Fire Workshop with Chris

Hi All,
Here is a brief description of the weekend Fire Workshop and Children of the Earth Foundation fundraiser scheduled for December 2, 3, & 4.  If you know anyone who may be interested, please feel free to forward it to them.  We currently have 3 people signed up.  I need a minimum of 4 people to do the class, with a maximum of 12.  Hope to see you all there!
“Dancing with Fire”, a Weekend Workshop
Anyone who has spent time in the wilderness will tell you that Fire is an indispensable companion.  Practically speaking, Fire will warm you, cook your food, make your tools, and provide light for working skills.  On a deeper level, it gathers the tribe and provides the focus for friends and family to come together and share stories of their day.  Perhaps most importantly, Fire is an Elder who will teach, advise, and comfort if one knows how to listen.
This weekend workshop is called “Dancing with Fire” because in order to dance with someone, there must be a connection between the two partners — a two-way communication whose give and take, ebb and flow create the rhythm of the dance.  Anyone who has made a fire with a bow drill knows that it won’t work if you try to “bully” it and simply impose your will.  To be successful one must be aware of what the Fire needs, paying attention to the fine details, and listening to understand how it is feeling — in short, one must dance with it.  The class will include plenty of hands-on workshop time and coaching for both hand drill and bow drill, but we will also explore the Philosophy of Fire through a series of exercises and experiences designed to help you build a relationship with Fire that will lead to a deeper awareness of it’s Nature and an enhanced ability to create and use it under a variety of adverse conditions.
A portion of the proceeds from the workshop will be given to the Children of the Earth Foundation in order to support their mission of helping kids and young adults have experiences that help them form a deeper relationship with Nature and the Earth.
Start: Friday, December 2 @4 PM (arrive by 3 pm to set up camp)
End: Sunday, December 4 @2 PM
Caloosahatchee Regional Park 19130 River Rd, Alva, FL 3920 (just north of Ft. Myers)
$200 (Includes meals, camping fees, materials for the class, and a donation to COTEF)
We will be sleeping in tents, but there are flush toilets and showers available!
To register, please email Chris Oelschlaeger at:

Where I Go To School

The Tracker School is in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

I remember writing a report about the Pine Barrens when I was in elementary school. The plant life was astonishing! There are some that blow up, others that eat insects and the soil is sand. It is an extraordinary place.

Pine Barrens

Pine Barrens

Well that’s where I go to school to learn about healing and living on the land. I know several edible plants, what wood is best for bow drill and how to make a primitive weapons. The land is unique.

Here are some facts about the Pine Barrens.

The Pine Barrens, also known as the Pinelands, is an enormous and all-encompassing tract of open space that covers 1.1 million acres, or 22 percent of New Jersey’s land area.

Pine Barrens

Pine Barrens

“The Pine Barrens, also known as the Pinelands, is a heavily forested area of coastal plain stretching across southern New Jersey. The name “pine barrens” refers to the area’s sandy, acidic, nutrient-poor soil, to which the crops originally imported by European settlers didn’t take well. These uncommon conditions enable the Pine Barrens to support a unique and diverse spectrum of plant life, including orchids and carnivorous plants. The area is also notable for its populations of rare pygmy Pitch Pines and other plant species that depend on the frequent fires of the Pine Barrens to reproduce. The sand that composes much of the area’s soil is referred to by the locals as sugar sand.”
From Wikipedia


Bill Marple Tracks-Awareness


I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the

outdoors as spring is beginning to come in

full swing.  I just spent a week in Connecticut
with some friends after teaching a Standard
class and a Dirt Time workshop in the Pines.
Now, I’m getting ready to head back down to

the Pines to teach an Advanced Tracking and

Awareness class and a Beyond the Lateral Ridge

workshop.  It’s a busy month!
If you’re like me, then you know one of the best

ways to keep yourself connected to the Earth and

calm your internal baseline is to go to your Sit

Area whenever possible.  Although its often overlooked,

the Sit Area is one of the best and most powerful

ways of excelling at tracking.

Even at the Standard class, Tom will tell you again

and again that both he and Grandfather consider

the Sit Area to be the most important element in

studying tracking.  Consider that Grandfather expected

Tom and Rick to go to their Sit Areas every day,

twice a day for an hour before sunrise to an hour

after sunrise and from an hour before sunset to an

hour after sunset.  That equates to  4 hours of Sit

Area time every day.

Now, most of us don’t have that kind of time, but

even if we did, I would wager to say that few of

us even have access to what we would consider the

“perfect” Sit Area.  So, this begs the question, “If I

live in an urban/suburban area, how do I get a Sit Area?”

In order to give folks an idea of some of the more

important aspects of the Sit Area, such as how to

choose a Sit Area and what you can do at a Sit Area,

I’ve put together this short, 11 minute video, where

I take you to some of the Sit Areas I use regularly.

Sit Area Video!

This video will give you insights into how to find a

Sit Area and how to integrate it into your own personal

Tracking practice.  I hope you enjoy it and will talk

to you again soon!



Earth Voices, LLC
5114 Mandalay Springs Drive  Apt 103
Las Vegas, NV  89120

Sit Spot Audio a meditation you can do when you find the perfect place to sit.

Tracking in Florida with Bill Marple

Bill is teaching in Florida! Come learn this ancient skill
and grow closer to mother earth.
Hi Magda,
Hope you’re doing well and making
it through the winter wherever you’re
at!  I’ve just finished up the winter class
for both the Vermont and Washington
Tracking for the Survivalist classes.
For me, that means winter is officially
heading on its way towards spring.
It’s a welcome relief although I love
the wintertime and I’m happy to say
the classes continue to be awesome!
In this last session in WA, the students
ended class by carving primitive hunting
spears and tracking each other through
the forests of the Olympic Penninsula in
various wintertime hunting scenarios.
They did great and as usual learned a lot
in the process and had some serious fun!
As well, some of my own greatest learning
experiences in tracking come from observing
students who come to my classes.  Thank
you all for a tremendous experience all
the way around!
So, I’m now in Santa Cruz halfway
through a Standard class(alway enjoyable!)
and had time to sit down briefly and write
you a quick message.  I just wanted to let
you know we’re getting dangerously close
to the deadline to sign up for the tracking
workshops I have scheduled in Florida in
March.  So far, response to the workshops
has been much lower than normal and we’re
in danger of canceling!!!  Here are the dates
for the classes:
Opening the Eye of the Tracker
Caloosahatchee Regional Park
March 5-7
Dirt Time
Caloosahatchee Regional Park
March 12-14
Beyond the Lateral Ridge
Ocala National Park
March 18-20
Florida is absolutely one of my favorite
places to track!  It provides a tropical tracking
environment which hosts a diverse and
exciting collection of animal and plant species.
Past Tracker School classes in Florida in the past
have always been a lot of fun and its one of my
favorite places to run a class.  So, if you have
any interest in signing up for a class in Florida
for March, please do so soon so we don’t have
to take them off the schedule!
I’m always available for questions in the meantime
and I look forward to seeing you there!

Tracking Classes in Florida

Learn the Ancient Art of


Three weekends of adventure in the world of
tracking with Bill Marple, Director of Tracking at
Tom Brown’s world-famous tracking,
awareness, and survival school
Learn to track on your own! Join
Bill and his friends for three
weekend tracking workshops at
Caloosahatchie Regional Park, in
Alva, Fla, and at the Ocala National
Forest in Altoona, Fla!
Learn to:
  • Identify different species of animals in your
  • area at a glance!
  • Interpret illness, injury, and mood by
  • measuring tracks!
  • Unlock the secrets of Apache pressure
  • releases in order to determine animal
  • behaviors by studying their tracks!
Embark upon your Journey in
Tracking now by calling to reserve
a place at this unique learning
opportunity! Talk to our registrar at
5-7 March, 2011 Beginnerʼs Class: Opening the
Eye of the Tracker
12-14 March, 2011 Intermediate Class: Dirt
18-20 March, 2011 Advanced Class: Beyond
the Lateral Ridge
Caloosahatchee Regional Park(Opening the
Eye of the Tracker and Dirt Time)
Ocala National Forest(Beyond the Lateral
Opening the Eye of the Tracker-$250
Dirt Time-$400
Beyond the Lateral Ridge-$400
*Price includes class, camp rental, and food
for the weekend!


Tracking Squirrel- The Gudge Match

I missed posting this Bill Marple post. Hope you like it even though Thanksgiving is over.

Bill Maple on Thanksgiving and the love of tracking.

Hi Magda,

Hope you’re doing well, and getting
ready for Thanksgiving and the holidays.
I know Danielle and I will enjoy Thanksgiving
here with the usual family get together
and feasting! However, aside from the
normal social aspects of this holiday,
we’re also planning on getting out into
the wilderness for a few hours to track,
wander, and otherwise give thanks for
the beauty of the natural world around us.
I hope you have time to do the same!

As you can see from the above title, I
have some interesting things to share
with you today. But first, a few administrative

-Many folks have asked when my next
Dirt Time and Beyond the Lateral Ridge
classes are running. We’ve had a bit of
hard time back at Tracker School with
our website lately, and the classes are
not currently listed. They should be up
soon and you can get in touch with Sara
if you’re interested in taking one.

The dates are for the 3-5 of December and
19-21 February respectively for Dirt
Time and Beyond the Lateral Ridge. Both
classes will take place in Santa Cruz, CA.
If you’re interested in either of these two
classes, I urge you to sign up soon, as they
usually fill up quickly! Hope to see you there!

-I’m VERY excited to say that not only
will I shortly have my very own website
up and online, but also, I will soon be
announcing the date for my very first

I’m currently beta testing them, and should be
rolling them out in the next week! They
will be a viable alternative for folks who
either can’t make it to a class, or for those
who want a reference material for classes
they’ve taken in the past. The best news is
that I’ll be offering them at a discount for
the people who are part of the Tracking
Update! Stay tuned for more info!

So, on to the subject of the email, “GRUDGE
WOODRAT.” I want you to begin by taking
a look at the below photos. If you can’t
see them, please make sure you click on
the “display images” provided by your email
service provider.

Danielle and I came across these tracks
on a walk up in the mountains surrounding
Las Vegas, and had quite a time going
back and forth over whether or not they
were made by a ground squirrel or a woodrat,
both of which are common in the area
we live in.

I would say we “talked” about
it for close to an hour, and each of us
changed our mind two or three times before
we finally came to conclusion about the
tracks origins. To be honest, it was Danielle
who eventually “solved the case” by
tracking the animal back to its den. Ahhhhh,
how tracking can add a certain “spice”
to your relationship at times……

Begin by asking yourself some of the following questions:

-What is the direction of travel?

-Which tracks are the front feet, and which are the rears?

-What gait pattern is being demonstrated here?

-How many toes are in the front, and how many are in the rear?

-What shape are the digits? Short and stubby? Long and slender? Somewhere in between?

-Is there an orientation to the fronts and rears? Are they “pitched” in one direction or the other?

-What’s happening with the metacarpal pads(the leading edge of the heel pad)? Are they segmented? Fully separated? Do they have a particular shape?

If you’re running into difficulty here,
just remember there ought to be a
trusty field guide in your tracking
somewhere that can give you
a clue into what you’re looking for.
If you don’t have a field guide(shame
on you!!!), you can always check out
what “Momma Google” has to say by
doing a few searches.

Have a great time with the track ID.
I’ll be sending out the answer in my
next email. Until then, happy tracking,
and keep your eye out for my ONLINE
CLASS announcement!



Tracker School
928 Main Street
Manahawkin, NJ

Online Tracking Class

Bill Marple has an online tracking class!

Hi Magda,

Well, the day is finally here, and I’m happy
to announce that my very first ONLINE CLASS
is now a reality! After weeks of beta-testing and
a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, the class will air
live from 4:00pm-5:00pm PST on WEDS, 1 DEC 2010-next week!

Click Here to Register For This Class!

This first class will focus on Track Measurements.
So often in tracking, we forget about the basics,
and Track Measurements is no exception. Most
people just never take the time to really
get into using the measurement system, and
as a result, they lose a very powerful
technique in terms of increasing their
awareness and their ability in tracking.

In this class, I will be going over the
following major topics as well as
several others :

-How to properly take Track Measurements

-Expanded definitions of technical measurement terms

-How to use Track Measurements to get detailed information about sets of tracks

-How Track Measurements relate to Pressure Releases

If you are unfamiliar with Track
Measurements, this class will more
than acquaint you with the details. If
you’ve had experience with them, it will
be a valuable reference material. The
class itself will be the first installment of
a series entitled “Tracking Basics” where
I will be touching on many of the tracking
topics covered in the Standard class, and
showing how to use them in your journey
in tracking.

I’m also pleased to announce that, as promised,
I will do everything in my power to “hook up”
those dedicated folks(like you!) who have
been part of the Tracking Update. So, I’m
offering this class to you for only $20 which
is a $10 discount then will be made available
for regular download.

During the class, you will be able to attend the
live class, ask questions during the presentation, and view
it at any time in the future for as long as you like!

The best part about this is that even if you
are not able to be present for the live airing,
but have STILL REGISTERED, you’ll be
able to view it in the future without paying
for it again!

In this way, I’ll be creating a “digital library
of classes, materials, and study guides which
you’ll be able to reference whenever you have
questions. There are so many possibilities
for where this could go!

So, ……

Click Here to Register For This Class!

And I’ll see you in the digital classroom!

PS-After you register, make sure you check
your spam folder for your confirmation email
as they sometimes get misrouted by web browers!(especially yahoo!)

Bill Marple

Woody Woodpecker

Bill Marple, guest blogger, stops by again to teach us about tracking.

Our guest blogger is Bill Marple an instructor at the Tracker School in New Jersey. He gives classes on tracking animals and humans in the wildereness and on the streets. I’m so glad he is allowing me to add his post to our site and share his expertise with you. Now without further ado Bill Marple (Applause!)

Hi Magda,
Well, I am excited, as we are all one step closer  to making the tracking update interactive! As  you’ll see below, I now am able to post photos  in my emails to you. Yes, after much head-scratching,  phone-calling, and, well, out and out cursing,  I finally figured it out(actually it was much  easier than I made it-of course!). Soon, we’ll be  able to post video as well!Bill Marple
So, the subject line reads “WOODY  WOODPECKER CAUGHT ON FILM,” but as  you’ll soon notice, that’s not totally true. However,  I lied to you on purpose, in order to highlight  the power of tracking in observation in awareness.  Check out the two photos below:

I took these photos in northern Vermont.  As you can see, Woody is nowhere to be found.  Yet, I know he was here. How could I be  sure about this? Well, there’s a couple of things  about animals, birds, and beasts in general that  are useful to consider when interpreting tracks  and sign. To begin with, here’s one of the  Golden Rules of Sign tracking:


*According to species, animals tend to leave the  same type of sign no matter where you find them*

This means that most animals will leave  almost exactly the same type of sign, no  matter what geographical area you find  them in. And, that sign is specific to  that type of species. For example, I  could find a grey squirrel nest in New  Hampshire, and one in Florida, and if I  compared the two, they would be of  almost exactly the same type of construction  with the exception of the material used.

This is so powerful in sign tracking!  As you begin to notice different types of  sign, and relate them to a species, you’ll  begin to see them wherever you go.  Sign tracking is incredibly important  when determining what animals are in  an area, and once you get comfortable  with it, it truly is possible to determine  the animal activity “at a glance!”

For instance, when I took the photo of  the above tree, and forest floor surrounding  it, there was no doubt in my mind that it  was a Pileated Woodpecker that caused  the hole and wood chips. How do I know  this? Let’s consider a few things:

1. The holes themselves are huge and the wood chips are huge.  -Only a large bird could have done  this. It wasn’t the result of several small  birds or insects over the course of days. The  age of the hole showed it was done in one  “chipping.” So, it had to have been one bird.  As well, the sides of the hole didn’t have  all sorts of scratches, chips, tears, etc, as if  several animals had clawed it out. It was  neatly chipped out, lending it to look like  the work of one bird with a large bill.  Raptors and Owls are big enough to do this,  but their bills and facial construction don’t support it.

2. The holes indicate a feeding behavior, not a nesting behavior.  -As you can see, their was no nest built  here, nor is it a good place for a nest. This  hole was made for the purpose of getting  food(insects) out of the wood. Generally  speaking, only one type of bird pecks holes  in trees for food(woodpeckers), and only  one type of pecking bird is big enough to  have caused it: A Pileated Woodpecker.

3. The holes are “square shaped.”  -It’s difficult to see in the photo, but  the holes themselves are “squarish” or  “rectangularish.” This is a dead giveaway  for a Pileated Woodpecker. Pileateds need  large trees to feed on, and when they peck  them, they typically go deep into the wood,  and leave a distinctly “square” or “rectangular”  shaped hole behind. No other bird in North  America leaves a hole that big, and of that shape.  You can count on them leaving it behind  wherever they’ve been feeding. With all  this in mind, I can say conclusively “A  Pileated Woodpecker did this!”

Pileated Woodpecker’s are one of my favorite  birds. Maybe it’s because I loved watching  Woody Woodpecker growing up as a kid, but  more than likely, the Pileated is one of the  first birds I observed and began to associate  the sign they leave with the bird itself. If you  apply this to other animals, I think you’ll be  pleasantly surprised at how predictable animals  turns out to be. You’ll soon attributing burrows,  nests, dens, browse, etc with specific animals!

Have fun getting out there sign tracking, and I’ll catch up with you on the next update!

Bill Marple