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Reconnect to your authentic human self by learning what is perhaps the oldest human skill – tracking.

 

This intensive is designed for anybody who wants to feel more connected to the animals around them. Whether you are a birder, hiker, research scientist, hunter, or simply in love with the natural world, this intensive will give you a strong foundation in the art and science of wildlife tracking and leave you feeling more at home in the North Woods.

 

The Wildlife Tracking intensive meets for five weekends — one weekend a month from November through March. There is additional mentoring time and optional homework between sessions, with plenty of structure and encouragement for students who want to dive deep into these skills. Most of our time will be spent in the field, with some classroom time. Focusing on the cold months allows us to use visible snow tracks to learn how and why animals move through the landscape, building skills that you will be able to translate into more challenging warm-season tracking.

 

The course starts with observation and interpretation techniques – learning how to really see what you're looking at is fundamental to tracking. From there, we'll move on to track identification, animal gaits and biomechanics, trailing, and animal behavior. This may sound technical, but it's just shorthand for the social skills you'll need to start a dialogue with your non-human kin.

 

We'll also touch on general natural history and ecology, including trees and plants, birds, invertebrates, and weather, to provide more ecological context for our tracking practice. In our classroom time, you'll learn how to use books and other resources for research, and will spend time interpreting animal skulls to learn about animal behavior and natural history.

 

We will be outside in almost all weather, walking up to several miles a day over varied terrain. We start around 9am on Saturday, and spend a long day in the field. Sunday is shorter, usually ending mid-afternoon. Please consider your level of physical fitness when registering.

 

2021-2022 Tracking Intensive Dates (2022-23 dates coming soon!):

We'll meet one weekend a month, November 2021 through March 2022:

Nov 20-21, 2021

Dec 8-9, 2021

Jan 12-13, 2022

Feb 12-13, 2022

Mar 12-13, 2022

 

Cost:

The full cost of the course is $1,375. Enrollment is capped at 8 students—to reserve a spot, please contact me and submit a $250 non-refundable deposit. All Fox Paw classes are eligible for VSAC advancement grants. Contact me for more info, or check out www.vsac.org.

 

Payment plans are available, and tuition will be discounted for students taking more than one long-term class. Financial aid and limited barter are available; if finances are a barrier for you, please contact me.

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The North Woods naturalist apprenticeship starts you down the path of belonging to the land where you live. This deep relationship with the land, this belonging, comes from a connection that is both emotional and rational—the rational from honing our skills of observation and awareness, and the emotional from relationship, gratitude, intention, and story.

Without a deep and wondrous connection to the greater-than-human world, our factual knowledge is shallow. But without factual, concrete understanding of the lives of our wild neighbors, our emotional connection to our landscape can become mostly about our projections and assumptions. Join us as we balance these two efforts, learning concrete naturalist skills as well as forging a relationship with the living, breathing, animate world around us.

We'll start in winter, usually considered a time of dormancy — but there's so much going on! Our first months will be an overview of the North Woods, an introduction to journaling techniques, tree identification, winter bird behavior, and life in the cold season.

As the sunlight returns, temperatures will rise, and we'll track late winter and early spring mammal breeding behavior. As the snow melts, we'll explore spring ephemerals, along with bird nesting and mating behaviors. Next, we'll watch trees leaf out, meadow plants start to bloom, and summer arrive in full. After a break in August, we'll continue our studies through fall, taking in fall bird migration, animal preparations for winter, foliage change, and leaf drop.

When we end, you'll have watched in wonder at a full cycle of the seasons, giving you identification skills for our plants and animals and awareness of their life cycles. You'll be prepared to continue your naturalist practice in the future—and equally important, during our time interacting with the land and her inhabitants, you will have built a meaningful relationship with the animate world around us.

We meet for nine weekends — one weekend a month from January through October, omitting August. Optional mentoring time and homework between sessions provide plenty of opportunity for deep learning. Most of our time will be spent outdoors, engaging our senses and learning through observation and exploration. We'll also have the opportunity to journal, and research answers to questions that come up in the field using books, maps, and other resources.

We will be outside in almost all weather, walking up to several miles a day over varied terrain. We start around 9am on Saturday, and spend a long day in the field. Sunday is shorter, usually ending mid-afternoon. Please consider your level of physical fitness when registering.

2023 Naturalist Intensive Dates:

We'll meet one weekend a month, for 9 months, from January to October, with no class in August.

Jan 14-15

Feb 11-12

Mar 11-12

Apr 15-16

May 20-21

Jun 17-18

Jul 8-9

Aug no class

Sep 23-24

Oct 21-22

 

Cost:

The full cost of the course is $2,475. Enrollment is capped at 9 students—to reserve a spot, please contact me and submit a $250 non-refundable deposit. All Fox Paw classes are eligible for VSAC advancement grants. Contact me for more info, or check out www.vsac.org.

 

Payment plans are available, and tuition will be discounted for students taking more than one long-term class. Financial aid and limited barter are available; if finances are a barrier for you, please contact me.

 

Questions:

If you have questions, or for more information, please contact me at (802) 249-1463 or foxpawschool@gmail.com

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Deepen your nature connection practice with personal mentoring sessions. We'll identify your learning objectives and develop practices that will help you meet them, both in our sessions together and on your own.

 

Sessions are a minimum of two hours, and can be short-term or ongoing. Locations for our field sessions are flexible and we'll pick where we go based on what you want to learn. Long-distance learning is also possible, so contact me to discuss options.

I do my best to make personal mentoring financially accessible — ask me about rates. Limited barter may be available.

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The Fox Paw School can travel to you!

 

I'm available to present to your university class, student group, or just to you and your friends. I offer workshops ranging from tracking, to bird language, to skull interpretation, to pattern-based tree ID. We can also develop a custom class that focuses on your specific interests.

Contact me about rates or to discuss content for a ready-made or custom class.

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Want to get to know your wild neighbors? I offer wildlife surveys on your property—we can spend an afternoon or a weekend walking your land, learning about who else lives there. Surveys can be a one-time event, or repeated throughout the seasons to learn the animals' yearly cycles.

Contact me to get more details, or to schedule.