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February Dirt

Tracking in the Snow

Ooo, ahh, how can it be!? The snowfall this week, plus the layer of ice that formed atop it has created a glistening, gleaming, light-beam filled wonderland outside of our office window. Its almost as if there were two suns--one in the sky, and one on the ground!

A good snowfall opens up a world of possibilities. One of the best things to come after a blanket of white descends is the tracks. Finding them, following them, guessing who made them--tracking is one of those activities that provides entertainment for all ages. Its a great way to get the family outdoors and doesn't require any equipment at all!

Tracks are outstanding indicators of animal (including human!) behavior and characteristics. They tell us where an animal has been (and if we follow them, where they were going), whether they were alone, what they've been eating (look for scat and/or traces of food), their relative size, their gait, and so much more. Seasoned trackers can even assess whether, for example, a human is carrying a load, or walking backwards.
Who leaves this track?
So why don't you bundle up and give it a try? Head into your local park, backyard, or unplowed parking lot and see what you can find. A note: there are plenty of great online resources for tracking such as this site, but you can certainly have a great and enlightening time tracking without doing any reading-up beforehand.

Here are some tracking thoughts for your own detective work and just plain fun, from Ed Bieber's book, What Color is the Wind:
  • Make a rubbing of the bottom of your boots or snow shoes, and from the boots of each person in your home. Tape them up on the wall as a guide for local tracking.
  • If you have dogs or cats in the house, examine their paws before you go out to find their tracks in the snow. Do you know the easy-to-spot difference between a canine and feline track? See if you can figure it out.
  • Put some food out in a clean, un-trodden spot. Check in the morning for tracks!
  • Follow a set of tracks til you can't follow them anymore!
  • Make a 'bare' track! Go a little wild (and step quickly) with bare feet, to leave those unlikely tracks for the wonderment of others.
Local Mountain Lion track
courtesy of Joe Blevis
Local Bobcat track
courtesy of Joe Blevis
For children who are eager to delve further into this topic, may we suggest two workshops from our Primitive Living Skills series for children ages 10-14:

April 7th| Heightening Awareness in the Outdoors
April 28th| Natural Camouflage, Tracking, and Stalking

Click here to more details.

Happy Tracking!

Dig into The Dirt

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by Ayla Dunn-Bieber
Woody-Chuck
by Chuck Stead

Upcoming Events & Announcements

bow drilling

Primitive Living Skills - Children:

Make Your Own Bow Drill Kit (Part 2)
2/24: 10 AM-12:30 PM | For children ages 10-14. Check out all workshop details and register here!
The Nature Place @ Threefold Educational Center
285 Hungry Hollow Road | Chestnut Ridge, NY
fire tending

Primitive Living Skills - Family:

Fire and Water
2/24: 2 PM-4:30 PM | For families with children ages 6+. Check out all workshop details and register here!
The Nature Place @ Threefold Educational Center
285 Hungry Hollow Road | Chestnut Ridge, NY

Maple Sugaring

3/2: 12-1 PM and 2-3 PM | We’ll learn all about maple trees and making syrup, and we’ll tap a maple and taste sap and syrup as well. Free event!
The Nature Place Day Camp @ Green Meadow Waldorf School: 307 Hungry Hollow Road | Chestnut Ridge, NY

Primitive Living Skills - Children:

Bow and Arrow (Part 1)
3/3: 10 AM-12:30 PM | For children ages 10-14. Check out all workshop details and register here!
The Nature Place @ Threefold Educational Center
285 Hungry Hollow Road | Chestnut Ridge, NY

Primitive Living Skills - Family:

Bowl and Spoon (Part 1)
3/3: 2 PM-4:30 PM | For families with children ages 6+. Check out all workshop details and register here!
The Nature Place @ Threefold Educational Center
285 Hungry Hollow Road | Chestnut Ridge, NY

Primitive Living Skills - Adult Full-Day:

Fire by Friction: Make Your Own Bow Drill Kit
3/16: 10 AM-4:00 PM | Full-day workshop for adults 17+. Check out all workshop details and register here!
The Nature Place @ Threefold Educational Center
285 Hungry Hollow Road | Chestnut Ridge, NY

Community Exchange: Conversations Around Sustainability

Hosted by The Hungry Hollow Co-op and The Nature Place...
Let's get together, share ideas and brainstorm solutions to roadblocks encountered in our individual/family sustainability efforts! Yesterday, we kicked off the series with a discussion about reducing meat consumption...
Next up:
Plastic in the Kitchen | March 20th, 2019 from 6:45 to 7:45 PM
The Clothes We Wear | April 17th, 2019 from 6:45 to 7:45 PM
Conversations held at the Co-op @ 841 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Chestnut Ridge, NY

New Summer Program:
Music and Movement with Mashobane Moruthane

A Week of African Drumming, Dance, and Storytelling

Click here for details.
"Surely as cometh the Winter, I know
There are Spring violets under the snow." 

- R. H. Newell

Upcoming Open Houses


Saturday, February 16th
Saturday, March 2nd
Sunday, March 24th
Saturday, April 13th
Sunday, April 28th


Please email us in advance at camp@thenatureplace.com to set up your appointment. We'll meet at Green Meadow Waldorf School: 307 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977.

Non-competitive and nature-oriented, The Nature Place enables children to be themselves, with their friends, in the great outdoors. Learn more at thenatureplace.com
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