Thursday, February 19, 2015

Prints in the Snow

Read Jean Todesca's column in the February 20, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Jean is the Head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library.

Let’s just say, I live in the woods. Although my home is 17 miles southwest of Boston, you would think I lived in the Maine wilderness. Day to day, I forget the large amount of wildlife that surrounds me. With the current snowstorms that we have experienced, there are reminders everywhere. The many paths the deer created through the snow. The tiny white footprints impressions placed all over my driveway. The mounded tunnels running across the ground.

When my children were young, we identified many animal tracks using library books. We’ve seen deer, squirrel, opossum prints and many more. We watched tunnels develop that were created by voles and squirrels.

Animal tracking is a great outdoor activity for both adults and children. The Children’s Department has books to guide in the identification process. “Who Was Here? Discovering Wild Animal Tracks” by Mia Posada and “Wild Trackers! A Guide to Natures Footprints” by Jim Arnosky are nonfiction titles. “Who’s Been Here? A Tale in Tracks” by Fran Hodgkins and “Tracks in the Snow” by Wong Herbert Yee are picture book titles that will introduce the experience of tracking in story form.

As the animal population changed, I’ve returned to books to help identify coyote and fisher cat prints. As this snowy winter wears on, try animal tracking. You’ll never know what you might find in the “wilds” of Norwood.