Critters in the Cold: Spying on Winter Wildlife With Kristi Collom - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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Critters in the Cold: Spying on Winter Wildlife With Kristi Collom

3 sessions
$110 per device
Up to 20 people
See Dates
$110 per device
$110 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this three-part seminar, learn about extreme cold-weather adaptations across the animal kingdom and how to tune in to winter wildlife around you.

Course Description

Winter is coming. Across the Northern Hemisphere, creatures are fluffing their feathers, squirreling food away, and burrowing deep underground. Animals have all kinds of astounding adaptations to survive frigid conditions, from slowing down natural processes in the body to feigning death. In this three-part online course, we’ll get to know the coolest of critters, explore the cold worlds they inhabit, and learn how they’ve adapted—and how behavior may evolve in response to a changing climate. We’ll take what we learn in class out into our own wintry worlds, identifying tracks, scat, sounds, and burrows. Expect interactive games, tools for spying on wildlife, creative projects, and a bit of biomimicry research. Original hot chocolate recipes crafted in collaboration with Maury Rubin of Wonderbon Chocolate and the former NYC favorite, City Bakery, will accompany each session. For the sake of our own winter survival, enjoying these velvety delights during class will be highly encouraged.

Syllabus at a Glance

There are three total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.5 hours on three Mondays beginning November 30.

Session 1 (Monday, 11/30, 7–8:30  PM ET): Breaking the ice + hibernation

Session 2 (Monday, 12/7, 7–8:30  PM ET): How to fake death

Session 3 (Monday, 12/14, 7–8:30  PM ET): Climate change + creature features

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Our online courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. Courses can take one of two forms: Seminars are intimate, interactive classes—capped at nine to 20 students—exploring topics and crafts through discussion, workshops, assignments, and in-class activities. We also offer lecture series that can be attended live, or viewed a time that works for you for up to one week after they’ve aired.

To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you can access the Zoom room for this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account.

About Your Instructor
Kristi Collom
Kristi Collom

Kristi Ashley Collom is a critter spy native to New York with a background in marine mammal science, conservation, and bioacoustics. Her research focuses primarily on marine mammal population demographics and passive acoustic monitoring “spyware.” She has led student expeditions with National Geographic, spearheaded research-based programs with RISE Rockaway, trained sea lions at Central Park Zoo, and worn many hats at the American Museum of Natural History. As an advocate of wildlife conservation and public engagement, she hopes that this program will empower future critter spies and inspire folks to immerse themselves in their own habitat ecology. In her spare time, she rears neonate kittens from the Gotham city streets and may very well allow a kitten to crash a class or two. If you’re local to New York, you may find her spying on dolphins and whales with her non-profit research and education organization, Gotham Whale.

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group, seminar-style course that will meet on Mondays over Zoom. Students will be invited to participate in discussions, workshop their projects, and receive feedback from the course instructor.

Between sessions, students will be encouraged to engage with local winter wildlife through satellite monitoring, animal tracking, a winter habitat art project, or recipes for "featured creature" hot chocolate recipes in collaboration with hot chocolate virtuoso Maury Rubin of City Bakery and Wonderbon Chocolate fame. (The polar bear hot chocolate featured in his annual hot chocolate festivals inspired this component.)

Group Size

There are 20 spots available on this experience.

Dates and Availability

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