Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness announces upcoming classes

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Brian Baxter leads a tracking class during a Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness outdoor education program. (Courtesy photo)

The Western News

As part of its continuing series of free adult education classes, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness has announced that expert tracker and wildlife researcher Brian Baxter of Libby will lead four winter and spring classes in the Scotchman Peaks vicinity.

The first two classes are Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19 and 20, in Libby. On Friday at the Venture Inn Fireside Room, Baxter will present on the basics of animal tracking from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by questions and a no-host social hour. On Saturday, Baxter will meet with participants 9 a.m. at the Venture Inn parking lot for a day of exploring nearby forests and wetland habitats and observing and interpreting tracks, sign, scat and wildlife trails.

On Feb. 17, Baxter will once again meet with participants 9 a.m. at the Venture Inn parking lot for a day of studying winter ecology, concentrating on local evergreen trees, shrubs and forbs as well as winter adaptations of mammals and birds including Canadian lynx, snowshoe hare, white-tailed ptarmigan, Rocky Mountain elk, long-tailed weasel, boreal owl and wolverine.

On March 24, Baxter will lead a winter birding class beginning at the Heron Community Center and then moving to the field to examine riverside, wetland and timbered-edge habitats in search of birds of prey, waterfowl, woodpeckers and songbirds. In addition to scoping for flying birds, the class will look for roosting birds, owl pellets, scat, tracks and sign, and listen for their vocalizations.

On April 28, a second birding day will be held, also beginning from the Heron Community Center, this time concentrating on the newly returned species as well as raptors.

All classes are free and some have size limitations. Signups for the Jan. 20, Feb. 17 and March 24 classes are at www.scotchmanpeaks.org/events. The signup for the April 28 class will be online soon.

For more info, contact Baxter at b_baxter53@yahoo.com or 406-291-2154.

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