Events

ONLINE ONLY: November Tracking Club: Turkey Trot: Sun, Nov 22

posted Nov 15, 2020, 2:57 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Nov 19, 2020, 6:41 PM ]

**In compliance with the State of Minnesota's Emergency Executive Order 20-99 limiting gatherings by people from more than one household, we are cancelling our in-person Tracking Club for November.**

We encourage you to get out tracking on your own or with members of your household, and gather online to share stories on Sunday. Here are the details:


Tracks-giving and Other Tails Zoom Gathering
Sunday, November 22
2:00-3:30 pm
Click here to register


***   ***


Come join us for our next Tracking Club at Ft. Snelling State Park:

Sunday, November 22
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather outside the Ft. Snelling State Park visitor center:


Ft. Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111

Snow has returned to Minnesota, but it doesn't seem ready to stay just yet. With temperatures floating around freezing, we may find mud, snow, or frozen ground at our favorite tracking spots. Whatever the substrate, we will plan to find some tracks and learn a bit about what the critters are up to as we move toward winter.

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will gather at 9:00 in outside the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail about 9:20 and return to the visitor center by 1:00pm. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700.

Important Notes

COVID cases are rising dramatically in Minnesota. Please wear a mask and plan to maintain a distance of roughly one-and-a-half turkey wingspans (or one large turkey vulture) from those outside of your household.

Road construction on Highway 5 complicates travel to Ft. Snelling. We strongly recommend checking current highway and ramp closures.

You need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111.

You can also avoid both of these issues by coming by bicycle (if you have good snow tires!).

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions--which should account for the road construction:

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center

CANCELED: Trailing Practice: Sat, Nov 21

posted Nov 15, 2020, 11:10 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Nov 19, 2020, 6:42 PM ]

**In compliance with the State of Minnesota's Emergency Executive Order 20-99 limiting gatherings by people from more than one household, we are cancelling group trailing practice for November.**

We encourage you to get out to follow deer on your own or with members of your household, and gather online to share stories on Sunday. Here are the details:


Tracks-giving and Other Tails Zoom Gathering
Sunday, November 22
2:00-3:30 pm
Click here to register

***   ***

With the wood nettle buried under the recent snowfalls, trailing practice returns to Fort Snelling State Park this month. We'll practice following fresh trails, with the goal of seeing the animals that made them. The deer at Ft. Snelling are habituated to people, giving us opportunities to observe their behavior closely and compare observed behavior with fresh tracks and trails.

Please wear a mask and plan to maintain spatial distancing of a bit over one deer's length. If we are successful, we may again be able to use actual deer to check this.

Sunday, November 21
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

We will gather in the parking lot south of the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center
Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center
Fort Snelling State Trail
St Paul, MN 55111

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. With COVID, the Visitor Center is not open and there are limited amenities: Outdoor biffy, no drinking fountains. Please bring appropriate gear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day. Please also take precautions for ticks, as we expect to follow deer trails through prime tick habitat. Ticks are active all year and we have friends who have contracted Lyme disease in Minnesota in January.

We will meet at 9:00 in the parking lot. We will head out on the trail shortly after 9:00 and return to the parking lot by 12:00 pm. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Kirsten's cell phone at 651-785-4650. Please note that once we are trailing, our phones will be on vibrate and we could easily miss an incoming call.

Important Notes

Road construction on Highway 5 complicates travel to Ft. Snelling. We strongly recommend checking current highway and ramp closures.

You need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111.

You can also avoid both of these issues by coming by bicycle (if you have good snow tires!).

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions--which should account for the road construction:

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center







Trailing Practice: Sun, Oct 25

posted Oct 9, 2020, 8:17 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Oct 9, 2020, 8:18 AM ]

Trailing practice returns to Reservoir Woods in Roseville again this month,
a 115 acre undeveloped park with a dense population of suburban deer. Join us as we practice following the trails of deer (and perhaps each other) with the goal of seeing the animal we are tracking. Last month, we observed a bachelor herd of bucks chewing their cud before finding and following the fresh trail of a doe. Join us to see what we can spot this time out.

Please wear a mask and plan to maintain spatial distancing of a bit over one deer's length. If we are successful, we may again be able to use actual deer to check this.

Please note the date change and Sunday schedule this month, to accommodate the Northeast Wildlife Trackers Conference the previous weekend.

Sunday, October 25
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

We will gather at the parking lot at the corner of Alta Vista Dr and Stuber Rd:  

Reservoir Woods Park
1901 Alta Vista Dr
Roseville, MN 55113



This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. There are no amenities at Reservoir Woods. No bathrooms, no drinking fountains. Please bring appropriate gear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will meet at 9:00 in the parking lot. We will head out on the trail shortly after 9:00 and return to the parking lot by 12:00 pm. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Kirsten's cell phone at 651-785-4650. Please note that once we are trailing, our phones will be on vibrate and we could easily miss an incoming call.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.



Click Here for Directions

Reservoir Woods






October Tracking Club: Field Day

posted Oct 9, 2020, 8:03 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Oct 9, 2020, 8:04 AM ]

This year, the Northeast Wildlife Trackers Conference is going online for the first time, allowing Midwesterners and other from across the world to take part. Following the online events, conference organizers are inviting local groups to host socially distanced, in person field days--so that is exactly what we plan to do. Join us at Ft. Snelling State Park for a Field Day in the classic Tracking Club model.
Here are all the details. Please note that access to Ft. Snelling is complicated by construction on Hwy 5.

Sunday, October 18
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather outside the Ft. Snelling State Park visitor center:

Ft. Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111


This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will gather at 9:00 outside the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail about 9:20 and return to the visitor center a bit after noon to wrap-up and share stories. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700.

Important Notes

Road construction on Highway 5 complicates travel to Ft. Snelling. We strongly recommend checking current highway and ramp closures.

You need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111.

You can also avoid both of these issues by coming by bicycle.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions--which should account for the road construction:

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center





Carlos Avery Fall Survey: Sat, Oct 3

posted Sep 15, 2020, 3:50 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Sep 17, 2020, 10:31 AM ]

We are excited to announce our Fall Wildlife Tracking Survey

In-person at Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area


Our Fall Survey will be an all day affair. We will start the day by gathering (socially distanced) at Tolzmann Park in the nearby City of Wyoming. We will then head out in (masked) teams to survey for animal tracks & sign before returning to Tolzmann Park to share our discoveries. We will have several experienced trackers, certified in Track & Sign interpretation, available to join teams.

Carlos Avery has provided us with rich tracking this year. During the Spring and Summer surveys, we identified the tracks and sign of 14 species of mammals in addition to observing scores of reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects. You can read all about our Spring Survey here and our Summer Survey here. Through these surveys, we have also gotten to know some wonderful spots to track and we look forward to what we might find this fall. Here is the schedule for the day:

9:00am    Gathering at Tolzmann Park
9:30am    Tracking teams leave for the field
~3:00pm  Return from the field for sharing, mapping and debriefing
4:30pm    Complete

To support everyone's safety and well-being, we ask that you both wear a mask while we are together and practice physical distancing. We know this can be challenging at times, but feel it is a small sacrifice for the opportunity to get out on the landscape and track together again.

Bring your own lunches and snacks. Weather permitting, teams usually eat lunch in the field (without masks--but with a little extra distance).


Here are all the details:


Tolzmann Park

We will gather at Tolzmann Park in the City of Wyoming, which has ample parking and a picnic pavilion we should be able to use in case of rain. The park does not have a street address. The City of Wyoming website says it is at the corner of 274th Street and Finland Avenue. Google maps lists the park as being in East Bethel (it's not), but appears to have the location correct.



RSVP is Encouraged

Since we will not be at Cedar Creek, we do not need formal registration for this survey. And, it would be great to know if you are coming. To RSVP, either:

About Carlos Avery

The Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area covers roughly 24,000 acres to the south and east of Cedar Creek. It is about 2/3 wetland and 1/3 upland and is managed primarily for Deer, Waterfowl and Turkey. Carlos Avery is near Cedar Creek, and offers similar habitat and diversity of species--but with no restrictions about where we can explore.

Interior roads at Carlos Avery are now open to motor vehicle traffic, and there are parking areas located throughout the property. You can download a PDF map that shows parking locations here.


Hazards, Considerations & Conditions on the Ground

Carlos Avery has minimal facilities. There are no lavatories, benches or shelters in the areas we will be tracking.

Carlos Avery is open to hunting. Archery season for deer and firearm season for a number of waterfowl and game birds will be open.

Ticks are still out and Anoka county is considered high-risk areas for tick-born diseases. Please come prepared and plan to do a thorough tick-check when you get home. Most experts now recommend permethrin treated clothing and a DEET based insect repellent, in addition to daily tick-checks. For more information on protecting yourself from Lyme disease and other tick-born illnesses check out this page from the Minnesota Department of Health.

It has been half-a-year since we began making large adjustments to our lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time, we have learned that outdoor transmission of the novel coronavirus is extremely rare, as discussed in these articles from the New York Times and Washington Post. Meanwhile, masks are proving to be effective in reducing transmission. With this growing understanding of potential risks, we believe it is safe to resume small outdoor gatherings such as tracking club. These gatherings allow for easy spatial distancing and offer connection to people and to nature in one of the safest ways possible. But we still want to take reasonable precautions and look out for eachother's well-being. Please wear a mask and practice physical distancing.


iNaturalist

As most of you know, we use iNaturalist as a tool for recording and sharing our observations. This platform will be even more valuable for surveys where we are practicing physical distancing, making it easier for us to share and discuss what we see. If you do not already have an iNaturalist account, you can get one here.

Here are a few tips for documenting what you and your team finds:
  • When we track, we use clues at multiple spatial scales to help us identify and interpret what we find. Make sure to document multiple scales. A good observation of tracks will include multiple, clear, in-focus photographs of:
    • Individual tracks with a ruler for scale
    • Groups of tracks, showing enough to clearly interpret the track pattern.
    • Context photos showing the habitat and how the animal is using that habitat
    • For an excellent example of documenting tracks, see this Facebook post by German naturalist Simone Roters.
    • These examples of bobcat, toad and chipmunk tracks on iNaturalist show how to document tracks and trails--but remember to add habitat shots as well.
  • When documenting sign, also take multiple, in-focus photographs of the sign at multiple scales, including the habitat. Context is often even more important for sign.
    • These examples of squirrel and mouse feeding sing on iNaturalist are great examples of how to document sign.
  • In addition to your photographs, include notes about your observation to help others interpret what they see in your photographs. You may want to include measurements of tracks and trail parameters or notes about behavior.
  • When photographing tracks, remember these basic tips:
    • Make sure the outline of the track is clearly visible. In full sunshine, you may need to shade the track. In flat light, you may need to side-light the track with a flashlight.
    • Try different exposures and lighting conditions. You can delete the poor photos later, once you see how things look on a full-sized screen.
    • Take photos straight down. Even a slight angle can distort features and apparent size.
    • Include a ruler. Even then, your hand won't be the same distance from your lens as the track, distorting the apparent size of the track.
    • Use popsicle sticks, sticks, or arrows in the dirt to help point out track patterns if tracks are small or faint in the frame.
  • Remember that you can take photographs with any camera and add them to iNaturalist once you are back home. I often take a placeholder observation on my phone and additional photos with a camera to show added detail.


Updates on Cedar Creek

As of mid-September, Cedar Creek remains open only to essential research activity. We had hoped that the research station would be able to resume volunteer programs like ours by the end of the summer--but it turns out that this is a really difficult time to be in charge of a university with tens-of-thousands of students returning to campus from all across the country. Sensibly, the University is taking a cautious approach to the start of fall semester, keeping classes online and minimizing other programming for a few weeks to see how everything goes. As real information comes in about the spread--or lack of spread--of COVID on campus, we will learn more about when various programs will get up and running at Cedar Creek.


RSVPs are encouraged.

For a map & directions click here

Tolzmann Park




Trailing Practice: Sun, Sep 20

posted Sep 15, 2020, 3:49 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Sep 15, 2020, 3:49 PM ]

Trailing practice returns to Reservoir Woods in Roseville again this month,
a 115 acre undeveloped park with a dense population of suburban deer. Join us as we practice following the trails of deer (and perhaps each other) with the goal of seeing the animal we are tracking. Last month, we followed the fresh trail of a doe and a fawn for over an hour--but never caught sight of them. Perhaps we will get a little closer this month.

We hope you can join us. Please wear a mask and plan to maintain spatial distancing of a bit over one deer's length. If we are successful, we may again be able to use actual deer to check this.

Please note the chance to Sunday this month, to allow us more time on Saturday for This is Not a One Day Evaluation.

Sunday, September 20
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

We will gather at the parking lot at the corner of Alta Vista Dr and Stuber Rd:  

Reservoir Woods Park
1901 Alta Vista Dr
Roseville, MN 55113



This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. There are no amenities at Reservoir Woods. No bathrooms, no drinking fountains. Please bring appropriate gear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will meet at 9:00 in the parking lot. We will head out on the trail shortly after 9:00 and return to the parking lot by 12:00 pm. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Kirsten's cell phone at 651-785-4650. Please note that once we are trailing, our phones will be on vibrate and we could easily miss an incoming call.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.



Click Here for Directions

Reservoir Woods





This is Not a One-Day Evaluation: Sat, Sep 19

posted Sep 15, 2020, 3:48 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Sep 16, 2020, 12:46 PM ]

Due to travel restrictions, we have postponed our fall Track and Sign Evaluation with Marcus Reynerson until next year. With the eval postponed, we are running "This is Not a One-Day Evaluation" in it's place.

Grab your favorite face covering and join us at Ft Snelling State Park this Saturday, September 19, for an outing in the model and spirit of a CyberTracker Evaluation. This is a great opportunity to learn about the evaluation process and to help prepare for the evaluations we plan to host next year. If you are not familiar with the CyberTracker evaluation, you can read all about it here. As with standard CyberTracker Evaluations, no prior training is required to participate in this club event.

Since This is Not a One-Day Evaluation, we will be in the field longer than a typical tracking club. Here is the schedule:

We will gather outside the Ft Snelling Visitor Center at 9:00am
We will spend the majority of the day in the field, eating lunch while out on trail
We plan to wrap up at approximately 4:30pm

One-Day CyberTracker evaluations are composed entirely of 1-point questions. Since This is Not a One-Day Evaluation, questions will include a mixture of difficulty, roughly comparable to 1-point, 2-point and 3-point questions. At the end of the day, we will go through the CyberTracker scoring system and give you a chance to calculate a mock "score" of your own.

Finally, since This is Not a One-Day Evaluation we are not limited to just 10 participants, and registration is not required. That said, it will help to know if you are coming. To RSVP, either:


What to Bring

  • A notebook and pencil
  • Water, snacks and lunch for a full day in the field
  • Bug repellent and sun protection, as needed
  • And, as with all Tracking Club gatherings, please wear a mask and plan to practice physical distancing as much as feasible.


I hope you can join us. And remember, This is Not a One-Day Evaluation.

August Tracking Club: This is Not a Test Prep

posted Aug 10, 2020, 11:45 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 10, 2020, 7:02 PM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness ]

From the beginning of Minnesota's lockdown, we have been encouraging people to get outside on their own or with members of their household. Five months later, there is growing evidence that outdoor transmission of the novel coronavirus is extremely rare, as discussed in these articles from the New York Times and Washington Post. Meanwhile, masks are proving to be effective in reducing transmission. With this growing understanding of potential risks, we believe it is safe to resume small outdoor gatherings such as tracking club. These gatherings allow for easy spatial distancing and offer connection to people and to nature in one of the safest ways possible.

Meanwhile, due to travel restrictions, we have postponed our fall Track and Sign Evaluation with Marcus Reynerson until next year. In it's place, next months' tracking club Will Not be a One Day Evaluation. So, we had better Not Do some Test Prep! Come join us at Ft Snelling State Park as we explore track and sign, ask each other challenging questions, and generally have a great time Not Preparing for an Eval. Please note that access to Ft. Snelling is complicated by construction on Hwy 5.

Sunday, August 16
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather outside the Ft. Snelling State Park visitor center:

Ft. Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111


This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will gather outside at 9:00 in between the parking lot and the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail about 9:20 and return to the visitor center about noon to wrap-up and share stories. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700.

Important Notes

Road construction on Highway 5 complicates travel to Ft. Snelling. West bound Hwy 5 is closed between 34th St and (roughly) Davern St, including the bridge over the Mississippi. Traveling from the west, you will need to exit and 34th St and follow it around Ft Snelling National Cemetery as it becomes Post Road, passes the main airport runways, and crosses back over Hwy 5 to enter the park. Mind the posted speed limit, there is a heavy speed patrol presence along this route.

You need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111.

You can also avoid both of these issues by coming by bicycle.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions--which should account for the road construction:

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center




Trailing Practice: Sat, Aug 15

posted Aug 10, 2020, 8:23 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 10, 2020, 12:07 PM ]

Trailing practice returns to Reservoir Woods in Roseville again this month. Last month, we observed three deer as they wandered across the landscape, including this buck in velvet. None were wearing masks, but there is currently no evidence of COVID-19 transmission between deer and humans. Additionally, there is increasing evidence
that transmission of the novel coronavirus is rare outdoors even between people, as shared in these articles in the New York Times and Washington Post. Meanwhile, masks are proving to be effective in reducing transmission.

With all this in mind, please come join us for the return of group trailing practice. Please wear a mask and plan to maintain spatial distancing of a bit over one deer's length. If we are successful, we may again be able to use actual deer to check this.

++++++

Join us as we practice following the trails of deer (and perhaps each other) with the goal of seeing the animal we are tracking. We will return to one of our favorite trailing spots in the cities, Reservoir Woods in Roseville, a 115 acre undeveloped park with a dense population of suburban deer.  

Saturday, August 15
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

We will gather at the parking lot at the corner of Alta Vista Dr and Stuber Rd:  

Reservoir Woods Park
1901 Alta Vista Dr
Roseville, MN 55113



This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. There are no amenities at Reservoir Woods. No bathrooms, no drinking fountains. Please bring appropriate gear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will meet at 9:00 in the parking lot. We will head out on the trail shortly after 9:00 and return to the parking lot by 12:00 pm. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Kirsten's cell phone at 651-785-4650. Please note that once we are trailing, our phones will be on vibrate and we could easily miss an incoming call.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.



Click Here for Directions

Reservoir Woods




Tracking Club: Foraging for Berries: Sun, Jul 26

posted Jul 21, 2020, 3:51 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 21, 2020, 3:52 PM ]

Tracking Club returns this weekend with something a little bit different--foraging berries.

Sunday, July 26
9:00 - 1:00

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd E
Bloomington, MN 55425


From the beginning of Minnesota's lockdown, we have been encouraging people to get outside on their own or with members of their household. Four months later, there is growing evidence that outdoor transmission of the novel coronavirus is extremely rare, as discussed in these articles from the New York Times and Washington Post. Meanwhile, masks are proving to be effective in reducing transmission. With this growing understanding of potential risks, we believe it is safe to resume small outdoor gatherings such as tracking club. These gatherings allow for easy spatial distancing and offer connection to people and to nature in one of the safest ways possible.

With all the challenges we are facing these days, we thought it would be lovely to get back to tracking club by gather together to look for fresh berries to enjoy. While we are at it, we might investigate insect sign on plants, try our had at identifying berry seeds in scat we may find, and otherwise act like a group of trackers out for a walk in the woods.

We hope you can join us.


This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day. Please also take appropriate precautions for biting insects and ticks. Finally, bring something to collect berries. We don't know what we will find, but Refuge rules allow each person to collect up to one gallon for personal consumption.

We will gather at 9:00 outside of the Refuge Visitor Center. We will head out onto Hillside and Long Meadow Lake trails 9:20 and will likely return to the Visitor Center when we are full :) If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cellphone: 612-388-4700.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

For a map & directions click here

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge


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