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Los Padres Specialist Certification 11/15/2016

Published on November 15, 2016 under Certifications

Marcus Reynerson organized a Track and Sign Specialist Certification in the Los Padres National Forest, California on November 12-13, 2016. Specialist Certifications are arduous. Participants have to answer 57 very difficult questions over 2 days. Two evaluators (1 standard and 1 external) are present at Specialist Certifications to ensure reliability and consistency. Casey McFarland served as external evaluator.

We saw the tracks of 29 species, including 18 mammals, 6 birds, 3 herps, 1 invertebrate, and the mud splatter from a vehicle. We spent the first day at an amazing bridge under HWY 33 where we saw owl tracks walking down a creek, a spot where a jackrabbit took a drink of water, beautiful lizard tracks in perfect mud, and black bear tracks.

We spent the morning of the second day back at the bridge before heading up into the mountains. In the mountains we found black bear ritual trails and marking sign, woodrat feeding sign on acorns, and squirrel feeding on mushrooms.

Congratulations to all who attended, we learned a lot. A big thanks to Marcus for organizing this certification. I also want to thank Jerry Maserjian and Maya Shoemaker for assisting. While no participants earned their Specialist Certificate, I want to recognize Marcus Reynerson and Jill Cooper who came incredibly close. They are dedicated trackers and I look forward to seeing them earn their Specialist soon.


    1. jonahevans

      Thanks Kim! The rabbit trail was too large for either a squirrel or a woodrat. There was a lot of context too. No squirrel sign anywhere and tons of rabbit sign. Regarding the urine, we accepted either cottontail or jackrabbit as answers. It was on the smaller side, so seemed more likely to be a cottontail, but we couldn’t be certain. Thanks for keeping us honest!

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