Winter Tracks

tracks board
On Education Trail in the Outdoor Classroom!
Photo by: Fiona Hicks

Winter can start to feel pretty long in a classroom. Between the cold temperatures, inclimate weather, and short days, it can be pretty difficult to find time to go enjoy the great outdoors. The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness know this as well as anyone, and so we think it’s a good idea to get students out in the field during the winter months to educate them about our local ecology. Enter the Winter Tracks program.

What is Winter Tracks?

Winter Tracks is a daylong field trip experience for students in the counties surrounding the Scotchman Peaks. The goal is to get students out into the field during the winter months in order to deepen their sense of place, build community, and connect to the outdoor world through experiential education. The program is almost completely volunteer driven.  In the 2016-2017 season, with an exception of two staff member instructors, the learning modules were taught entirely by community volunteers who had an expertise in the subject area. Ranging from current and former USFS employees, to a retired high school teacher, and members of partner organizations, our volunteers brought diverse perspectives to the subject matter and showed students that a passion for the outdoors is not just reserved for the stereotypical “tree hugger” environmentalists.

Program history

The Winter Tracks program started in 2014 after a winter carnivore study FSPW participated in came to a close. We had a whole bunch of volunteer energy that we just couldn’t let go to waste. For the inaugural 2014-2015 season, we started with 3 schools and about 150 students and have grown the program significantly since then. Planning for the 2018 season includes

Jeff Pennick teaches students about trees of the Inland Northwest.
Jeff Pennick teaches students about trees of the Inland Northwest.

To learn more about how the program has evolved, follow the links below.

Join us as we make discoveries about the wilderness in the winter!  Contact to get involved.

[In] winter and fall… you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.

-Andrew Wyeth