One of the most enjoyable outdoor family activities is tracking. While hiking, or at the beach, kids will notice the geese, duck and gull prints. They will also see other tracks, but not realize that they are tracks of animals.
You don’t have to be an expert tracker yourself to instruct kids to be aware of the tracks and what animal made the tracks. A Field Guide to Tracking Animals in the Snow 599 F729F, and Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read tracks and signs 599 R467T are available at the downtown library (link). The excellent field guide, Animal Tracks of Indiana 491.479 EDE is available at the West Lafayette Library (link).
Of course you can also purchase these books, check with the Wild Bird Shoppe (link) as they have a selection of nature books. You can get Animal Tracks of Indiana from the DNR gift shop (link). If you are visiting Turkey Run, the hotel gift shop usually carries that book. There are also other good field guides.
To help folks with this activity, check out this week’s Wednesdays in the Wild. The free program returns from its holiday hiatus with this fun program.
Any stream, whether at Happy Hollow, Battlefield, Wildcat Creek or Prophetstown parks are great places to start. Water fowl, beaver, raccoon, muskrat and others are easy to spot in the mud. In cold weather, prints get “locked” in the mud. Snow provides a great beginner venue for tracking.
Jan. 15. Wednesday in the Wild. 1-3 p.m., Lily Nature Center. Winter Animal Tracks and Trails. Tippecanoe County Naturalist, Mary Cutler, will present this program. She’ll do and indoor “how to” session. After the indoor program, folks will go out on the property to put those skills to work. Dress for the weather……….shorts or ski pants, whatever is more appropriate!