Tracking winter wildlife in the snow for conservation

Animal tracks on Meeting Lake 03, SK (Photo by NCC)

Animal tracks on Meeting Lake 03, SK (Photo by NCC)

On Saturday, February 16, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) will be holding an event for volunteers to learn how to identify winter wildlife tracks. This Conservation Volunteers event will take place on NCC’s Fairy Hill property — only a 32-kilometre drive north of Regina on Highway 6 — from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers will learn different ways to identify wildlife tracks in the snow by exploring Fairy Hill with Diana Ghikas, with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Philip Brass from Peepeekisis First Nation and Darryl Chamakese from Kawacatoose First Nation.

Using both science and Indigenous perspectives, volunteers will learn how to identify winter wildlife tracks by using information such as print size and shape, gait, straddle, stride and habitat. Fairy Hill is home to a diversity of wildlife, including moose, coyote, elk, red fox, American black bear, grouse and deer. The information collected at this event will also be important for NCC’s management plan for Fairy Hill.

“During winter, it can be hard to find opportunities and the motivation to get outside and connect with nature,” says Kayla Burak, engagement manager for NCC’s Saskatchewan Region. “However, nature in the wintertime offers a different kind of tranquility and beauty than in other seasons. This is a great opportunity to explore the Qu’Appelle Valley in its winter glory. Once you learn how to identify wildlife tracks, tracking is something that you can do by yourself or with your family and friends, in your own backyard or in your local park.”

Anyone is welcome to join NCC’s Conservation Volunteers events. For more information, visit conservationvolunteers.ca.

Facts

•    Fairy Hill consists of native grasslands, woodlands, river and flood plains that are home to aquatic and terrestrial species and are a haven for visitors wishing to enjoy this area. These 1,642 acres (665 hectares) of valleys, hillside and bottomland are conserved by NCC for the long term.
•    Fairy Hill makes for a perfect escape-from-the-city day trip. A trail circles through grasslands of beautiful flora and forests of aspen trees. Part of the trail crosses a gorgeous lookout on a hill, where stunning views of the valley await.
•    NCC provides public on-foot access to most of its properties, including Fairy Hill.

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