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Wildlife Tracking with Montgomery Elementary School


A group of students walk down a path covered in leaf litter, surrounded by trees.
MES students walk down a woodland path.

Last Friday, Montgomery Elementary School students discovered the wonders of wildlife tracking at the Town of Montgomery’s restoration site by the Trout River. The Franklin County NRCD hosted an all-day field trip to introduce students in grades 3 through 8 to wildlife tracking and conservation topics in the field.  


Students rotated through six stations throughout the day to learn about different aspects of wildlife tracking and habitat. The Town of Montgomery’s parcel comprises several diverse ecosystems, including woodland, wetland, and agricultural fields. As a result, students observed wildlife track and sign in a variety of contexts.  


A group of students lift binoculars to their eyes to look off into the distance.
MES students used binoculars to observe birds in the field.

Franklin County NRCD’s ECO AmeriCorps member Kerry Brosnan led an introduction to birding station where students were given the opportunity to use binoculars and observe birds of various species interacting with the landscape. 


Dan Coutu, tracking expert and member of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation, led a station on Abenaki culture and the history of traditional tracking. Students were excited to see plaster tracks of many different species and listen to Dan perform a traditional Abenaki song. 



Hunting educator Keith Sampietro led a station on hunting and conservation where students were able to explore a few sand pits, also known as track traps, and look for wildlife tracks. 


Tracking expert Ana Maria Arroyo brought students to the wetland area on the parcel to observe an abundance of wildlife signs, including beaver and bear. 


A student kneels down to look closely at some tracks in the sand.
Students explored track traps in the sand.

Tying it all together into a broader context, FCNRCD staff member Meryl Braconnier led a station on water quality and wildlife to encourage students to think about wildlife in the context of the Missisquoi watershed. Rissa Stein of the Montgomery Conservation Commission led a station on the parcel’s greater landscape context with a focus on what certain wildlife species need for survival.


When asked about their favorite parts of the day, students mentioned that they were excited to see a chipmunk den in the woods and the abundance of beaver activity in the wetland. 


Thanks to the Upper Missisquoi and Trout River Wild and Scenic Committee for making this event possible.

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