2017 Conference

OUR ​​​​​​​​​​TOPICS

  1. Wildlife Conservation
  2. Animal Behavior
  1. Identifying Tracks & Animal Signs
  2. Spiritual & Cultural Lessons in Tracking
  1. Scientific Investigations
  2. Field Applications


  1. David Brown
    David Brown
    Professional Wildlife Tracker Published Author
  2. Lee Earl
    Lee Earl
    Naturalist Environmental Educator
  3. Nate Harvey
    Nate Harvey
    Professional Wildlife Tracker
  4. Ben Kilham
    Ben Kilham
    Keynote Speaker Black Bear Specialist/Rehabilitator
  5. George Leoniak
    George Leoniak
    Professional Wildlife Tracker
  6. Laura Marx
    Laura Marx
    Forest Ecologist Nature Conservancy, MA Chapter
  7. Sophie Mazowita
    Sophie Mazowita
    Naturalist Environmental Educator
  8. Sally Naser
    Sally Naser
    Conservation Restriction Program Manager: The Trustees
  9. Matthew O'Mara
    Matthew O'Mara
    Northeast Wildlife Trackers Committee Member
  10. Janet Pesaturo
    Janet Pesaturo
    Conservation Biologist Writer
  11. Dr. Julie Richburg
    Dr. Julie Richburg
    Regional Ecologist: The Trustees
  12. Linda Spielman
    Linda Spielman
    Environmental Educator
  13. Dr. Brandi Van Roo
    Dr. Brandi Van Roo
    Biology Professor Framingham State University


Sat Schedule
Sun Schedule
  1. SAT 10/21
    9:00 -10:30 AM The Social Black Bear: What Bears Have Taught Me About Being Human
    Black bears, thought to be solitary, have a different type of social behavior that possibly parallels early human behavior. They show evidence of reciprocal altruism, matri-linear hierarchy, and a mix of intentional and emotional communication. Bears can live for as many as forty years, which allows them long-term benefits from forming relationships with fellow cooperators
    Ben Kilham- Keynote speaker
  2. SAT 10/21
    10:45 -11:25 AM Tracking Mammals on Solar Arrays
    As part of a larger study of the impacts of solar arrays on field communities, I sampled mammal species composition of solar and control fields using box traps, track plates, and wildlife cameras. Initially, I mentored undergraduate research students through a pilot season, which taught them these valuable sampling techniques (as well as the challenges of field work). The following two summers, I conducted larger, more exhaustive surveys. Here I will provide some preliminary data, present samples of track plates and camera shots, and discuss some of the challenges of design and analysis that I discovered while using these sampling techniques.
    Dr. Brandi Van Roo
  3. SAT 10/21
    11:30 AM -12:10 PM The Berkshire Wildlife Linkage: How wildlife tracking, computer models, and partnerships are building a regional wildlife corridor
    The Berkshire Wildlife Linkage (aka Green Mts. to Hudson Highlands Linkage), is one of 9 wildlife corridors that allow wildlife to move across the Northern Appalachian Mountains. In the winter of 2013/14, a combination of wildlife tracking, computer modeling (Critical Linkages), and wildlife cameras were used to better understand wildlife movement across several priority roads within the Berkshire Wildlife Linkage. This presentation will recap that study and show how we continue to use wildlife tracking as a tool to ground truth other data and inspire habitat protection and infrastructure improvements across the Linkage.
    Laura Marx
Click here for course offerings
Click here for course offerings
  1. SUN 10/22
    10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. FIELD SESSION: QUABBIN RESERVOIR
    Quabbin Reservation is a huge natural area comprising the watershed of the central Massachusetts reservoir. Limited human and vehicle intrusion allows for abundant wildlife activity. This program will search out, identify and interpret tracks, trails and sign in one of David’s favorite tracking sites in the Quabbin.
    David Brown
  2. SUN 10/22
    Join us for a day of tracking at the Quabbin Reservoir! Fall is an exciting time to explore the forest, field, wetland, and shoreline of Central Massachusetts, for many animals are extremely active. Small mammals busily gather and store great quantities of mast for winter consumption, while fox, coyote, bobcat, and fisher hunt for these hoarding rodents. Black bears feed with great gusto to fatten up for hibernation. The moose's breeding season is drawing to a close, while deer just are gearing up for the rut, and both species are enjoying the mast crop of hardwood forests. Otter mothers lead their young of the year on fishing trips, and their shoreline family latrine sites become active once again. A new layer of leaf litter creates a challenge for trackers, but we are bound to find sign of many of these animals during this busy time of year. Come learn about our wild neighbors in the clean, crisp air and colorful autumn landscape.
    Janet Pesaturo and Susan Fly
  3. SUN 10/22
    FIELD SESSION: Federated Women's Club State Forest, Petersham/New Salem
    The walk will be mainly in the Federated Women's Club State Forest which borders Quabbin. The animal sign is significant with sufficient variability in the terrain to offer habitat for those who like being near water (beaver, otter, mink) to those who prefer higher and a little more remote terrain (bobcat, porcupine, etc.) Our potential area of exploration is flat, along water to moderate to steeper variability. There will be some potential bushwhacking.
    Paul Wanta
  1. SAT 10/21
    1:00 -2:30 PM Concurrent Session I
  2. SAT 10/21
    2:35 -4:00 PM Concurrent Session II
  3. SUN 10/22
    Want to meet some local Trackers? Join the Assabet Keeping Track Group at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center at the Visitor's Center. It’s only 30 minutes away from Mass Wildlife! We’ll be out around 2-3 hours but you can depart any time. This will be an unguided opportunity for everyone in the group to contribute to the learning. There is no registration fee for this informal gathering. For more information and to register, please contact Ceil Mikalac directly at cmik27@verizon.net or 508-881-9126.
    Ceil Mikalak
  4. SUN 10/22
    Together, we will take our knowledge from the workshop on Saturday and collect our own GPS data and photographs in the field. We will bring this data back inside, download it onto our laptops, and create our own custom maps and tracking journals. The goal of this session is to help the tracker take advantage of current technology to get more from your time in the field. Laptops and GPS devices will not be included, so please make sure to bring your own or share with another participant.
    Matthew O'Mara


Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife
1 Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, MA 01581

It's A Mystery to Me
Back by popular demand! Have you come across any new or unusual discoveries while you have been out tracking over the past year?  If so, bring them in to display at the conference! "It's A Mystery To Me" will be a featured attraction at the conference. For exhibit rules and form, click below. 
Download Here