One of the practices that we introduce at Nature Connect is tracking. Tracking is a tool that allows us to connect to the bigger picture of what is happening around us. In each of our lineages, we have trackers. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here today. Historically, as a species, we would track animals, not only as a mode of hunting, but also as a necessity for protection. The movement of animals could lead us to safety and the growth pattern of plants could lead us to water sources, among many other benefits. Today, its practice brings a depth to our relationship with the outdoors.
Initially, we may just look at a track, or impression in the ground, and ask questions: Who made this track? What is the shape? Are the edges sharp or fuzzy? Is there anything in the track (ie. debris, water, etc.)? We can also track the life of a plant or tree over time.
We would love to suggest some ways that you can begin ‘tracking’ the environment just outside your door with your children. Do you have a yard or a nearby park? A great suggestion made in the following article is to create an overall species list. Choose a category (mammals, birds, trees, low-growing plants, etc.) and use local resources or the internet to create a master list of what is present in your region. Then, as you go for walks or explore your backyard, begin asking questions about that leaf or the colors of a bird that you see, and gradually, you can see what species live just outside your door. Tracking is a gateway experience into deepening yours and your child's relationship to nature.
Please read the following article for more information and inspiration. And please share with us in the comments any things that you are noticing or questions you have!