Caring for and Healing the Earth

Tracker School Caretaker Classes

Feb 1998 Caretaker Class - Brief summary by Kevin Reeve

The Earth Caretaker website has no official connection to the Tracker School or Tom Brown Jr. whatsoever.

The major focus of the Caretaker class is on learning to use inner vision to guide caretaking. However I say this with one huge caveat. There is no substitute for knowledge. Before attempting to rehabilitate an area, I believe one should have a very solid (dare I say scientific) background in the area. Jon Young's Kamana program strongly emphasizes this with literally months of book study and learning before you even go outside (actually it is concurrent). Tom also emphasized that inner vision isn't going to fill in gaps in your knowledge. It may direct you to do certain things, but it is a very good idea to know why you are doing it. That is what he means by dirt time.

I recommend the Peterson Field Guide - Ecology of Western Forests (for the west, of course) as a good overview of the approach needed to understand how the forest works as a system. This system thinking is sorely needed to do rehabilitation. Then, spend some time in the area you want to work on. Get to know the plant and animal patterns. Here is a great reason to practice tracking! Find out which animals are using which runs and trails. Map out the runs and trail systems. Show the feed areas. Show the bedding area. Add the vegetation types. Note what animals have been browsing what plants. (Does this sound like the Standard class Sign Tracking lecture?)

Once you have a good understanding of the system, you can start to think about how to restore balance. Is there too much predation and not enough larder species? Or are the mice taking over the place? Now you are in a position to let inner vision guide you. Should you open up larger runs for the foxes and coyotes to let them get at an overabundance of mice? Or should you open up some very small runs and feeding areas to allow the rabbits and mice (larder) to have safe cover to and from feed areas?

Thinking systemically is critical, knowing about the area of utmost importance, and following inner vision is the final key to rehabilitating an area and restoring balance that man has by his intrusion somehow upset.


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