How can you tell a raccoon’s footprint from a fox’s? Or pinpoint a deer’s path by following his tracks? 85 Hudson Junior High students recently found out by participating in CLC’s Animal Tracks & Traces Program.
The kids began by making plaster casts of local animal tracks. Our intrepid explorers then strapped on snowshoes and took to the area behind their school to put their knowledge to the test. For many of the students, it was their first time snowshoeing and judging by how quickly they got the hang of it – and the amount of fun they had – certainly not their last.
As the students focused on the tracks, they found the most abundant and easiest to identify were those of the white-tail deer. There was much excitement as the young trackers came upon where the deer had bedded down and where they ate, as well as scat (droppings), another clue trackers use to identify species and study their habitat. Next on the agenda: Identifying and following the meandering tracks of an American crow.
This terrific outdoor education program provides students with a hands-on way to learn about habitats, food chains, adaptation, and how the ecosystem operates as whole. Besides the day being just plain fun, the lessons learned build a connection between the students and the natural world and help foster the next generation of leaders who value land conservation.