This program may be scheduled for any age group and requires at least 2 weeks of advance notification limited to center staff and volunteer availability. Participants in this program must be able to tolerate walking on loose sand soil for a distance of no less than 1 mile in the climate typically represented in the time of year you book your program. Water, bug spray and sunblock are recommended. The length of this program is 3 hours.
In the world around us exists a great variety of wildlife that we may be wholly unaware of if we don’t take time to become familiar with signs animals leave behind. Often biologists working with specific species do not get all of their information from live animals, information can be left behind the animal in many forms that still provide good insight into how healthy or how old and animal is or what it is eating. In this program we will focus not on seeing animals in the wild but on seeing how animals use the wild and what signs they leave behind for us to interpret.
- Review terms:
- Trace evidence – a very small piece of something left behind in this case by an animal
- Tracks – the footprints of an animal in soil
- Scat – the digested remains of an animals meal after excretion
- Remains – parts left over after other parts are removed
- Habitat – the natural place where an organism lives
- Review tracks of animals common to local area, if you have trouble locating one contact the Conservation Center Coordinator.
- Discuss different types of animal homes
- Indoor demonstration of animal track ID and distribution of guides
- Practice casting animal tracks
- Discussion on the types of animal evidence we will potentially see
- Track reading exercise (students create tracks with their feet and paint to see how movement can be seen in tracks)
- Wildlife bones box
- Guided 1 hour hike to look for animal evidence
- Review and evaluation
- Play animal track BINGO to see how well they remember the tracks
- Create animal track stamps using potatoes to allow children to make prints of their favorite track
- Dissect owl pellets
- Create plaster casts of animal tracks you find in the school yard