Tracking on the Edge of Suburbia

 In Apprenticeship, wildlife tracking

When we first pulled up to the area we were going to be tracking for the day, I was a bit shocked. The present environment was a suburban housing development underway, bull-dowsed blocks of land, pushing back on the surrounding forested areas, with boxes in rows multiplying, encroaching on what remains of the surrounding natural environment.

What? I was quite shocked, meeting up on a newly created road, on the border of a huge construction zone. When I had last visted this location, about 5 years ago, it was a completely different area.


I didn’t know what to expect from this place…


It didn’t take long before we found some really great, clear tracks in mud. We started with ID basics, how to narrow-in on the evidence, and explore some possible deductions. We came across raccoon, dog, and coyote tracks, and a red fox trail with scat on top of haybales along the fenceline of the construction zone. Not to mention the birds. The setting was already providing plenty of tracking opportunities and we hadn’t even gone 50 meters from our cars.


I had set an intention of paying special attention to the landscape, and tracking ourselves as we move through it. However, paying more attention to the landscape became a bit distracting for me, I found myself feeling quite emotional about the changes happening there, the impact of human activities and urbanization. Several times I had to stop and take a moment to be with gratitude for what bit of nature is still there for us to explore and interact with, and all the lessons woven into it that unfold.

Throughout the day we discovered many amazing things and had some great discussions. One highlight that added another layer to tracking for me was some confusing tracks that seemed to be a morphing animal, turned out to be a hare and coyote travelling along the same line, in opposite directions, their tracks overlapping each other in some spots.

At the end of the day I realized what a gift it is to track in such an environment, filled with human activity and development. It really showed me how easy it is to find tracks and signs of wildlife, even in such a loud, urban environment. We don’t have to go on long excursions out of the city to find good tracking spots, things are happening all around us, wildlife is continually adapting and finding ways to survive alongside our development. All we have to do is look for it and keep asking ourselves questions.


Sunday, May 14, 2017 – By Lianna Vargas –   2nd year Earth Tracks Tracking Apprentice

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