I'm Sophie Mazowita: a naturalist, educator, project manager, event planner and wildlife guide. I care about connecting people to nature and protecting wildlife habitat, raising awareness of the needs of wild species who don't have a voice in land management and development decisions.
I was first introduced to wildlife tracking while working as a park naturalist and interpretive ranger in Algonquin Park, in my home province of Ontario, Canada. I moved to Vermont in 2011 to earn my Master's degree in the UVM Field Naturalist Program, and it was in New England that I met a community of wildlife trackers taking part in track and sign certifications and undertaking long-term tracking studies.
I took a year-long apprenticeship program with White Pine Programs and, with motivation to get outside every week and an understanding of where to look, I uncovered story upon story of the wildlife living right in my backyard, within a half mile of the busiest road intersection in Vermont.
I initiated the Burlington Mammal Tracking Project to document large mammal habitat and corridors in the state's most urban region, engaged community volunteers to submit wildlife sightings and tracking reports, trained groups of college seniors to deploy fleets of trail cameras, and took every opportunity possible to follow the trails of fishers, bobcats and coyotes to understand their use of fragmented open space.
That project is ongoing on iNaturalist, though I have since moved to Seattle and now split my time between the Puget Sound area and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, where I guide wildlife trips for Natural Habitat Adventures/WWF.
I've served on the planning committee for the annual Northeast Wildlife Trackers Conference for several years, and when the COVID pandemic made us move to a fully-online conference format for 2020, I realized there's great opportunity to connect wildlife enthusiasts and trackers of all skill levels through various online formats.
This website is a step towards that and an experiment to see what meaningful programs and services I can offer to the community of people interested in wildlife and tracking, both online and in-person.
While there's no replacement for "dirt time" with more experienced trackers, Tracking Connection aims to offer inspiration, tools, resources and community events to connect you more deeply to the world of wildlife tracking- and with organizations working to maintain connected wildlife habitat. I hope you can find new ways to engage your curiosity about the natural world and fresh motivation to get outside, pay attention, and connect with your wild neighbors.