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Our Wild Neighbors: The Practice of Animal Tracking

March 12, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

| $35 – $45

Ever wonder what takes place in the wilderness when we are not looking? Come explore the fascinating lives of animals at Pepperwood with local wildlife ecologist Meghan Walla-Murphy and Pepperwood’s Wildlife Specialist Steven Hammerich, with this immersive class! If we can learn to interpret the signs of animals and the language of birds, we will begin to see and hear the living story of the land.

As we explore the different habitats of the Preserve, we will learn the foundations of animal track and sign and observe the stories they leave behind. We will also learn the basics of bird language. Through the eyes of our wildlife cameras, Meghan and Steven will show you that the wild things are not as far away as you might think! See bucks rutting, skunks lumbering about, mama bears with playful cubs, and bobcats sleeking across the screen. Learn about the important wildlife conservation research that Pepperwood is pioneering in the North Bay, such as serving as a key partner in the efforts of the North Bay Bear Collaborative.

Most of this class will be held in the field and will include hiking up to 5 miles under moderate to advanced hiking levels, over hilly and varied terrain. It will go on in light rain, though heavy storms will cancel. All events will align with the current regional health guidelines. For this event, we require that all participants be prepared to show proof of covid vaccination. In case of cancellation due to weather or health safety measures, refunds will be offered.

Steven Hammerich is a lifelong resident of Sonoma County. He grew up on a small farm in northwest Santa Rosa and has always had a connection to the land. He was introduced to Pepperwood in 2010 through classes taken at the Santa Rosa Junior College. The preserve captured his interest and he immediately became a Pepperwood volunteer. After taking the California Naturalist classes at the SRJC, he became a Pepperwood Steward and began working on the wildlife camera project. Now a member of the Pepperwood staff, Steven coordinates volunteers, manages data and equipment, and performs field work on the Wildlife Picture Index research project. He has since graduated from SRJC and then Sonoma State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. Steven enjoys hiking on and off trail in our local hills.

Meghan Walla-Murphy has had the great fortune of being able to combine her passions for wildlife, writing and outreach into vocations of habitat conservation and public awareness. As an educator, wildlife ecologist and writer of books, essays and articles, Meghan strives to help people connect to their external and internal landscapes through observation and tracking. In addition to a formal academic background, Meghan has had the privilege of tracking across the U.S. and internationally with indigenous cultures who continue to live close to the land. This academic and practical training has given Meghan the ability to meet and unravel some of our most pressing environmental, social, and political challenges from many diverse perspectives.

Some of Meghan’s current projects include a habitat connectivity project in Sonoma County and lead of the North Bay Bear Collaborative. Meghan is faculty in the Natural Resource Management Dept. at Santa Rosa Junior College and an instructor for University CA Master Naturalist Program. For more information please visit her website

$45 per person ($35 for Friends of Pepperwood)
Ages 13 and up welcome
Meet at the Dwight Center


March 12, 2022
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
$35 – $45
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Holland Gistelli


Pepperwood Preserve
2130 Pepperwood Preserve Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 United States
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(707) 591-9310