Become a Berkshire Wildlife Tracker

Become a Berkshire Wildlife Tracker

We are invited to attend a presentation by acclaimed presenter and wildlife tracker, Susan Morse, to learn more about how climate change is affecting wildlife in the far north. It will be held on Thursday, December 5 at 6:30 PM in the Paterson Field House at Berkshire Community College, 1350 West St., Pittsfield, MA. Tickets are $5.00 at the door – students with ID free. There will also be an opportunity to sign up to become a Berkshire Wildlife Tracker.

Susan Morse of Keeping Track® will present: Animals of the North: What Will Global Climate Change Mean for Them? Canada lynx, moose, American marten, caribou, polar bears, arctic fox and arctic marine and waterfowl ecology are some of the species and subjects covered in this show.

According to Jane Winn of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), this program is not about climate change itself, or even how it will affect us; rather, it is designed to inform audiences about ways in which northern wildlife species are already being affected – and the serious challenges they will face in the future. Attendees will not be overwhelmed with bad news. Instead, this program will devote equal time sharing remarkable images of animals and their northern habitats—all in the spirit of Jane Goodall’s “reason for hope.” The intent is to inspire young and old alike, to join in the vital crusade to change our fossil fuel-burning ways, conserve natural resources, and share a healthy planet with all that lives.

After the presentation, BEAT is offering the opportunity for people who want to get out doors, have fun, and work hard to protect our wildlands by joining the Berkshire Wildlife Trackers program. Participants sign on for six full-day training workshops in the field plus two classroom sessions spread over one year.

During the training, the following issues are addressed: detection and interpretation of tracks and sign of agreed upon focal species for your region (bear, moose, bobcat, fisher, mink, and otter), conservation biology as it relates to data collection and resulting land protection, forest ecology and plant identification as they relate to mammal uses of habitat, ‘search imaging’ – Sue Morse’s technique for predictably looking in the right places and finding sign, and an introduction to science-based field studies. The Keeping Track Project and Data Management Protocol is distributed to all trackers, to serve as the manual for developing a monitoring program and provide standards for data collection.

“By engaging people in monitoring their local wildlife, Morse turns the notoriously abstract issues of biodiversity and habitat fragmentation into an earthy, firsthand relationship with wild animals on their home turf” says Audubon magazine.

The presentation is sponsored by Berkshire Community College Green Team, MCLA Department of Environmental Studies, Bard College at Simon’s Rock Sustainability Studies, BEAT, Berkshire Wildlife Trackers, Project Native, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, Housatonic Valley Association, The Nature Conservancy, The Trustees of Reservations, Green Berkshires, Greenagers, the Climate Reality Project, and the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen.

A physician friend joined this program the last time Morse came to town and he is absolutely having a ball tracking, filming, etc. For the last couple of years he has been emailing me some remarkable pictures of the wild critters that share the Berkshires with us. Many thanks, Doc.

For more information contact Jane Winn at Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) at jane@thebeatnews.org, or phone 413-230-7321.*****

Hunting season is upon us and it may be a good time to refresh our memories on some statutes. Any landowner permitting use of his or her property for recreation without charging a fee is not liable for injuries to recreational users of the property except in cases of willful, wanton or reckless conduct by the owner. (MGL28, Section 17C).

Hunter harassment is against the state law. Remember, you paid for a legal permit to hunt; it is called a hunting license. Report violations to the MA Environmental Police (800)632-8075 or to state or local police. Be prepared to provide a description of violators and/or a description and license plate number of the vehicle. (If you have an I-phone and can safely do so, take a picture).

The archery deer hunting season ends this Saturday; however, if you insist on getting your deer with a bow, you can still do so during the shotgun season which opens on December 2. Sorry I can’t give an update on how the archery season is going. With the new on-line reporting system, such figures are not available. Guess we will have to wait until DFW releases them.

I should be able to get interim figures during the two week shotgun deer season. That is because shotgun deer hunters must check their deer in at an official check station for biological data collection and not on-line. A list of those stations and operating hours can be found on the MassWildlife web site. You will see that many check stations have different hours for the first week of shotgun deer season. Some have additional hours, whereas others are asked to not check deer so that deer can be funneled to nearby check stations to increase biological data collection. Special checking hours for the first week of shotgun season are listed on the website..

Also ending this Saturday are the pheasant and grouse hunting seasons. *****

Another reminder, you only have until December 6 to comment on the proposed new DCR regulations which determine what the public can/cannot do while visiting their parks and recreational facilities. If you do not like the proposals, don’t complain to your fellow sportsmen or to the DFW. You must contact Laura Dietz, DCR, 251 Causeway St., Suite 600 Boston, MA or email : regs.comments@state.ma.us. If you choose to do nothing, then don’t complain later.

for Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone/fax: (413)637-1818.

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