Annual Project Summary 2014

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, Raging Wire, 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 Global Mentor Outreach Initiative 2005 – 2014 to communities in Brazil and the Hawaiian islands. In September a team traveled to Florianopolis, Brazil to initiate the first year of Nutrindo as Raízes, a new program with 35 mentor candidates.

* Nurturing the Roots / New Mexico. We hosted the third and final year of our community mentor program — NTR / New Mexico — graduating 21 new practitioners of the Arts of Life from many parts of the United States, the Hawaiian Islands and Canada, including members from the Iroquois Confederacy.

* Hawaiian Arts of Life. We traveled to Honolulu, O’ahu in October to spend three days hiking with the entire Grade 7 (350 + students) of the Kamehameha Middle School, presenting ideas on survival skills, sustainability, natural and cultural awareness.

* Haiku ‘Aina Permaculture Initiative (HAPI). We continued the work we have been doing since 2011 with the HAPI project in Haiku, Maui with three separate visits: in January, together with Hawaiian kupuna Sam Ka‘ai, we helped to coordinate a cultural retreat in Hana for the HAPI board members; in March John Stokes joined Sam Ka‘ai once again to present a planting workshop for a group in Haiku; and in November we presented a third workshop in Haiku.

* Wildlife preservation through education. With the funding assistance of the Frances V. R. Seebe Trust, we traveled to Olympia, Washington in April for a series of gatherings focused on wildlife preservation: spending two days with the staff and students of the NOVA middle school; visiting Wolf Haven International, a facility and educational center providing sanctuary for captive-born wolves; connecting with long-time Puyallup/ Nisqually friends who joined us at Wolf Haven and also gave us a tour of the Leschi Heritage Foundation in Dupont, Washington.

* Bosque School Winterim program. John Stokes was again invited to join Bosque teacher David Bair to hold a five day camping experience — Tracking in New Mexico — in a campsite near Socorro for grade 9 and 10 students.

* Summer Skills camps. We continued to host our summer youth tracking and awareness camps in New Mexico: our nineteenth annual Dreamtracking camp for girls, ages 10 -16; the twenty-eighth 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 sixteenth year.

* 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 ten language editions: English, German, Swedish, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Bisayan, French, Hawaiian and Italian. With the publication of the Italian edition and our latest reprint of the English version, we have 75,500 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.