June 29 - July 3 2018
7pm friday - 1pm tuesday
£295 adults, £50 kids 10 yrs & older
‘The Wolf, The Wild and Me……’
A tracking masterclass blended with an experiential enquiry and the chance to meet real wolves! with Marcus Reynerson from the Wilderness Awareness School in America and Chris Salisbury from WildWise
Not for 250 years has wolf tracking been possible in Britain, but the wolf has nevertheless resiliently stalked our imagination and consciousness ever since the last howl was heard in the 18th century. Now it would seem the wolf is nosing its way into hardline conservation debates and dreams as an indicator species for a healthy natural order, and a controversial candidate to restore some ecological balance to biodiversity in Britain. So it must be time to go wolf-tracking!
This course will teach some technical tracking and fieldcraft skills, and put us on the trail of existing wildlife. It will also ask deeper questions about what it takes to both rewild our countryside, and no less importantly, what rewilding means for ourselves in our bodies, minds, and hearts, as well as our children.
If the spirit of the wolf is to return to this land, then we'd best be prepared!
Through a combination of class time and field time, you will become grounded in the context for what wildlife tracking is, and particularly how it is relevant to a variety of people: from wildlife scientists, to conservationists, or simply for people who want to be more connected to the natural world. The art and science of tracking offers a holistic ecological window into the happenings of the living world around us.
In this course, you will gain the skillset to start, or to continue, exploring the vast world of wildlife tracking. We will cover:
- Natural history and wildlife of the region
- Basic wildlife foot physiology and morphology
- Clear print identification
- Behaviour and wildlife sign interpretation
- Track aging
- How wildlife interacts with landscapes
- The fundamentals of following animal trails
- The art of inquiry and questioning
- There will also be an off-site visit to spend time with some captive wolves located nearby.
Whilst we will have a course structure to follow, every tracking experience is unique. We will follow the curiosity of the students who show up as well as the tracks and trails of the animals we come across. Whether an experienced tracker or a beginner, participants will leave this course looking at the ground in a completely different way with the tools to continue to develop themselves as connected naturalists who can read the stories left all around us.
And there’s a bit more to it…..
The wolf may have vanished from this land, but it endures in other ways….embedded in our collective psyche and symbolising something mysterious and deeply wild, even if it no longer physically stalks the shadows of the land.
In this course we are making an open invitation for our own mysterious, wild nature to respond to the call of the wild. In a time of disconnection and alienation, there is a widespread longing to connect with something deeper, and more meaningful. Every acquaintance we make with the natural world can call us into a more soulful enquiry with ourselves. Every hour spent in wild nature deepens our humanity.
We are inviting you to cross the threshold to spend some wild time in one of the wildest and most biodiverse locations in southwest Britain. Hosted by outdoor specialists WildWise, the camp infrastructure will support you to live comfortably outdoors whilst studying tracks and signs of native wildlife.
The wolf of course is long gone, but the dialogue, discourse and debate surrounding its reintroduction is deep, and one that will inevitably draw us closer to our own true nature.
Course leader - Marcus Reynerson
Marcus’s earliest memories include hunting and fishing in the muggy marshes and pine forests of south Louisiana and the gulf coast of south Texas. Thanks to a childhood of time spent outdoors, Marcus got an early start working in the environmental education field earning a degree in Environmental Studies from Miami University in 2002. He went on to serve as a conservation programs director for Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and then as a lead naturalist at an outdoor education center in California. Marcus leads the Anake year program for the Wilderness Awareness School (founded by Jon Young) and is also lead Instructor on their Wolf Tracking Expedition course.
He is certified as a Track and Sign Specialist through Cybertracker Conservation by scoring 100% on their internationally standardized evaluation process.
Course Leader - Chris Salisbury
Educator, trainer and storyteller, Chris founded WildWise after many years working as an education officer for Devon Wildlife Trust. With a background in the theatre, a training in therapy and a career in environmental education he uses every creative means at his disposal to encourage people to enjoy and value the natural world. He has worked with Ray Mears and John Rhyder, amongst many others.