Cold Hollow to Canada’s Wild Path’s Tracking Project

In 2012 Cold Hollow to Canada launched a program to get citizens involved in identifying wildlife crossings in their area. The program was based on an identical program originally put in place by the Salisbury Conservation Commission in Salisbury, Vermont. Cold Hollow to Canada heard about this program through a presentation given by Jim Andrews and decided to initiate a similar wildlife crossing program in the seven Vermont towns within their Northern Forest project area.

The Wild Path’s Tracking project itself promotes citizen science and the involvement of citizens in conservation. Interested citizens from the area can attend three half-day workshops where they are presented with wildlife tracks and are taught how to identify the species that the tracks belong to. After the citizen completes all three of these workshops, he or she is then asked to monitor a specific wildlife crossing or transect in his or her area. The data from this monitoring can then be entered into the program’s online database by the citizen who collected it.

This online database provides data on the location of wildlife crossings and the wildlife species that are either inhabiting or traveling through the area. Additionally, as the citizens involved with the program collect data, volunteers from Cold Hollow to Canada follow-up on their work periodically to ensure that they are collecting their allotted data accurately. Ultimately, this project is working towards the ultimate conservation goal of compiling a database of wildlife crossing data that can be used for future management decisions.

Project Contact: Charlie Hancock
Project Contact Email:
Project Lifespan: 2012-present
Bakersfield, Belvidere, Enosburg, Fletcher, Montgomery, Northfield, Waterville
Regional Planning Commision: None
citizen_science, outreach, walks_and_talks, wildlife
Project Accomplishments:

The Wild Path’s Tracking program provides a way to get people outside and into nature. Additionally, the collection and compilation of wildlife tracks found in the area may help inform future conservation in relation to wildlife crossings and local species.

Project Partners:

Cold Hollow to Canada
Salisbury Conservation Commission
Arrowwood Environmental
Staying Connected Initiative

Critical to Success:

The Wild Path’s Tracking program would not be useful without the web database. Therefore, the time and effort put into designing the web database was extremely critical to the program’s success. Additionally, the continued engagement and interest of the citizens that were previously trained along with new and incoming citizens are necessary to keep the program going successfully.


The Wild Path’s Tracking program has encountered many challenges while trying to keep the project ongoing and useful. Maintaining motivation for citizens involved in the project is a huge challenge due to the fact that all graduates from the tracking course are responsible for collecting data on certain transects. Therefore, if the citizens do not complete their allotted transects and submit their data to the online database, gaps in the data may occur. Additionally, the follow-up portion of the program has proved to be increasingly difficult. Volunteers from Cold Hollows to Canada have found that they are lacking the amount of time necessary to schedule and visit with citizens that have previously undergone the track training workshops. Many citizens have lost engagement with the program and have not been motivated to collect their datasets because of this challenge.