This WILD TV segment introduces John Stokes, Baba Law, Louis Blue Cloud, and Abel West. They are part of the Tracking Project in New Mexico. A tracker uses the ground as a book that is written on every day. Stokes tells us when tracking, it's important to stalk or walk very slowly, stay quiet and stay downwind of the animal. Stokes tells how to make and use a tracking stick as a tool to help analyze the tracks and identify the animal that made the tracks. This information helps Stokes identify the neighbor’s Rottweiler as the animal that made the tracks.
Animal science, social studies, environmental studies, geography
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What is important to remember when you are giving someone directions or instructions on how to do something?
Focus (ELA) Listen to the instructions Stokes gives us to teach us about how to track animals. Do you think he is skilled at giving instructions?
Follow Up (ELA)Discuss the way Stokes gives instructions about tracking. Does Stokes talk about anything that is irrelevant (or not necessary to know to learn how to make and use a tracking stick)? What was skillful about the way he taught us to track? What could he have done better to make it easier for you to understand how to track? What questions did he leave unanswered for you? Why is it important to include only relevant information when giving instructions?
WALI: I want you to meet this guy - his name is John Stokes - and his trackers. They're part of the Tracking Project in New Mexico. I'm telling you. And the way they see the world - it's going to trip you out.
JOHN STOKES: Everything leaves a track. Even to the Native People the clouds are the tracks of the wind. There's actually all kinds of little worlds here if we take the time to explore them.
BABA LAW: Hello my name is Baba Law and I love to track and use my awareness to learn things about my environment.
LOUIS BLUE CLOUD GREENSFELDER: Hi, my name is Louis Blue Clouds Greensfelder and I'm a tracker and an artist.
ABEL WEST: Hello, my name is Abel West and I am a tracker. I enjoy going out in the wilderness, in my backyard, looking and observing nature.
JOHN STOKES: Hello, my name is John Stokes. I live in Corrales, New Mexico. And I enjoy mysteries and I like tracking whatever I can.
JOHN: We see that everything that moves across this ground leaves a track. So this ground is now our book. And we're going to learn the ABC's of how to read the language that's written here. And this book is getting written on every day.
JOHN: I look around and I notice the horses are watching me and probably a few other things are watching me because the animals are very aware. So I actually let them teach me.
JOHN: The first thing you need to do when you're going tracking is we take our normal walking speed and we cut the speed in half. We stay quiet so they can't hear us we stay downwind so they can't smell us. And we move nice and slow.
JOHN: A good stalker can come right up to within two or three feet of an animal before the animal realizes that it's a person.
JOHN: My stick here is just called a Tracking Stick. All you need is a nice straight stick. We like to teach people that a good stick is at least as long as your arm, from your fingertips to the middle of your chest. I just put three rubber bands on this and I'm going to mark the lengths and the widths of a track that I find. And then from the tip of my stick to my third rubber band is going to be the stride or the distance between the prints of the animal or the person that I'm following.
JOHN: So one of the things I notice right away is this beautiful track here. It's a dog, I can tell that. It's a nice, deep track, I know that it's a large dog. And I'm going to use my tracking stick to help me find the next few sets of tracks here.
JOHN: I'm going to mark, from the edge of the track, from the claw to the back and I'm going to go from the tip of my stick to my first rubber band. So I'm going to set that as a measurement and that's going to represent the length of that track. From my first rubber band to my second one I'm going to mark the width of the track. I'll set the tip of the stick at the front of his track and set my third rubber band for the stride of the animal. So now I have the length, the width, and from here to here, the stride. By now, noting the stride, the weight of the animal, I know that this is my neighbor's rottweiler.
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