear for hiking over uneven terrain, water bottle, lunch, notebook, pen, small measuring tape or ruler and a camera.

NOTE: This event is limited to a maximum of 20 participants.

COST: $25.00 (rare Event Discount Card invalid for this event)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter Wildlife Tracking Class

I am super excited to share with you the dates for this years Winter Wildlife Tracking Class -- February 9-13th. I have added another day to this experience and am looking forward to spending more time in the field tracking and learning from the animals that we follow. Come and joing us as we track and trail such animals as the river otter, marten, eastern wolf, flying squirrel, fisher, deer and moose. Our days will be spent tracking in the field each day followed by follow up research and further study at night. This is a great opportunity to 'push/grow' your tracking skills and learn more about the animals that live in the forests of central Ontario. The location for this class will be announced soon, please contact us with any questions or to register for this class.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Encounters with a Fisher

I've been spending a lot of time sitting alone in the woods this fall. Watching and observing wildlife, experiencing nature through the change of the seasons and pondering the next steps for Earth Tracks. It has felt really good to spend this much-needed time. To sit quietly, refocus and saturate myself in the present moment while also looking ahead to the future. It reminds me of all the synchronicities in my life that have brought me to this place where I am at today. I am truly grateful for all of these things.

After roughly 4 hours spent sitting since before dawn, something caught my eye to the north of me on the edge of the swamp. The ducks had been 'alarming' for a little while and I wondered what had been causing this? Then came the brown mustelid (with grey highlights on the face and shoulders) bounding towards me. It was the elusive Fisher! I had never seen one of these animals in Grey county before, but have heard that they have been expanding their range south in previous years from the Bruce peninsula. At about 75 feet he turned to the west and began to disappear into a grove eastern hemlock. At this point I began making an 'injured' rabbit call and he instantly stopped and turned in my direction, his interest piqued. He then started to walk and take slow bounds towards the cause of this enticing sound, stopping frequently to look and listen to what may have been a potential meal. I was able to 'draw' him in to within 15 or so feet of me and have a good look at this beautiful animal. By his large size I could tell that he was a male as all members of the weasel family are sexually dimorphic. Meaning one gender is quite larger than the other. In the case of the mustelides, the males are always bigger than the females.
He could not see me through the naturally constructed ground blind that I had built. After about 30 seconds, he turned and headed towards the east -- deeper into the forest. As he passed an elder hemlock tree he slowed down slightly to smell the porcupine scat that was lying near its base. I wondered if he knew that the porcupine was up in that very tree at the time?
I was extremely thankful for this amazing encounter with Martes pennanti and hope that our trails will cross again.

Spending time alone in nature nourishes my entire being and these experiences help to strengthen my connection to the natural world. The lessons continue to unfold and open up a world to me that is full of wonder, joy and thankfulness to be alive.
In Light
*“Trail Cam Pic by Dan Gardoqui of White Pine Programs – with whom I run our annual Winter Wildlife Tracking trip with in Algonquin Park.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Many New Things Happening

Well, the fall time has set in here in Ontario and we are super busy here at Earth Tracks wrapping up our busy season, putting things to bed and envisioning our future. There are many new things in the works for 2010 including a new tracking club in Grey county, long-term Naturalist/Tracking and Awareness study program, new canoe trips on the Magnetewan River and new classes and workshops. I (Alexis) am really excited to have 100% of my time to dedicate to Earth Tracks and continue to nurture and grow this Vision that has been unfolding for over a decade now. Look for new updates and information on all the new things we have planned to follow shortly. By December we are hoping to publish our newsletter in its new format and completely have the website re-vamped and updated for the new year. Stay tuned and keep tracking.

In Light