Huge congrats to Nick Czaplewski on earning his Track and Sign Specialist this weekend in south Texas, in the thorn-scrub country where the Rio Grande spills into the gulf. Thanks Cactus Creek Ranch, and Earth Native Wilderness School for hosting!

I first met Nick in the desert outside of Tuscon Arizona in 2013 and was immediately impressed and moved by his knowledge of life on earth, his tracking ability, and his deep well of kindness and humility. He’s one of those folks that is endlessly curious about stuff, and it shows in everything he does.

Nick is paleontologist whose research specializes on fossil bats (!). He’s always our go-to guy for bones on evals, and I’ve seen him find fossilized bison teeth in riverbeds in Arkansas, and casually identify 15 million year old mammal fossils from ridiculously small fragments in the deserts in New Mexico. He works as a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma. 

He’s taken six T & S evaluations in wildly diverse environments spanning Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona, and I have had the honor to be present at all of them. Three were Specialist evals.

What did he do to celebrate? He went back out into the field with to look for sign with Jeff Jenkins. Figures. Thanks Nick for the inspiration you lend, your dedication to all things wild and to this process, and for your friendship. 

-Casey and the CTNA team

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