Bob Metcalfe is one of the Boston Outdoor School’s expert wildlife trackers. He has a deep understanding of the way animals live and move in the woods. His passion for the outdoors comes from a place of quiet appreciation for the gift of nature.
On Being Present in Nature
Bob has been teaching outdoor skills and tracking for over 25 years. His main focus is wildlife tracking. He has always been fascinated with wild animals and how they can survive through our harsh New England winters. In a recent conversation, Bob recalled a particular incident from his childhood that inspired his fascination with tracking:
“I was 10 years old maybe, and coming back from exploring my favorite spot in the woods behind my house. As I was walking back I saw an animal trail that went up and over a hill. It just seemed so magical and I wanted to follow it. But mother was making meatloaf and I couldn’t miss it. Still, that trail never left my mind.”
That trail inspired his passion for tracking and it also inspired something deeper: the practice of awareness. Awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and the small gifts that nature gives us. In Bob’s own words:
“I try to focus on being aware of the forest or the field, of the wetlands, and really focus on being there, being present. Not thinking about what you need to do when you get home. Let that all go and just be there, slow down, and focus on all the amazing things that are there to see.”
Beyond that, Bob also has more practical skills he thinks every beginner should learn.
3 Skills Every Beginner Outdoors-person Should Learn, according to Bob:
Orientation: from a safety standpoint, being able to orient yourself and navigate in the wilderness is a key survival skill.
Learn what poison ivy looks like. Essential for any beginner in the New England wilderness.
Stay out of trouble: namely, be able to identify when it is time to turn back, when to admit you are lost, and when to admit that you are in trouble.
Learn to appreciate your natural world with Bob Metcalfe
This spring (2019) you can spend a morning or afternoon with Bob, benefitting from his wilderness tracking expertise in one of our workshops. You’ll come away with more than just tracking skills. You’ll cultivate an appreciation of the wonder of the natural world that is all around us. In Bob’s own words:
“It’s great to go to different places, to travel. But it’s important to have a place you go back to, one you can see through the seasons and all its changes. To know what it looks like in all seasons is a really cool thing to focus on.”
Take a class with Bob at one of his upcoming workshops: