Original Wisdom

Original Wisdom specializes in Tracker Mentoring and Study Abroad educational programs in ecology and culture. We develop for-credit courses for universities, colleges, and high schools. We also develop courses for trackers, wilderness schools and intrepid adventurers.

These courses range from pre-departure on-line curriculum through in-the-field program content. On-line course content is designed with the visiting course leader or professor to their course goals, objectives, and duration, and field programs typically last 14-21 days. Custom or specialist content field programs may be shorter. Many of these programs are co-run with our highly-respected provider-on-the-ground, Nature Guide Training, in South Africa.

Kersey Lawrence, of Original Wisdom, and Nature Guide Training have been working together since 2008, and have developed quality programs for hundreds of students from the University of Connecticut, Western Kentucky University, Johnson and Wales University (4 campuses: Rhode Island, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina), Hopkinton High School (NH), Bow High School (NH), Christ School (NC), New Albany High School (OH), Bolton High School (CT), and White Pine Programs (ME), among others. Please contact us for references. We run these programs in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, and the USA, and we are currently developing programs in Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, India, and Europe.

We have developed and run courses in Field Ecology, Ecological Research Methods, African Field Ecology and Culture, History and Political Science of South Africa, Tourism and Hospitality, Conservation and Sustainability, and on specialised topics such as: Field Ornithology, Field Mammalogy, Herpetology, Ethnobotany, Geology and Paleoanthropology, Animal Behaviour, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management, Water Resources, Tracking and Leadership, Women & Tracking, Invertebrate Tracks and Sign, and in Beginning and Advanced Tracking.

In our tracking programs, we teach track and sign identification and interpretation and trailing (the ability to identify and follow animal trails to the animals) to the CyberTracker standard of evaluating wildlife trackers. Members of our team include some of the most highly qualified trackers, naturalists and teachers in the world.

Tracking is arguably THE “Original Wisdom” of any culture, and combined with modern, i.e. “original” technologies and scientific methods it is not just a verifiable skill, it is also a powerful tool in the field-skills toolbox of natural and social scientists.

Tracking is more than following footprints and finding animals. Tracking causes us to link together everything we know about animal behaviour (including humans) and their environment. Tracking is the way the mind works, putting together pieces of information to make sense of a bigger picture. Obvious benefits of tracking include increased awareness of animal behavior and interactions between animals, as well as how they use the landscape and how they are moved by the landscape. Less obvious benefits of tracking include: overall increased awareness of one’s surroundings (this is important in wild areas and increasingly in cities); connection to the natural world while learning appropriate uses for modern technology; the ability to see beauty in everyday things; identification of personal fears and future goals and a methodology to work through fears toward goals; and comfort with oneself, comfort with others in community, and comfort of being in the natural world.