When visiting lands we’ve protected, Sarah Spaeth is always on the lookout for signs and tracks of wildlife. Above, she’s pictured admiring some bear marks on a tree at the Duckabush River. Photo by Jessica Plumb.
While touring and getting Valley View Forest ready to open to the public, Sarah noticed the tracks of a dog and a deer side by side on the loop trail.
Sarah Spaeth, the Land Trust’s director of conservation and strategic partnerships, will be leading a session at the North American Wildlife Tracker Conference in late April.
Sarah feels that her introduction to wildlife tracking in 2012 was extremely impactful. “My conservation work has been deeply enriched by studying wildlife tracking over the last nine years,” said Sarah. “Being able to read the tracks and signs that our wildlife brethren have written on the landscape has given me an even better appreciation for the importance of connected wildlife habitat.”
The online conference, which runs from April 23-29, will offer a live weekend-long showcase (via Zoom) of how professionals are applying wildlife tracking across the continent and around the world. From Monday, April 26 through Thursday, April 29 on-demand pre-recorded presentations will be released to conference attendees each morning. Additionally, from 5:30-6:30 p.m on Tuesday and Thursday nights, live Q&A panels featuring many of the guest speakers will be held. Conference registration is underway.
Sarah recently earned her Track & Sign Specialist Certificate through CyberTracker North America, the organization hosting the conference. Over the last few years, she’s been a student and teacher’s assistant in the Wilderness Awareness School’s Wildlife Tracking Intensive Program and has also led basic wildlife tracking workshops for CedarRoot Folk School and Jefferson Land Trust.
A plaster cast of the side-by-side dog and deer tracks at Valley View Forest.
Because of her training, Sarah can now tell exciting stories about who we’re sharing these landscapes with — the wildlife that are living on and moving across the lands we’ve protected and those we’re working to protect.
In her conference session, “The Many Intersections of Conservation and Wildlife Tracking,” Sarah will share personal stories and anecdotes to illustrate the connection she sees between her conservation work and passion for tracking. “Wildlife tracking examples and stories have allowed me to build appreciation and greater excitement for our projects with landowners, our community, and land protection project funders,” said Sarah.
“And the landscape-scale perspective I bring to a tracking class, can help everyone understand the threats for habitat isolation as well as the opportunities for future habitat connectivity that are possible if we can protect critical wildlife corridors.”