Wildlife Tracking Fundamentals

A two-day workshop with David Moskowitz & Trevor Goward

Friday 1—3 September 2017

Sponsors: Thompson Rivers University, the Wells Gray Wilderness Society, Edgewood Wild

photo of bear print

The Workshop: From shrews to ravens, bear, deer and cougar, the signs of wild animals are all around us. Our ability to find, interpret and follow wildlife tracks and signs is a skill human cultures have honed from earliest days. In this two-day workshop, participants will learn to identify and interpret wildlife tracks and other sign. We’ll learn how tracking can open a window into wildlife viewing, ecological relationships, and the secret lives of animals. As a bonus, we’ll also probe game trail theory – how deer and other animals “see” the physical world and get around within it.

Participants: This workshop is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts of every stripe.

Maximum Enrolment: 12

Tuition: $200.00

To Register: If you’d like to join us, kindly send a cheque or money transfer for the full registration fee to: Lyn Baldwin, Biological Science, Thompson Rivers University, 900 McGill Rd, Kamloops, BC V2C 0C8. E-transfers are possible but please email Lyn at lybaldwin@tru.ca beforehand. Subject to available space, and by prior arrangement, participants can register at the introductory event on the evening of Friday 1 September.

Deadline for Registration: 15 August 2017 (But the earlier the better.)

Workshop Leaders:

photo of David Moskowitz

David Moskowitz works as a biologist, photographer, and outdoor educator. He is the author and photographer of two books, Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest and Wolves in the Land of Salmon. He has contributed his technical expertise to a wide variety of wildlife studies in the Canadian and U.S. Rocky mountains, focusing on using tracking and other non-invasive methods to study wildlife ecology and promote conservation. David is certified as a Track and Sign Specialist, Trailing Specialist, and Senior Tracker through Cybertracker Conservation and is an Evaluator for this rigorous international professional certification program. He is currently working on a multi-media conservation project around mountain caribou and the inland temperate rainforest. Read more at davidmoskowitz.net.

photo of lichenologist Trevor Goward

Trevor Goward is an accomplished field naturalist, lichenologist and self-appointed inspector of deer trails. He is also author of more than 100 scientific papers, scores of popular pieces, and six books: www.waysofenlichenment.net/trevor/writings. When not gardening or wandering/pondering the wilds of his home valley in south-central British Columbia, Trevor engages in numerous seemingly random pursuits and thought experiments including designer living, land apprenticeship, naturalist mentorship, wilderness advocacy, systems theory, poetic ecology, the mythic universe of J.R.R. Tolkien, and (through this last) a stewardship practice he calls ‘elvenwork’.

Weekend Schedule (subject to change):

Note: All events start at the Wells Gray Education & Research Centre, 26 km north of Clearwater.

Friday, 1 September

Evening Classroom (7:30–9:00 PM, with David)

  • Overview of the contemporary field of wildlife tracking and its historical root.
  • Introduction to animal foot morphology and track identification methods.
  • Track patterns and animal locomotion

Note: this evening talk will be open to the public.

Saturday, 2 September

Field (9:00 AM–4:30 PM, with David)

  • Track and sign identification and interpretation in various local habitats.

Evening Screening: ‘The Vanishing Caribou Rainforest’ (7:00-8:30 PM)
Note: this event will be open to the public.

Evening Fire Circle (8:30–9:30 PM, with David and Trevor)

  • Sign tracking and interpretation.
  • Using wildlife tracking for locating and directly observing wildlife.

Sunday, 3 September

Field (10:00 AM–1:00 PM, with Trevor & David)

  • Trail finding and the mind of the deer.

photo of trail in forest

Location: The workshop will be held in the Clearwater Valley near the southern portal of Wells Gray Provincial Park – a vast wilderness preserve in south-central British Columbia. The geologic forces that shaped the Clearwater Valley – including both volcanic activity and glaciation, sometimes together – produced a landscape well known for its canyons, steep-sided mountains, fast-flowing rivers, and waterfalls to take the breath away. You can get a feeling for the area by linking here: Wells Gray World Heritage.

Venue: Indoor portions of the workshop will take place in the Thompson Rivers University Education & Research Centre, a rustic one-room school house located about 20 minutes north of Clearwater (= two hours north of Kamloops = about six hours northeast of Vancouver). Mostly, however, we’ll be out tramping about or, in the evenings, chatting around the campfire. Early September is typically dry, given to warm sunny days and cool, dewy nights. Please note: The Upper Clearwater Valley is a wild area; participants should come physically and psychologically prepared to ’rough it.

front cover of Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest

Accommodation: $30 total for shared accommodation in field station cabins at Thompson Rivers University Wells Gray Wilderness Centre, with rustic kitchen facilities available. Participants bring and prepare their own food. For B&B or other accommodations in the Upper Clearwater Valley, please see www.wellsgraypark.info and www.wellsgray.ca. Tent and vehicle camping is available nearby at no cost.

Recommended Reading & Equipment

David Moskowitz, Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest: tracking and identifying mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. (Timber Press Field Guide: 2010)

Field notebook and pencil
Small tape measure
Sturdy footwear (expect to get muddy at some locations)
Appropriate clothing for all day in the field — rain or shine