With characteristic enthusiasm for her hobby, Ann Christensen explains that you can easily get hooked on animal tracking. Finding out what was moving around the night before isn’t just fun, Ann explains, “it’s a lot like bird-watching, but easier—the tracks don’t move!”
For the past few years, Ann and fellow naturalist Cathy Baer have led animal tracking workshops through Ketchum’s Environmental Resource Center (ERC). Interested people don snowshoes to tromp through the snow, heads down, attention directed toward the ground. Aided by Ann and Cathy’s experienced tracking skills, the groups are sure to stumble upon the marks of various critters. It’s a different way of looking at the world, and participants are surprised and excited at what they discover.
The early part of winter is an especially good time for finding tracks because deep snow and predators haven’t yet killed the smaller animals or forced them beneath the snow. The ERC tracking workshops cover the entire season, beginning in December and continuing until early March.
The workshops are an ideal Idaho outing for almost everyone: houseguests, children over the age of eight, people who simply love to walk in the woods. It isn’t necessary for participants to be able to snowshoe long distances or at fast speeds. Another option is a private outing, which Ann and Cathy will lead for the price of a donation to the ERC.
Several other classes are available through the ERC. Its “Starry, Starry Night” series offers a chance to stargaze on a winter’s night. In summer, bird walks, medicinal plant workshops, and orienteering classes take place. Classes for children offer firsthand experience with bugs, butterflies, and farm animals.
For more information or to sign up for an upcoming workshop, call the ERC at 208.726.4333 or visit their website at www.ercsv.org.