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Course Catalog

Protected: The Cove Movie – Video Interview with Joe Chisholm, Production Manager

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OJT at the Teaching Nature – Professional Training for Outdoor Educators

My OJT Experience by Ben Kleiber

Teachers training week at Wolf Camp and the Conservation College is full of preparing for classes and rapid-fire teaching full of information. It can be stressful at times but ends up being the most valuable week of the summer.

Working with all ages for a week gives an entirely different sense of how to teach and interact with kids than almost any other experience. Being with the kids for upwards of six hours a day and teaching them entirely new skills also allows all the Wolf Camp instructors to improve their teaching skills . . . → Read More: OJT at the Teaching Nature – Professional Training for Outdoor Educators

Sensory Awareness – If You Learn Nothing Else!

Child of Air – Artwork used with permission by Joanna Powell Colbert of GaianTarot.com

Do you get a vague feeling that you hike past a lot of wildlife without seeing it – the deer hiding in the thicket, the coyote silently watching your every move, or the minutes-old cougar tracks saying she heard you coming? Do you wish you could be as good as those wildlife photographers or famous naturalists who tell stories of countless wildlife encounters that seem unreal?

It is true that some people have a natural aptitude for putting themselves in situations that attract wonderful experiences, . . . → Read More: Sensory Awareness – If You Learn Nothing Else!

Tracking Animals for Fun, Photography and the Hunt

Explorer of Earth by Joanna Colbert and used with permission for the Wolf College

It All Comes Back To Tracking – The Most Critical Outdoor Skill

Explorer of Earth by Joanna Colbert of Wolf College instructor and used with permission.

If you can find it, you don’t have to make it. But what’s more, tracking is exciting as a mystery. You can discover the story of what happened in nature before you got there, so next time you’re on the trail, see if you can spot an animal track. Don’t try to identify it. At least not at first. Jumping to a conclusion about the identity of a track unwise, and it’s . . . → Read More: Tracking Animals for Fun, Photography and the Hunt

Identify Birds Quickly by Sight, Sound & Behavior using Bird Feeders, Field Guides & Apps

Bald Eagle photo by Kimberly M Chisholm. Bald eagles have a distinct companion call in flight when returning to the nest, among other vocalizations.

Wolf Camp lead instructor Patrick Wiley birding in Northern Virginia during Wolf College trip to Washington DC

This article is being published in honor of the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count. Check out its great video instructions and online submissions tool.

Identifying Birds by Sound & Behavior

If you’re not already excited by birds and bird voices, check out my previous article on bird language which will teach you when predators are lurking around, when birds are mating, when chicks have hatched, where the exact edges of their territories lie, and so much more.

Fortunately, recognition of bird . . . → Read More: Identify Birds Quickly by Sight, Sound & Behavior using Bird Feeders, Field Guides & Apps

Why Birds Sing & What Birds Say – Their Languages, Voices & Vocalizations

Listening to Cedar Waxwing Bird Song - Artwork by Joanna Powell Colbert

Gaian Tarot artwork by Joanna Colbert with the author as model in willow tree with songbirds.

This article is being published in honor of the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count. Check out its great video instructions and online submissions tool.

Nature’s Internet

Of all animals, birds in particular are in constant communication with one another. We can take advantage of their vocalizations to find not only them, but also to find the animals they call out. This activity is not an exact science, since one kind of bird call can sometimes have multiple meanings, but it doesn’t matter. . . . → Read More: Why Birds Sing & What Birds Say – Their Languages, Voices & Vocalizations

Reviews of the Top 10 Professional Wildlife Tracking Books

It’s been a long time coming. The great Haitian-American naturalist John James Audubon hand-painted The Birds of America between 1927-1939 and with it, he set the standard for modern field guides. Now there are several excellent field guides to the birds, but it has only been recently that field guides to plants and other animals have risen to that level of user-friendly excellence. The following is a list of my Top 10 wildlife tracking book compilations, with must-have field guides in bold:

1948 Ellsworth Jaeger: Tracks and Trailcraft by Ellsworth Jaeger, first published in 1948, is the first . . . → Read More: Reviews of the Top 10 Professional Wildlife Tracking Books

Tips for Eating Wild Edible Insects

Young Man at Wolf Camp eating Chocolate Covered Mealworms

All of us have eaten insects, whether we knew it or not. As a kid, I even ate a worm on the playground to impress and gross out my friends. It’s not really a big deal. Unfortunately, adults who spent their whole lives growing up in western culture, now consider the notion of eating insects nothing short of repulsive. The truth of the matter is, insects have be an integral part of the food chain for millions of years, and as the United Nations just reported, we should start eating . . . → Read More: Tips for Eating Wild Edible Insects

Eating From The Seashore: Seaweeds & Shellfish of the Salish Sea

Chris-Chisholm-holding-edible-bullwhip-kelp

Group of day campers doing the seaweed challenge on Lummi Island.

A day on the seashore is fun, but a if you know some basic information about seaweeds and shellfish, then a day is never enough. In fact, you could live on the beach and never see everything that’s going on. “Edge” areas are always the places where the greatest number of species cross paths, and there is no greater edge than the seashore.

Seashores have been the ultimate place for me to teach classes. After 25 years of researching and teaching nature, and living near the beach, I . . . → Read More: Eating From The Seashore: Seaweeds & Shellfish of the Salish Sea

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wisconsin Wolf?

Detail of Wolf Artwork in Justice by Joanna Colbert

Article written by Dr. Thomas P. Chisholm, Col., USA, Ret.

Identifying tracks of wild animals is easiest in new snow when the temperature is moderate on a sunny day. March is often the best month when the snow is deep and the weather is warmer. Tracking on skis is pleasant but snowshoes are best when the brush is thick under the trees and the balsams are dense. Both are good exercise, burn calories rapidly and the thrill of identifying a bobcat or a fox is an adventure.

Finding the large prints of an elusive wolf that end with at the . . . → Read More: Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wisconsin Wolf?

Top 10 List of Natural Navigation, Lostproofing & Orienteering Tips, Tricks & Advice

Hiker Reading Old School Map - Artowrk by Joanna Powell Colbert

Wolf College Top 10 Lostproofing Skills Plan your route and risk manage it (empower all to say “stop, is it worth the risk, and if so, let’s make a mitigation plan) Every person needs to bring the 10 essentials. See https://www.mountaineers.org/learn/how-to/the-ten-essentials Always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Then go there! If you do this, then you know someone (lots of someones) will come looking for you. Whenever you change your plans, stop and go back to number one. Never separate from your party unless there is a paramount reason and all parties go back . . . → Read More: Top 10 List of Natural Navigation, Lostproofing & Orienteering Tips, Tricks & Advice

Signs of Spring: Great Blue Herons Nesting, Stinging Nettles Emerging, Indian Plums Budding and So Much More!

February 12, 2013 – Chris and I headed out this morning for a walk at our local park to see if there were any signs of spring to be found among the local flora and fauna. The first thing I noticed were these lovely Red Elderberry buds (Sambucus racemosa) just waiting to burst forth. There’s a volunteer Red Elderberry in my garden right now and it has already started to leaf out. But this particular tree is along Clark’s Creek, so perhaps it’s a little behind because the temperature is a few degrees colder next to the water.

. . . → Read More: Signs of Spring: Great Blue Herons Nesting, Stinging Nettles Emerging, Indian Plums Budding and So Much More!

First Monthly Outdoor Skills Newsletter publishes March 4th, 2013

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– Where to find current hot wildlife spots and more – Previews of program ideas and upcoming skills videos – Mini skills newsletter workshops from our workshop hand-outs – Special program discount offers for things like helping us design a newsletter cover:)