BRATTLEBORO -- Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center will be offering a Valentine Chocolate Scat Sampler for sale at The River Gallery during February’s Gallery Walk, all to benefit the scholarship fund for its nature vacation camps.

For many years, BEEC has been leading groups through the woods of southern Vermont teaching them to read the signs of nature.

"Tracking is much more then looking for paw prints in the ground," said Patti Smith, BEEC’s expert naturalist and tracker. "When you track you observe all the signs left by the animal as they pass. One common marker is what the wildlife biologist refers to as scat ...the fecal remains of animals: poop. Scat markers are extremely useful, as they not only indicate the animal that has passed and in what direction but also their diet as well."

True naturalists come to have a strange affection for scat, and feel great delight upon a siting, said Smith.

"That’s way this is a perfect fundraiser for our camps."

The Valentine Scat Sampler is composed of the finest chocolates with ingredients added to resemble and suggest the mammal’s diets, including sesame seeds and "Craisens" for the berries and seeds found in the diet of a raccoon, or shredded wheat for fur from the coyote. Each box is arranged to suggest the chocolate samplers of the past, with a description of the diets of each animal found on the cover.

Landmark College students are helping out with the production of the samplers.

The samplers will be sold at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden during the Feb. 7 Gallery Walk for $15. Requests for boxes may be made by emailing admin@beec.org.

Funds raised through the sale of these Valentine Scat samplers support BEEC’s scholarship fund for its nature camps.