Winter Animal Tracking in the Wild Swan
Learn how to "think like a wild animal" during this 2-day Experience Montana field course taught by Melanie Parker and Adam Lieberg of Northwest Connections. Examine animal tracks in the wild, learning to identify mammals by their tracks, gait patterns, and habitat selection behaviors - all while experiencing the natural beauty and wonder of Swan Valley.
Planned Class Schedule January 26-January 27, 2013
Saturday and Sunday mornings will be spent in short lectures viewing slides and learning how to identify many different track types. The afternoons will be spent outdoors on snowshoes, enjoying the pristine landscape while identifying, sketching, and documenting animal signs. The Swan Valley is wild, and the instructors are experienced. Participants can expect to encounter a wide variety of tracks; everything from voles and squirrels to mountain lions and even wolves.
Participants will learn:
- Track and gait patterns
- How to identify animals by their tracks
- How to interpret animal behavior from tracks and trails
- Ecology of animals active in winter
- Forest ecology
This course is rated as Moderate. Participants will hike and snowshoe no more than 3 miles per day on flat terrain. This level is suitable for people who exercise regularly.
Please review the full required & suggested Equipment List. Participants will be responsible for providing their own snowshoes. Both The Trailhead and REI in Missoula rent snowshoes and other equipment you may need for this course.
Books (Participants may purchase the book online from Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com):
- Halfpenny, James. 1986. A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America.
Articles (Articles will be made available to participants prior to the start of the course):
- Pyle, Robert Michael. 2001. “The Rise and Fall of Natural History”, Orion Magazine.
- Kemmis, Daniel. 2002. “Science’s Role in Natural Resource Decisions” Issues in Science and Technology.
- Kahn, Brian. 2001. “Fresh Tracks: The Trail Forks in American Conservation” Northern Lights.
Spend the night in Condon, Montana in the turn of the century Beck Homestead, an 80-acre property complete with barn, bath house, and cook house. The original hand-hewn log animal barn has been painstakingly restored as a classroom, dorm, and office building. Dorm rooms occupy the second story, and each room is equipped with four hand-built bunkbeds, a closet, and a desk.
More Accomodation Information (with photos!)
A map and directions can be viewed and printed HERE.
This personal enrichment course is not offered for university credit. Therefore, formal admission to The University of Montana is not required, and residents and nonresidents pay the same fee.