Countryman Press releases Linda J. Spielman’s new book, A Field Guide to Tracking Mammals in the Northeast, today, July 4, 2017. What makes this reference book so special is the meticulously drawn illustrations which portray a wide range of shapes and appearances for the tracks of more than 40 mammal species. Most mammal identification guides include iconic images of tracks which are rarely encountered in the field. And while there are some cool apps for animal prints, when you’re out tracking in remote locations you can’t rely on getting a signal for your mobile phone and the apps won’t help much in identification without much richer reference materials. This handy guide is lightweight, compact, and yet comprehensive.

Animal tracking, once a nearly lost art, has re-emerged as an important focus for nature enthusiasts and a necessary skill for wildlife scientists. A tracking field guide is now as much a part of an outdoor person’s tool kit as a wildflower or bird guidebook. Skill at identifying animal tracks doesn’t come easily. Partial prints or tracks that don’t resemble the pictures in most tracking guides frustrate would-be trackers, and those with experience know animals can make tracks that appear like those of completely different creatures. A Field Guide to Mammal Tracks of the Northeast provides everything you need to identify tracks, including diagrams of characteristic gaits, measurements for tracks and gaits, notes on scat, signs, and habitat, and thorough discussions of distinguishing features.

A naturalist, tracker, environmental educator, and now author, Linda J. Spielman earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University.¬†Linda’s happiest moments are when she is in the field tracking. From an early age she loved the outdoors, and she yearned to know more about what happened there in the absence of people. With the discovery of animal tracking, she knew she had the means to go deeper into the mysteries of nature. An environmental educator and tracker for over 25 years, Linda has studied tracking with some of the nation’s leading experts. Her most formative experiences came during her studies with tracker and artist Charles Worsham, who encouraged her to use drawing as a learning tool. Linda has been drawing ever since, and loves the way drawing a track leads her to insights she would otherwise have missed. She also enjoys sharing her extensive collection of track photos as a guest speaker.

Linda holds a Cybertracker Level Three Certification in Track and Sign. She leads tracking workshops and informal outings with participants at all levels, from beginner to advanced, and has worked with conservation organizations, tracking conferences, nature centers, college and university classes, and school-age youth. She coordinates the Ithaca chapter of Keeping Track, Inc. and leads the Ithaca Tracking Club. Linda lives with her partner and her dog in a small house in a small village in upstate New York.

Countryman Press has a long history as an independent publisher. Now owned by W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., Countryman Press is located in Taftsville, Vermont, and publishes travel guides, country-living manuals, healthy-living cookbooks, self-sufficiency how-to guides, and titles on the subjects of nature, pets, fitness, and humor.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Linda J. Spielman on her new release. Meet her on Sunday, July 16, at 2-4 p.m. in the Nevins Center at the Cornell Botanic Gardens for a book signing. I hope to see you there!

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