News

Coyote Trails recognized for green initiatives

By Caitlin Fowlkes for the Mail Tribune, June 21, 2016.

Oregon Business magazine has named The Coyote Trails School of Nature in Medford No. 2 on its list of "100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon."

This is the second year Coyote Trails has placed, according to Molly Kreuzman, director of the center. More than 15,000 employers responded to the magazine's survey.

"We missed first place by less than a point," said Kreuzman. "We did beat Standing Stone in Ashland. So that was kind of fun. Although I do love Standing Stone."

Coyote Trails is a nonprofit organization that offers day camps and educational programs on areas of nature such as animal tracking, fire cultivation, primitive shelter building, edible and medicinal plant identification and wilderness immersion skills. The center sits in the middle of seven acres of the U.S. Cellular Community Park and overlooks 1,500 feet of Bear Creek.

"To me, winning the award shows people that we're walking the talk," said Kreuzman.

Coyote Trails came close to first for good reason. The center composts, recycles, uses solar power and cloth towels, has two pollinator gardens and a monarch butterfly way station. The way station is an area dedicated to milkweed and pollinator plants to help the monarch population, as well as bees and birds that pollinate the local area.

The center offsets 100 percent of its energy use with its solar power. The center actually produces more solar power than it needs, and the excess power goes back to the grid and benefits local low-income families, according to Kreuzman.

Coyote Trails has reclaimed 5 acres of land surrounding the center, cleared out invasive plant species and replaced them with native plants. The center has 18 bird boxes, four duck boxes and two bat boxes installed by Boy Scouts.

The center offers weekly overnight camps at the Earth Teach Forest Park branch in the Cascade Mountains. An intense program offered to a select few in the school allows for students to live a year in the mountains, mostly off the land. A group of five young women recently participated in the program and filmed a documentary on their experience titled "5 Women; 4 Seasons; 1 Journey. The documentary directed and produced by Kreuzman is expected to be released by the summer of 2017.

A preschool program will begin September 12 for children under 5. Coyote Trails also works with local schools in the area to teach youths about nature.

"We took stewardship of this center for two reasons," said Kreuzman. "One, we thought kids in the area needed a nature center in this end of the valley; and two, we wanted to be a demonstration area of green initiatives for the area."

For more information, contact Coyote Trails at 541-282-8577 or www.coyotetrails.org.

Contact Mail Tribune reporting intern Caitlyn Fowlkes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

January 12, 2015: Wolf OR-7 and His Young Pack?

By Joe Kreuzman
for the Mail Tribune

  Dec. 19, 2014

The day following Thanksgiving was solo time to head into the woods to camp and track, just wandering as each whim dictates. Whether a scent on the breeze points to the east or the sound of running water pulls slightly northward, it was pure tracking with no time or destination. My dog, Taru, and I found ourselves on the leading edge of a large storm with dropping temperatures and heavy rain.

Finally
Finally Found Him

Holy smokes, is that a wolf track? Right there in the snow beneath our feet — Why is this not a domestic dog? A team of instructors from Coyote Trails has been searching for wolf OR-7 since 2011. Is this really him?

Not only are these potentially the alpha male but also the alpha female and a few others all moving together. Wow! Now to prove this right or wrong. With the storm looming, it was time to backtrack this trail to determine more about these canines. Did they originate from a truck? Are humans walking along with them? What can be learned to corroborate this working hypothesis that these tracks are indeed from OR-7 and his little pack? The tracks have been through numerous freeze-thaw weather patterns, which tend to distort a tracks actual size, so much more research is needed before it can be safely said.

This back trail led for five miles directly into deep wilderness. The track patterns revealed the canines were moving in an “overstep trot” gait pattern with no veering off to scent mark or sniff at random squirrel tracks. This erratic behavior is suited to the short attention span of domestic dogs, which are constrained all week in homes or backyards and find the freedom of the woods so enticing they explore and wander everywhere. This trail was focused for miles. What domestic would do this? While travelling with three other domestic dogs? Not even farm dogs have this style of discipline and focused attention.

Wolves are keenly aware and when it is time to travel, they move in a trot as this movement conserves more caloric energy than even walking. Is OR-7 heading down in elevation and taking his young pack with him?

Lying in my dry shelter, as snow fell only 700 feet in elevation above, I pondered the day’s progress. As a scientific tracker, we must first see what the track is not. It is just too easy to make a track into whatever you want it to be. By developing a working hypothesis, it leaves one open to add new information as discovered, thus one tracks within the facts. Comparing these large canine tracks to a coyote track from the same time stamp provided good contextual evidence.

Tomorrow will be spent following the trail forward in the direction of travel. Dawn ushered in with two bald eagles perched in an old pine snag and the call of two Northern Harrier Hawks. What? More tracking mysteries to solve, but this will need to wait as the excitement to trail wolves in Southern Oregon is much more exciting today than bird identification.

Due to the recent weather patterns, the tracks are very clear to see in the forested debris, leading in and out of snow fields, across multiple creeks and finally with fading daylight into a well-protected area with numerous bones strewn about. All of these bones have been opened by a large canine to access the tasty and nutritious marrow.

Cougars, bears and coyotes all open large femurs with a telltale sign that is unique to its species. The bones reveal signs of old age and disease due to the many open pocks in the bones joint structure. This is the last needed confirming piece of evidence to prove the hypothesis of why these tracks are OR-7. To a tracker, there is no better day.

Joe Kreuzman is director of the Coyote Trails School of Nature.

By Joe Kreuzman
for the Mail Tribune

Posted Dec. 19, 2014 @ 12:01 am

The day following Thanksgiving was solo time to head into the woods to camp and track, just wandering as each whim dictates. Whether a scent on the breeze points to the east or the sound of running water pulls slightly northward, it was pure tracking with no time or destination. My dog, Taru, and I found ourselves on the leading edge of a large storm with dropping temperatures and heavy rain.

Finally

Finally

Holy smokes, is that a wolf track? Right there in the snow beneath our feet — Why is this not a domestic dog? A team of instructors from Coyote Trails has been searching for wolf OR-7 since 2011. Is this really him?

Not only are these potentially the alpha male but also the alpha female and a few others all moving together. Wow! Now to prove this right or wrong. With the storm looming, it was time to backtrack this trail to determine more about these canines. Did they originate from a truck? Are humans walking along with them? What can be learned to corroborate this working hypothesis that these tracks are indeed from OR-7 and his little pack? The tracks have been through numerous freeze-thaw weather patterns, which tend to distort a tracks actual size, so much more research is needed before it can be safely said.

This back trail led for five miles directly into deep wilderness. The track patterns revealed the canines were moving in an “overstep trot” gait pattern with no veering off to scent mark or sniff at random squirrel tracks. This erratic behavior is suited to the short attention span of domestic dogs, which are constrained all week in homes or backyards and find the freedom of the woods so enticing they explore and wander everywhere. This trail was focused for miles. What domestic would do this? While travelling with three other domestic dogs? Not even farm dogs have this style of discipline and focused attention.

Wolves are keenly aware and when it is time to travel, they move in a trot as this movement conserves more caloric energy than even walking. Is OR-7 heading down in elevation and taking his young pack with him?

Lying in my dry shelter, as snow fell only 700 feet in elevation above, I pondered the day’s progress. As a scientific tracker, we must first see what the track is not. It is just too easy to make a track into whatever you want it to be. By developing a working hypothesis, it leaves one open to add new information as discovered, thus one tracks within the facts. Comparing these large canine tracks to a coyote track from the same time stamp provided good contextual evidence.

Tomorrow will be spent following the trail forward in the direction of travel. Dawn ushered in with two bald eagles perched in an old pine snag and the call of two Northern Harrier Hawks. What? More tracking mysteries to solve, but this will need to wait as the excitement to trail wolves in Southern Oregon is much more exciting today than bird identification.

Due to the recent weather patterns, the tracks are very clear to see in the forested debris, leading in and out of snow fields, across multiple creeks and finally with fading daylight into a well-protected area with numerous bones strewn about. All of these bones have been opened by a large canine to access the tasty and nutritious marrow.

Cougars, bears and coyotes all open large femurs with a telltale sign that is unique to its species. The bones reveal signs of old age and disease due to the many open pocks in the bones joint structure. This is the last needed confirming piece of evidence to prove the hypothesis of why these tracks are OR-7. To a tracker, there is no better day.

Joe Kreuzman is director of the Coyote Trails School of Nature.

- See more at: http://www.coyotetrails.org/fieldnotes/?p=1980#sthash.YuwPgQtX.dpuf

By Joe Kreuzman
for the Mail Tribune

Posted Dec. 19, 2014 @ 12:01 am

The day following Thanksgiving was solo time to head into the woods to camp and track, just wandering as each whim dictates. Whether a scent on the breeze points to the east or the sound of running water pulls slightly northward, it was pure tracking with no time or destination. My dog, Taru, and I found ourselves on the leading edge of a large storm with dropping temperatures and heavy rain.

Finally

Finally

Holy smokes, is that a wolf track? Right there in the snow beneath our feet — Why is this not a domestic dog? A team of instructors from Coyote Trails has been searching for wolf OR-7 since 2011. Is this really him?

Not only are these potentially the alpha male but also the alpha female and a few others all moving together. Wow! Now to prove this right or wrong. With the storm looming, it was time to backtrack this trail to determine more about these canines. Did they originate from a truck? Are humans walking along with them? What can be learned to corroborate this working hypothesis that these tracks are indeed from OR-7 and his little pack? The tracks have been through numerous freeze-thaw weather patterns, which tend to distort a tracks actual size, so much more research is needed before it can be safely said.

This back trail led for five miles directly into deep wilderness. The track patterns revealed the canines were moving in an “overstep trot” gait pattern with no veering off to scent mark or sniff at random squirrel tracks. This erratic behavior is suited to the short attention span of domestic dogs, which are constrained all week in homes or backyards and find the freedom of the woods so enticing they explore and wander everywhere. This trail was focused for miles. What domestic would do this? While travelling with three other domestic dogs? Not even farm dogs have this style of discipline and focused attention.

Wolves are keenly aware and when it is time to travel, they move in a trot as this movement conserves more caloric energy than even walking. Is OR-7 heading down in elevation and taking his young pack with him?

Lying in my dry shelter, as snow fell only 700 feet in elevation above, I pondered the day’s progress. As a scientific tracker, we must first see what the track is not. It is just too easy to make a track into whatever you want it to be. By developing a working hypothesis, it leaves one open to add new information as discovered, thus one tracks within the facts. Comparing these large canine tracks to a coyote track from the same time stamp provided good contextual evidence.

Tomorrow will be spent following the trail forward in the direction of travel. Dawn ushered in with two bald eagles perched in an old pine snag and the call of two Northern Harrier Hawks. What? More tracking mysteries to solve, but this will need to wait as the excitement to trail wolves in Southern Oregon is much more exciting today than bird identification.

Due to the recent weather patterns, the tracks are very clear to see in the forested debris, leading in and out of snow fields, across multiple creeks and finally with fading daylight into a well-protected area with numerous bones strewn about. All of these bones have been opened by a large canine to access the tasty and nutritious marrow.

Cougars, bears and coyotes all open large femurs with a telltale sign that is unique to its species. The bones reveal signs of old age and disease due to the many open pocks in the bones joint structure. This is the last needed confirming piece of evidence to prove the hypothesis of why these tracks are OR-7. To a tracker, there is no better day.

Joe Kreuzman is director of the Coyote Trails School of Nature.

- See more at: http://www.coyotetrails.org/fieldnotes/?p=1980#sthash.YuwPgQtX.dpuf

CSI in the Woods: January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014
By Daniel Newberry
for the Mail Tribune
raccoon

Joe Kreuzman remembers the first time he saw a footprint. He was 2 years old.

"I was with my sister, and we just stepped out of wet grass onto the hot concrete on the sidewalk, and I remember looking back and seeing a little wet track," Kreuzman recalls.

Kreuzman has been studying tracking ever since and has turned that passion into a career. The executive director of the Medford-based Coyote Trails School of Nature teaches tracking frequently at the organization's field school at the Earth Teach Park above Ashland.

In the past few years he's also taught tracking in Vermont, Belize and South Africa.