Tracking Club Basics
Every first Saturday of the month we'll meet at the Stranahan Town Forest and explore the tracks, sign, plants/trees, and habitat our North Woods home has to offer. I'll provide some loose structure and instruction — bring a mask, your field guides, questions, weather-appropriate gear and snacks. Beginners very welcome! Aimed at teens and adults.
We start at 9 a.m. and end around noon. There is no cost for tracking club. Be in touch with any questions, or to be added to the club's mailing list.
What is Tracking Club really about?
Every month, we head over to the Stranahan Town Forest in Marshfield and spend several hours getting to know part of our watershed. By going to the same place every month, we get deep knowledge of that place. What we learn there about how the year unfolds is bigger than just the Stranahan—it helps us understand the whole landscape around us.
Our meetings are free-flowing, and we spend time with whatever sparks our curiosity—a typical outing might consist of checking in on a favorite patch of plants to see how the seed pods are developing, listening to bird song in a shady patch of woods, sitting quietly and watching at the edge of the meadow, and/or checking out coyote tracks in the mud by the old beaver dam. It's called tracking club because we track the whole world around us.
Tracking club is about learning from our observations, and also from our collective experience. It's not really a class. Although I'm the primary facilitator, the goal is to create an "each one teach one" atmosphere, where everyone shares what they know.
Although we're outdoors and Coronavirus transmission risk is relatively low, we still wear masks when we're closer than six feet from each other.
Tracking Club Online Journal
We keep records of what we see in tracking club. This lets us go back and look at what was happening in previous meetings, whether last month, or last year, in order to follow the Stranahan's seasonal rhythms, and chart the difference in phenology, or timing, between years.
If you'd like to participate in the journal, the link is here. It's hosted online at iNaturalist, a citizen-science website where users can upload observations of any living thing to a giant, searchable database. There's a quick registration process in order to use the site, and then you have to join the project called "Fox Paw Tracking Club Journal"—after you've registered, just click on the above link and there will be a button to join.
Once you've registered and joined the project, you can upload photos from your phone to the project and it will automatically add time, date, and location. The only other detail is that when uploading, you need to manually add your photo to the Fox Paw project, otherwise it'll get added to the general database, but not our journal. There's also a place to write in a description of what you're uploading, if you're feeling inspired.
Please let me know if you have any questions about how to use the online journal—I'm more than happy to walk you through it, and it's usually pretty easy to pick up.