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Winter Wildlife Tracking Institute

January 16 @ 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Winter Wildlife Tracking Institute
Instructed by Jonathan Shapiro and Dave Muska
In-person sessions: Jan 16, Feb 20, Mar 20 | 8 am  – 4 pm
Virtual meetups: TBD
(two sessions in late January and late February)
$235 | Scholarships available: please inquire at [email protected]
Group Size: 16 max
Ages: 16 and up

Join naturalists/trackers Jonathan Shapiro of Fox Paw School and Dave Muska of North Branch Nature Center for a three-month wildlife tracking immersion! Participants will deepen their tracking and trailing skills through expert field instruction and independent study in a shared community of practice. Students will leave with a richer understanding of our local wildlife and deepened skills in identifying and interpreting animal tracks and trails.

This winter-long tracking intensive in Central Vermont will meet in-person monthly for full-day field sessions in January, February, and March, plus additional virtual gatherings between field days. Field days may include short, socially-distanced indoor classroom sessions to review technical materials and examine specimens.

Topics of study include: North Woods winter ecology and life histories of our animal residents; clear animal print identification; animal anatomy and body mechanics; animal gaits and track patterns; track journaling; routines to grow your tracking skillset; and practices to continue your personal growth as a tracker throughout the seasons.

COVID-19 Note: This program has been designed to ensure that our participants and instructors stay safe and healthy. In-person instruction will be structured to keep group sizes to 8 or fewer during lecture and field time. We require all participants to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and complete a health screening upon arrival. Unfortunately, we are only able to welcome Vermont residents due to inter-state travel restrictions. Please see our COVID-19 Program Adaptations and Expectations on our homepage for details about our policies and protocols.

Continuing Education and Professional Development: This course qualifies for 32 hours of Professional Development credit and/or CEUs. Certificates available upon request. Please inquire for graduate course credit.

This program is part of NBNC’s Biodiversity University.

About the Instructors

Jonathan Shapiro: Fox Paw School
“I’ve been learning from the natural world for the better part of two decades. After growing up in New England, I spent my early adulthood wandering the US southwest, always with a field guide in my backpack. In 2011, I moved to Central Vermont, a couple hours north of my childhood home. Since then, I’ve focused intently on building a mutualistic relationship with the natural world, primarily through wildlife tracking, natural history, and herbalism. I also have a deep passion for making traditional crafts with wild-harvested materials. I hold a Cybertracker Level III certification in Track and Sign. In addition to running Fox Paw, I am a lead instructor at the wildlife tracking apprenticeship at White Pine Programs in southern Maine.”

Dave Muska: NBNC and Ondatra Adventures
“I am a licensed NYS Wilderness Guide and Wilderness Skills Instructor with over 20 years of backcountry experience. I work as a Wilderness Skills Instructor with youth and adults in the world of primitive skills and nature connection with organizations such as Hawk Circle Earth Mentoring Institute, Primitive Pursuits, Earth Arts, North Branch Nature Center, and Lime Hollow Nature Center. I received a Bachelor’s of Science at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, studied freshwater turtle populations in the upper Hudson River of New York, worked as a Desert Tortoise Biologist in the Mojave Desert, and studied the symbiotic relationships between fungi and plants (Mycorrhizal Ecology) in the Northeastern US. My connection to the natural world, to the earth, and its inhabitants has been and continues to be the greatest of gifts.”




January 16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Event Category:


North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602