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 natural communities of the North Woods.

 

The Wildlife Tracking intensive meets for eight weekends — one weekend a month from November through June. 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. Starting in the cold months allows us to use visible snow tracks to begin learning how and why animals move through the landscape, and we'll carry those skills over to more challenging spring tracking.

 

We'll commence our studies 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.

 

Throughout the course we'll also cover 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 typically start around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, and are in the field until mid-late afternoon. After a shared dinner, we'll have evening programming and end between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. Sunday is shorter, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Please consider your level of physical fitness when registering.

 

Tracking Intensive Dates:

November 7-8, 2020

December 5-6, 2020

January 16-17, 2021

February 6-7, 2021

March 6-7, 2021

April 3-4, 2021

May 1-2, 2021

June 5-6, 2021

 

Cost:

The full cost of the course is $2,200, which includes the field guide we will use as a textbook. Enrollment is limited -—to reserve a spot, contact me and submit a $400 non-refundable deposit. Payment plants are available, and tuition will be discounted for students taking both intensives concurrently. Financial aid and limited barter may be available; if finances are a barrier for you, please contact me.

 

Humans are hard-wired to the rhythms of the natural world. Whether you call it neurobiology or spiritual connection, paying attention to what's happening on the landscape around us is what makes us who we are.

 

This intensive will focus on our North Woods home — the overlap zone between the northern boreal forests and the more temperate broad-leaf forests — and give you the tools to connect with our landscape on all scales, from the broad-scale biome down to the silky hairs on the back of a new leaf.

 

We meet for seven weekends — one weekend a month from November through June, omitting December. There is additional mentoring time and optional homework between sessions, which provides plenty of opportunity for deep learning.

 

Our time together will have four central themes: our local weather, mammals, birds, and trees/plants. Each time we meet, we will observe, identify, journal about, and interpret what is happening around us, focusing on these four things. We'll start in fall and winter, usually considered times of dormancy — but there's still so much going on! Our first months will be an overview of the North Woods, an introduction to journaling techniques, tree identification, fall plant reproduction cycles, and the beginning of the cold season. When the snow arrives, we'll continue with wildlife tracking, the ecology of freezing temperatures, and winter bird behavior.

 

As the sunlight returns, the snow will melt and temperatures will rise, and we'll explore spring ephemerals, along with bird nesting and mating behaviors. We'll finish our apprenticeship as the trees leaf out, the meadow plants start to bloom, and summer arrives in full. When we end, you'll have strong identification skills for our plants and animals, a deep understanding of their life cycles during the time we observed them, and be prepared to continue your observations and relationship-building throughout the rest of the year.

 

Most of our time will be spent in the field. We'll explore rivers, wetlands, meadows, and a variety of forest types. In addition to learning through our senses, we'll journal our observations, and research answers to questions that come up in the field using books, maps, and other resources. Workshop sessions will cover the broad natural history of the North Woods, and we'll have the opportunity to spend time with skull specimens to interpret animal behavior based on body structure.

 

We will be outside in almost all weather, walking up to several miles a day over varied terrain. We typically start around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, and are in the field until mid-late afternoon. After a shared dinner, we'll have evening programming and end between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. Sunday is shorter, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Please consider your level of physical fitness when registering.

 

Naturalist Intensive Dates:

November 21-22, 2020

January 1-2, 2021

February 20-21, 2021

March 20-21, 2021

April 17-18, 2021

May 15-16, 2021

June 19-20, 2021

 

Cost:

The full cost of the course is $1,925, which includes the field guides we will use as textbooks. Enrollment is limited — to reserve a spot, contact me and submit a $400 non-refundable deposit. Payment plans are available, and tuition will be discounted for students taking both intensives concurrently. Financial aid and limited barter may be 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

Personal mentoring

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.

workshops and custom classes

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.

Jonathan Shapiro

(802) 249-1463

foxpawschool@gmail.com

Plainfield, VT

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