I can see this was posted in the Midwest Chapter Forum, but it wouldn't hurt to throw myself out there....
Hello all! Filip Tkaczyk here. I go by Fil, to most of my friends. I am 29 years old. I am a full-time outdoor educator at a school NE of Seattle called Alderleaf Wilderness College. I have a B.S. in Wildlife Science from UW, Seattle and have done field work studying bat species on the Olympic Peninsula and nutria in the Seattle area. I shifted my focus from wildlife science to education because I came to realize it was how I, personally, could help make the biggest positive impact on people and their relationship to the natural world.
I am a fan of all wildlife, and have been studying the flora and fauna of the PNW for the past 11 years. Before that I called southern California home. My growth as a naturalist was pretty exponential when I moved up to the PNW, in large part because I had some incredible mentors to help me along, who showed me how to study and because they pointed me to some excellent resources. I did not have that kind of help when I was younger in Cali... I dream of one day being just as familiar with the natural history of California as I am of the PNW.
There is me about 4 years ago with a HUGE P.c. affinis
. The snake was at its widest point as big around as my wrist. Found in the same location near Tucson as the creature in the next photo...
I am currently working on co-authoring a book on Tracks & Sign of Reptiles and Amphibians. This book is meant to be a guide to identifying and understanding the tracks, sign and locomotion of herps and its is meant to cover as many species in the USA as possible. I am an experienced tracker, but this book is delving into a very poorly known arena of tracking. Therefore, I am on a constant search for experts and experienced herpers who are willing to give advice, point me to good locations or resources, and/or accompany me in the field.
The intention of the book is several fold:
- To contribute to the understanding of herps, information that may be useful to layman or experienced researchers alike
- To bring positive attention to them, and help encourage more people to see them as worthwhile to protect and conserve
- Along with this, no specific locations will be given in the book as this could encourage possibly destructive collecting or disturbance to sensitive species or locations
- To add to the growing knowledge of trackers, and perhaps encourage or even inspire some new trackers to take up the practice
- To personally learn more about herps, as I love them so much!
For those of you who might be unfamiliar with tracking, it is the study of an animal through what it leaves behind... Be that tracks, scat, burrows, fur, bones, feathers, kill sites, sheds, scrapes, beds, trails and other things. It is a very old practice, but appears to be making a comeback just as the general trend in science is to spend less time in the field and more time in the lab.
Anyway, I am glad to be here and to meet or to have met all of you. Hope to meet some of you in the field one day, as well!