FAQ

rmo__2019__10.06-border-field__l1050551.

1. Who should take this class?
2. Should I take this class instead of some other class?
3. Is this class easy?

4. Do I have to live in the southwestern USA to be accepted into the course?
5. How do I apply for admission?
6. How can I get admitted?
7. How does this class differ from other tracking classes?
8. How good will I be at track & sign identification after taking this class?
9. Will I get a certificate if I take this class?

10. When making a track or sign identification, should I stick with my first impression or should I reevaluate?

11. What are the primary goals and teaching approach?

12. What is your success rate?

1. Who should take this class?
This course is designed for inexperienced trackers who have a strong interest in learning to be able to identify the tracks and signs left by wildlife.

2. Should I take this class instead of some other class?
Not necessarily. . In-person classes offered by top-notch  tracking schools provide a superior experience. Our courses are primarily intended for persons who do not have the opportunity to attend such classes. We suggest that interested persons look at the list of tracking schools at
NatureTracking.

3. Is this class easy?
Students shoul
d expect to devote about 3 hours per week to study and exercises and to remain mentally engaged for the duration of the course. It is difficult to catch up again after getting behind.

4. Do I have to live in the southwestern USA to be accepted into the course?

No. We focus on species found in San Diego County because we have thousands of photographic examples of tracks and signs from that area. The approach that we use to track & sign identification is applicable to species from any region.

5. How do I apply for admission?
Make an inquiry by using the contact form at this site.


6. How can I get admitted?
We grant priority in admission to applicants who are making a contribution to wildlife conservation. This can be as simple as being a member of iNaturalist and having made a number of observations. There are a wide range of activities that qualify. Applicants who are not involved in wildlife conservation are placed on a waiting list. Open slots are populated from the waiting list before class begins.

7. How does this class differ from other tracking classes?
This course emphasizes detailed observation and objective comparison of the track features of multiple species to come to a conclusion in track & sign identification. It is highly analytical.

8. How good will I be at track & sign identification after taking this class?
That can't be predicted. Students who complete the course will have acquired skill in using multi-factor reasoning in track & sign identification. However, it is essential that students supplement their learning with time in the field. In our experience, it is the students that have the strongest interest and who consistently take the initiative to go tracking in the field that become the best trackers. This is true whether or not they take our course. Our course simply seems to accelerate a particular learning phase for such individuals.

9. Will I get a certificate if I take this class?
Students who follow instructions, answer all exercise questions, and who respond to all follow-up questions receive a completion certificate. These students are also entitled to observe (i.e., no interaction) all future offerings of the course.

10. When making a track or sign identification, should I stick with my first impression or should I reevaluate?
We teach a method of track & sign identification that encourages objective reassessment of one's initial impression. Many people believe that you are better off trusting your first impression. If you believe that then see this.

11. What are the primary goals and teaching approach?

Our overall goal is to increase the number of individuals who will use track and sign identification in wildlife conservation. The teaching approach is to challenge students to identify the maker of tracks and signs that are shown in photographs. A large portion of these are difficult to identify and many are ambiguous. Our teaching goal is to inculcate the process of identifying features in tracks and signs that distinguish the maker from other candidate species with which it can be confused. This often requires more thought and reasoning than is expected. Many students become confused and frustrated. This is intentional and we believe that the deepest learning results from resolving confusion. 

12. What is your success rate?

The answer depends on how you measure success. The course has an dropout rate of at least 50%. The sources of attrition appear to be interference by unexpected life events, lack of sufficient long-term interest in tracking, and mismatches of students to our teaching approach and goals. Some students simply become too frustrated. We do not have an objective measure of success because we have no way of assessing our impact on wildlife conservation. However, some of our graduates are among the best trackers in their regions and they are enthusiastic contributors to wildlife conservation.