Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, Inc.

Conservation Through Community

(518) 712-9211 |

Postal: PO Box 790, Averill Park, NY 12018

Office: 17 Old Route 66, Averill Park, NY 12018

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background photo by Nate Simms

Winter Tracking Series

get to know your wild neighbors, build on your tracking skills

Pre-registration and payment required

Join local tracking experts Dan Yacobellis and Patricia Liddle for a series of three workshops to learn animal tracks or to enhance your skills. All are welcome to attend one or more workshops; each workshop will add a new layer to the tracking experience. These workshops are jointly sponsored by the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, Rensselaer Land Trust, and Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center.

Cost is $20 for each workshop. Space is limited, and you must register and pay in advance. Register at 

Questions? Contact Annie at


January 12, 10 am - 1 pm:  Tracking Basics with Josh Wood at Albert Family Community Forest, Nassau. We will focus on learning key characteristics in track identification, and begin to unravel various track patterns and how they correspond to the way the animal was moving, providing us with insight into its behavior and a window into its life. We will also look at other types of animal sign, gaining an increased awareness of the wildlife that surrounds us. Read more and REGISTER HERE for January 12 tracking

February 16, 9:30-4:00, with half-day option: Bringing Tracking Home with Dan Yacobellis at Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center, Grafton. We’ll start off with a one-hour primer on how to use your SmartPhone to record tracking information. Then we head out into the woods. We will stay close to the Center until noon, when, anyone who wants to can leave and the rest of us will head deeper into the woods to record as much sign as we can find! Then we’ll put it all on an online map for you to view from home. Read more and REGISTER HERE for Feb 16 tracking

March 10, 9:30-4:00, with half-day option: Animal Tracking in Late Winter with Dan Yacobellis at Poestenkill Community Forest, Poestenkill. See what changes the lengthening days bring to animal activity. We will continue adding information to our online tracking map. Anyone who was not present at the February workshop will get a brief overview and handouts to help them get started mapping their own wildlife tracking observations. Option to leave at noon before everyone else heads deeper into the woods. Read more and REGISTER HERE for March 10 tracking

Please read carefully before registering:

Wildlife tracking requires some hiking with long periods of standing while you examine the tracks you find (this is when your feet get cold!).  We never know what we will find or how far we will actually hike. Folks need to be in good physical condition and have adequate winter gear to be outside for the day. Temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler on the Plateau than lower elevations. Please plan on wearing what you think will keep you warm, and then add two extra layers in a back pack to bring along. Hand and foot warmers are always a good idea.

Bring snowshoes: Again, snowpack can be much deeper on the Plateau than surrounding areas.

Bring food: Plan on eating lunch outside if you are attending the full day programs. There are no indoor facilities. Pack high energy, nutrient dense foods: nuts, cheese, energy bars, dark chocolate, nut butters, oranges are all good choices. Remember to drink adequate water through the day. It is easy to become dehydrated in the winter as we tend to not feel thirsty. 

Refunds: will gladly be given up to 7 days prior to the event. After that, refunds will be given only if we are able to fill your place. 

We are very excited to offer this Tracking Series this year with Josh and Dan! Whether you're new to wildlife tracking or one of our regulars, you're in for a great day in the woods. 


Dan Yacobellis runs Tamakoce Wilderness Programs in Grafton, immersing children and adults in wilderness living experiences. He is a long-time Plateau resident and teacher, and has led many tracking outings on the Plateau.

Josh Wood is the Program Director of Flying Deer Nature Center in East Chatham. He’s an avid tracker, naturalist and wilderness skills mentor. He leads a monthly tracking club in the East Chatham area.