Wildlife Tracking Evaluation and Certification
The North American CyberTracker Conservation Evaluation System is a tool designed to establish reliable, standardized wildlife tracking skills. The certification structure actively engages participants in the process of identification and interpretation of tracks and signs encountered in the field. The candid environment that defines the discussions of each question during the event provides the opportunity for participants to share their thoughts openly and ask detailed questions of the evaluator. All evaluators are both exceptionally skilled in the field of wildlife tracking and are also capable communicators who draw on cutting edge research in the fields of wildlife biology and tracking to explain tracks and signs in the field.
Evaluations strive to expose participants to the widest possible diversity of tracks and signs in the event locale. The format of certification events is entirely field based. This structure provides participants with focused mentorship from evaluators in the practical observational techniques and thought processes required to efficiently and accurately interpret tracks and signs found in typical field conditions.
Cybertracker Conservation’s Track and Sign Certification is relatively simple and entirely field-based, two-day course. The Evaluator selects numerous tracks and signs discovered in the field and asks participants various questions about them. Each participant is allowed to inspect the sign, search for any additional evidence to help interpret it, and answer the question. After each participant has answered a question, the entire group discusses it and the evaluator points out the features that allow for conclusive identification of the track or sign in question. Evaluations have a minimum of 40 and maximum 70 questions on them depending on field condition and each question is ranked in difficulty based on a set of objective criteria which influences the scoring of participants’ performance. At the end of two days of evaluation, certificates are awarded as appropriate and everyone who receives a certificate is recorded in a public database of Certified trackers. For a complete outline of the certification process, various certification levels, and for a list of certified trackers from around the world visit: cybertracker.org/tracking/evaluations.
The course evaluator, David Moskowitz, works as a biologist, photographer, and outdoor educator. He is the author of two books, Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest and Wolves in the Land of Salmon. He has contributed his technical expertise to a wide variety of wildlife studies regionally and in the Canadian and U.S. Rocky mountains, focusing on using tracking and other non-invasive methods to study wildlife ecology and promote conservation. He helped establish the Cascade Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project, a citizen science effort to search for and monitor rare and sensitive wildlife in the Cascades and other Northwest wildlands. Find out more about his work here.
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