Annual Project Summary 2011

The Tracking Project

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Founded as a non-profit organization in 1986 by John Stokes, The Tracking Project (TTP) in Corrales, New Mexico has worked with community educators and Native elders from around the world to design a series of teachings which connect individuals  directly to the natural world. Our programs of natural and cultural awareness include a wide range of skills — from traditional tracking and survival skills to music, storytelling, dance, peacemaking and martial arts training. The name Arts of Life was chosen to describe these programs which emphasize indigenous knowledge, the lessons of Nature and the power of art.

Our special thanks to the Aurora Foundation, the Frances V.R. Seebe Charitable Trust, the Attias Family Foundation, the John Densmore Living Trust, StrataScale, The Edward & Verna Gerbic Family Foundation, the Ward & Eis Gallery, the Creare Fund of the Tides Foundation, and the many individual contributors who have made these programs possible.

Projects in the past year included:

* Nurturing the Roots: an international community mentor project. We continued to expand our mentor network through our Mentor Outreach Initiative 2005- 2011 to communities in Brazil, the Hawaiian islands and the islands of French Polynesia. In February, June and October members of our team traveled to the Hawaiian Islands for meetings and outings with Brother Noland Conjugacion and members of The Tracking Project – Hawaiian Inside (TTPHI / NTR), a mentor program for young Hawaiians. In April, we traveled to Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil for a tracking course ; in October, we joined our friends at University of Peace (UNIPAZ) in Brasília for a class focusing on Tracking the Roots of Peace. In February we visited our friends on Huahine in the South Pacific and continued our cultural exchange with the community.

* Masters level mentor intensive. We concluded a special one-year Masters level mentor course for one of our Hawaiian mentor participants, providing intensive focus on the thirteen essential elements of our curriculum. We also provided shorter mentoring opportunities for individuals in our mentor network.

* Hawaiian Arts of Life. We traveled to O’ahu in February and October to hold our annual Arts of Life programs with Kamehameha Elementary School (grade 1) and Kamehameha Middle School (grade 7).

* Sustainability / permaculture. With permaculture designer Joel Glanzberg, we once again offered our courses linking tracking, permaculture and sustainability. In August, Joel and John Stokes presented “The Art of Seeing/ The Way of the Tracker” — a course blending the pattern literacy of permaculture with the art of tracking. Joel also brings his expertise to the participants of Tracking in the Southwest each September.

* Wildlife preservation. With the funding assistance of the Frances V. R. Seebe Trust, we continued our work in the field of wildlife preservation through our classes, literature products and our on-going links with wildlife groups around the world.

* Summer Skills camps. We continued to host our summer youth tracking and awareness camps in New Mexico: our sixteenth annual Dreamtracking camp for girls, ages 10 -16; the twenty-fifth year of Hawkeye Training, our tracking/awareness camp for boys 12-18; and Hawkeye Scout, our invitational advanced skills camp, which was held for the thirteenth year.

* Storytelling workshop. We joined our friend, Abenaki poet and writer Joseph Bruchac for a two day school visit / workshop — Storytelling Across the Curriculum — hosted by the Cottonwood School in Corrales, New Mexico.

* Tracking/awareness courses. We once again held our popular Tracking in the Southwest course for adults in the mountains of northern New Mexico.

* Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. We offered two sessions of Arnis training to the higher level students ( 7 ups) at the Rio Rancho Bujinkan dojo for the fourth year in a row.

* Publications. We continued to spread the attitude of gratitude to all living things through our publication Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World. Adapted from a traditional Iroquois address to the natural world and originally printed in a Mohawk/English dual translation, these words of gratitude are now available in nine language editions: English, German, Swedish, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Bisayan, French and Hawaiian. With our latest reprint, we have 68,500 copies of the book in print worldwide.

* Teaching resources/ products. We continued to generate our array of resource products which now includes: the Thanksgiving Address booklets; Thanksgiving Address notecards; two posters — Animal Tracks of the Southwest and Animal Tracks of Brasil — and our workout DVD, Secrets of Natural Movement.


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