Białowieza: On the Trail of Europe’s Megafauna

February 2 thru 9, 2020

Sign Tracking with Daniel Hansche (Photo: UNH Cooperative Extension)

Bull Moose soon after antler drop (Photo: Grzegorz Długosz)

Białowieza National Park (Poland) is home to some of Europe’s most stunning wildlife: wolf, moose, red deer, wild boar, and the iconic European bison. This treasured forest has remained since its post-glacial return some 12,000 years ago. Join us on the trail of Europe’s megafauna.

Throughout our week, we take advantage of the winter conditions by following the trails of wildlife, exposing & opening us to the life of the wilderness. Moving along the trail quietly, we disturb less, and we see more. Though focused on the larger animals, we also look to connect with such charismatic mammals as pine & stone marten, European lynx, raccoon dog, fish otter, roe deer, and many more.

Through tracking, trailing, and other nature observation practices we gain insights and connection to all wildlife. We will find and follow the trails of European megafauna as well as the smaller species of Białowieza National Park. By observing tracks, sign, weather, and animal communication we learn about the animals’ lives and how to view them seamlessly -without disturbance and with great sensitivity to their needs.

Because wildlife cannot be experienced in a vacuum, we will pay keen attention to the rich ecology of Białowieza. From trees to geology to human history, we experience Białowieza in its full essence.

The cold field sessions in the winter wilderness are complimented by cozy lodgings in the town of Białowieza. Staying at Apartmenty Carska, a historic renovated train depot, we have a sense of human history as well. Before dawn we wake up with tea, coffee and a snack, soon heading out into the cold morning to scout for traces of last night’s animal movements. Most days we observe and interpret the tracks & signs then head back for a late morning brunch. We spend the rest of our day afield following the wildlife trails in hopes of viewing animals in the forest. As the skies darken we return to a hearty dinner. Evening activities vary from researching mysteries natural mysteries from the day, storytelling, late-night wolf howling and other animal communications, as well as simply relaxing. For aches and sore bodies, there is a Russian sauna available on site (one evening is complementary, additional evenings require a fee).

Ground transportation from Warsaw Airport (WAW) to Białowieza is included in the trip cost.

Activities include but are not limited to:

  • Track & Sign Interpretation Sessions

  • Trailing: the art of following the animal’s trail

  • Orientation at the Natural History Museum

  • Explore park, cultural, and ecological confluence

  • Guided tour of the old growth Białowieza forest

  • Animal communication & late-night wolf-howling

  • Birds & bird language interpretation

Payment

The trip cost is $950, airfare not included. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required for registration. Your balance of $750 must be fully paid by October 1, 2019.

Wolves rendezvous at a wilderness road crossing (Photo: Grzegorz Długosz)

Wolves rendezvous at a wilderness road crossing (Photo: Grzegorz Długosz)