WILDLIFE BACKSTORIES: TRACKS, TRAILS AND SIGNS WORKSHOP
September along the South Fork of Birch Creek is a magical time – golden leaves flicker in the breeze and illuminate hillsides as elk bugle in the distance and animal tracks frequent the trails, reminding us that we are not the only ones traveling these woods. Join us for our inaugural wildlife tracking, trailing and animal sign identification workshop with Lisa Flowers and Eric Bergman where we will investigate the habits of the bear, wolf, cat, deer, elk and other animals as they prepare for the oncoming winter.
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The workshop takes place at our Circus Creek Base Camp, a 10.75-mile hike from the trailhead. The hike in follows Swift Dam Reservoir and later, the South Fork of Birch Creek to our camp. While the trail is overall river grade, there are several sections with small elevation gains and drops. Once at camp, you have the comforts of a wall tent and wood stove for a communal workshop and eating space, as well as several other features that make your stay more comfortable.
Each day, we’ll set out in search of tracks and animal sign, and you’ll learn about their backstory and how to interpret what we find. Eric and Lisa will lead us on our tracking hunts and present several mini lectures and hands on activities (both in the field and in camp) explaining the habits of the mammals that live in the area.
The days spent at base camp will be a combination of track and sign hunting, discussion and hiking, while the nights will include hearty meals, beverages and lively conversation about the day’s findings.
If you love fall in Montana, are curious to learn more about tracking, and like the idea of hiking out of a base camp, this is an opportunity you do not want to miss.
ABOUT YOUR GUIDES
Lisa Blood Flowers, Naturalist and Guide
Lisa was born in Richmond, Virginia, move to Golden, Colorado at the age of five where her father attended the Colorado School of Mines. She and her family moved to the Flathead Valley, where she attended Flathead High School and Flathead Valley Community College. Her education includes earning a bachelor’s degree in botany, masters in science teaching, and she is a certified State of Montana science – biology, earth science, general science – educator.
In 2007, Lisa earned her Ph.D. in Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana – Missoula while working as the Director of Conservation Education for the Boone and Crockett Club on the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch west of Dupuyer. For over 20 years her work has focused on teaching K-12 science, conservation and wildlife education primarily in the outdoors. She also served as coordinator for several regional and collaborative outreach entities: the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem Education Consortium, the Roundtable of Crown of the Continent, and the Front Range Conservation Education Consortium. Lisa has served and continues to serve as a dedicated volunteer on many boards, working groups and councils such as the Old Trail Museum, Choteau Performing Arts League, MFWP Region 4 Citizen Advisory Council, Montana Envirothon, Montana Environmental Education Association, Private Lands Public Wildlife Council and the Cinnabar Foundation.
Lisa is now living in Great Falls and works as the Vice President of Advancement at the University of Providence. Her philanthropic work is focused on developing partnerships with local supporters, growing the universities’ endowment, and increasing the number of student scholarships awarded each year. Her passions are in the education and conservation arenas. Her preference is to be outdoors enjoying what she loves – hiking, biking, birding, boating, skiing, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and gardening. The sparkle in her eyes and her warm smile portrays her sense of place and fortune to be able to share a meaningful life with family, friends, and others in Montana and beyond!
Eric Bergman, Naturalist and Guide
Raised in central Montana, Eric remembers being about nine years old for his first overnight backpacking trip in the Scapegoat Wilderness. A sleeping pad, tent, and backpacking stove that his father purchased in the early 1980s are among the treasures in his attic. The stove is still in service. Although he considers himself functionally domesticated, wild settings are where Eric feels most at home. He agrees with Ed Abbey on the point that, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”
University studies were in biology/ecology and subsequently science education. Eric worked full time as a naturalist in Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front for eight years. Although he hasn’t kept track, he guesstimates walking well over 10,000 miles in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and traveling many other uncounted days on rivers and landscapes elsewhere.
Currently Eric enjoys the challenges of navigating the interface of nature and civilization in the operation of a small, diversified farm focused on biological, regenerative practices. He also works for an organization that assists in the development of business cooperatives. The opportunity to spend time outside teaching and learning with familiar faces and with the newly-met is something Eric is always grateful for.