Sunday, February 1, 2015


This is what I call the perfect classroom!
I had heard that Ithaca was gorges, but little did I know that it would be a feast of gorgeousness for my eyes and soul. We held workshops and evening sessions in which our participants included ornithologists, foresters, university students and professors, a massage therapist, a falconer, nature connection mentors, community college staff, wildlife photographers, a veterinarian, whale experts, you name it! It was so stimulating and inspiring to be around that many folks who could chime in with their own knowledge and experience. It got me thinking more deeply about how I can more fully give my own gifts to the world as well. Here are just a few highlights from the weekend.

See how at the top of this twig there are many narrow grooves, whereas at the bottom edge there are wider ones?

Well, young tracker, that's because rabbits have grooved upper incisors! FREAKY DEAKY, aye?

Know what's even freakier? That they not only have grooved incisors, but they have a double layer. Evolution gone crazy!!

We were unsure whether a bound we found in the snow along the marsh was otter or mink. It took one of the participants crawling under the boardwalk to find these beautiful mink tracks.

In deep snow I find it super hard to tell a deer trail from a coyote or fox trail. One feature to look for is what Sue calls "nail drive"--see the points in the front of the track where the nails have driven in?
These are red squirrel incisor marks from where it peeled the shreddy bark off this honeysuckle for winter bedding.

Perhaps the coolest find of the weekend: see how this trail starts out of nowhere, bounds forward and into the base of that tree? That's a FLYING SQUIRREL trail. Yup, it flew out of nowhere, landed and bounded to the tree. Freakin sweet find.
Closeup of the flying squirrel "sitzmark" where it landed (right) and bounded to the left.

And the falconer happened to have his juvie red tail with him one day. SWEET.

Grateful to be able to look this being in the eye. A powerful experience.

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