Interpretive Programs

Tracker-naturalist David Brown offers a variety of interpretive programs to the public. These are organized in two ways:

Sponsored programs are hosted by organizations at their location. These groups include libraries, land trusts, state parks, wildlife sanctuaries, adult education centers and nature clubs.

Quabbin Trails programs are arranged by David Brown, himself, and are conducted in the North Quabbin Region of central Massachusetts.

Indoor/outdoor. Both indoor and outdoor programs are offered. Many sponsored and all Quabbin Trails are held outdoors in the forests, fields, meadows and marshes of New England. Indoor programs draw on David Brown’s extensive collection of slides and video clips of  the animals themselves as well as their tracks and sign.

Animal tracking programs. Wild animals flee from us and hide in the night so that most of their lives are hidden from direct view. But by careful observation of the tracks and sign they leave behind we can visualize their activities in the mind’s eye and learn a great deal about their relationships with their environment. This is “eco-tracking.”

Bird programs are also offered seasonally, mostly during the spring migration as well as during the fall hawk movement. Indoor programs rely on vivid video clips shot by David Brown in various natural areas of New England. Once again an effort is made to move beyond identification into the behavior and life history of the birds presented.

Currently available programs for sponsoring organizations:

Below is a list of standard programs that are currently available for presentation. The tone of all programs is suitable for adults and motivated teens 13 and up. The programs are modified according to the season of presentation. Sponsors need to provide program space and a multi-media projector as well as table space for a display. If no multi-media projector is available, a version of most programs can be substituted using an on-site large-screen TV and/or the presenter’s own 35mm slide projector. Books and cards by David Brown will be available for inspection and sale to program attendees.

Beaver Pond Wildlife. This program provides information on the large diversity of wildlife associated with beaver ponds and the wetland habitat these animals create. A slide selection displays the tracks and sign of many animals that live in and around beaver ponds but may remain hidden from the casual human visitor. The program includes a 25 minute video of beaver pond wildlife and a cast display. A subsequent visit to a beaver pond, if available, may be arranged.  1½ hours. $200, with walk $300. Offered year round.

Warbler Madness. This program shows the diversity of wood warblers that can be observed in our area, either as residents or spring/fall migrants. Although colorful these birds are small and often hard to see. The program will show how to identify them visually and by sound. It culminates in a 22 minute video showing 26 species and their songs at close range. 1½ hours. $200. With a walk $300. Most suitable for early spring.

Hawks! Every fall a dozen species of hawks and falcons migrate through our area on their way to their southern wintering ranges. In this period these normally secretive birds rise above the treetops to take advantage of wind currents and so can be seen by alert observers. This video-based program shows how to identify these raptors in flight and includes recommendations for local hawk-watching sites and the weather conditions that provide for large flights. Can be done as one or two programs each with a 25 minute video. 1½ hours each. Indoor only. $200 per program. Most suitable for late-summer, early fall.

What’s Been Crossing Your Backyard? Many ‘wilderness species’ have been quietly infiltrating built-up areas over the last few decades. However, many of these animal hide from us, roaming our neighborhoods only after dark. This slide program concentrates on the tracks and sign of species that are most comfortable living close to us so that their presence can be detected after the fact. Distinguishing their tracks and trails from those of our pets is also covered. Can be conducted with or without a multi-media projector. Slides and cast display. No video. 1½ hours. $200. Most suitable for the winter season.

Winter Wildlife Tracking. This program surveys the tracks, trails and sign of mammals and birds found in New England during the winter season. Many charismatic species are covered including bears, bobcats, foxes and coyotes. 1 ½ hours. Can also be done as a 35mm slide program without a multi-media projector. Slides and cast display. No video. $200 for indoor only. With walk: $300. Most suitable for the winter season.

Summer Tracks and Sign. This is the 3-season version of the above program. It concentrates on the kind of wildlife evidence that can be found without snow. This sign can be very subtle, often hiding in plain sight as it blends with the background. With or without a multi-media projector. Slides and cast display. Video: Otters Etcetera is often included in this program.. $200 for indoor program, with a walk: $300. Most suitable for late spring and summer.

Other programs. The above listing is for programs that have been successfully conducted in the past. However, new programs can also be designed to respond to an organization’s needs, drawing on a collection of over 5000 images and many hours of wildlife videotape.