May 2024

Track & Sign Certifications

The Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project hosted two Track & Sign Certifications with CyberTracker Evaluator Daniel Hansche, from Saturday through Tuesday of Memorial Day Weekend. It was a breakthrough weekend for our club, with ten members earning new Track & Sign certifications. A special shout-out goes to Minnesota's two newest Track & Sign Professionals, Bill Kass & Maria Wesserle, and to the four participants who scored 99 — just one question shy of professional certification.

Daniel asked participants to identify and interpret the tracks and sign of 14 species of mammals (including human), 12 species of bird, 2 species of reptile, 4 invertebrates, and one abiotic process. As you can tell from the grins, we all had fun and learned even more about the animals and landscape of the Minneapolis/St Paul Metro area.

In addition to his tremendous tracking skill, Daniel brought a delightfully fresh and gentle perspective to our participants, opening with an invitation to explore our perceptions and "track the way you track." We deeply appreciated his frankness and humor, particularly in drawing out our "haunting questions" from Day 1 that had kept us awake — and in sharing his own haunting question from a certification years ago.

Many, many thanks to everyone who participated in these certifications! Please also join us in congratulating the following folks who received their first certification, or a new level. (And, of course, ask them to go tracking with you!)

New Track & Sign I: Anthony Ulrich

New Track & Sign IIs: Collin Arnett & Robert Daun

New Track & Sign IIIs: Jason Askins, John Bauhs, Mark Fulton, Adrian Iacovino, Whitney Sansom

New "99 Club" Members: Adrian Iacovino, Joy Muqing Wang, Kirsten Welge, Allison Van Dyk

New Track & Sign Professionals: Bill Kass & Maria Wesserle

May 25-26, 2024 Certification Participants (L to R): Allison Van Dyk, Charles Foley, Kirsten Welge, Bill Kass, Joy Muqing Wang, Mike Holtz, Laura Barnard, Daniel Hansche, Kari Skoog, John Bauhs, Whitney Sansom

Two presentations of deer scat. Both were questions on this certification.

Mimicking the raccoon digging out a turtle nest

Daniel demonstrates the raccoon digging out the turtle nest.

May 27-28, 2024 Certification Participants (L to R): Anna Exley, Adrian Iacovino, Eric Vehe, Erin Anderson, Collin Arnett, Maria Wesserle, Robert Daun, Daniel Hansche, Troy Ellefson, Anthony Ulrich, Mark Fulton, Jason Askins

Everyone recognized this "robin's egg blue" egg shell.

This is the classic soft-serve swirl example of a female wild turkey scat.

The left front track of a subterranean whistle-pig.

Debriefing a wild turkey dust bath.

Debriefing great blue heron track morphology.

Canada Geese and their goslings visited us Monday. Can you see their feeding sign on the grass?

Erin studies a question on gray squirrel scent marking.

Debriefing questions on mink, squirrel, and goose tracks across the mud flats by the Old Cedar Ave bridge.

Daniel points out the difference between rabbit and deer pellets.

Jason studies a bonus question: turtle claw marks.

The group discusses a turtle's track pattern and deciphers its movement.

Colored toothpicks pick out the tip and rear of each pigeon track in this trail.