Keeping Track, founded by Susan Morse, a nationally known naturalist, is known for teaching outdoor enthusiasts, school groups and natural resource professionals how to better assess, document, conserve and improve the overall ecological health of natural areas. Participants are trained to monitor local wildlife populations, identify key species and core habitats, and gauge and reduce the effects of human development within or near natural areas.
One of many goals of Keeping Track programs is to engage community members, develop and refine tracking skills to better understand the use of landscapes by terrestrial wildlife. This non-profit organization inspires and recruits community members to become involved in respected science-based research of wildlife detection and monitoring within their communities to implement sustainable management practices along with the conservation of core and connective habitats to maintain ecological health. The Keeping Track program consistently maintains a high quality teaching standards to ensure an exceptional field based learning experience.
citizen_science, outreach, walks_and_talks, wildlife
Staff, students, members and participants of the Keeping Track program have influenced the conservation of over 40,000 acres of land across the United States and Canada as a result of the data collection efforts. The Keeping Track monitoring programs are highly successful in inspiring community members to protect sensitive wildlife habitat area by demonstrating and teaching tracking techniques. Slide presentations on a variety of natural history topics, illustrated with Ms. Morse's award-winning photography, have brought the message of conservation to thousands of people across North America.
One Keeping Track program, 'Habitats and Highways', is a collaborative effort first conducted with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and that has expanded into other New England states. It has succeeded in the identification of frequently used wildlife road crossings within participating states along with the importance of habitat connectivity. This collected data and implanted response to the data interpretations has resulted in protective measures to reduce the stress of wildlife habitat fragmentation and promote movement of wildlife populations.
The Keeping Track program holds an extensive list of accomplishments that can be accessed through their website.
Keeping Track often presents its programs and events in close partnerships with conservation commissions, land trusts, state and local agencies, wildlife groups, schools, colleges and private landowners
Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans)
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
Without the extensive dedicated efforts of Keeping Track's staff, volunteers and Board members to conduct the Keeping Track programs many of the conservation accomplishments would not be possible. This non-profit has inspired the minds of many outdoor enthusiasts and other community members, and without their willingness and eagerness to learn and conduct wildlife monitoring the efforts of the program would be valueless. These programs are driven by community member participation and their dedication to the ecological health of these natural areas. Donations towards the continuation of this program also aid in the success and quality of these field-based courses.
Capital funding will be a limiting factor in continuing the success of the Keeping Track programs. Since Keeping Track is a non-profit, costs of these extensive programs for the benefit of community education, wildlife and habitat protection are kept to a minimum. Due to limited budgets and a shrinking staff, it is often difficult to search and apply for grants that would benefit the expansion of the Keeping Track programs.