Currently in its 12th year, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, 2 teams of professional outdoor educators, have reached over 10 million people in 48 states with Leave No Trace education and training.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

End of the road...

We returned to California for our final event of the year and to wrap up our time as Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers.  We spent two days in beautiful Yosemite National Park working with guides and outdoor educators during a Trainer Course.  Then we met up with family for a few days of hiking before returning to Northern California to do our final wrap up.  It is with very mixed emotions that we are coming off the road: excitement for all the different things the future holds and sadness at leaving such an incredible job and group of people that we have been working with.

So a few thank yous and thoughts about being on the road:    
Thank you to everyone in the office, your incredible support and logistics has made these past two years awesome!
Thank you to Dusty and Amy and JD and Emily.  Y'all are wonderful educators and it has been a pleasure to learn from and with you and share road stories.
Thank you to all the folks we have worked with over the past two years (all 13,000 of you!), we have learned so much from each event and have been consistently amazed by the enthusiasm and interest that has greeted us throughout the country (44 states!).

We encourage folks to continue to take steps forward in their personal Leave No Trace practice and keep asking questions about what might be the best practice in a specific environment or activity.  Most importantly: get out there and have fun!  Enjoy the public lands that we have the opportunity to use, have fun biking, running, climbing, sleeping, riding, etc, and introduce a young person to your favorite place.
See you on the road....
North and Ella

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

School is in Session

We wrapped up our first season as Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers last week in Phoenix and Flagstaff, AZ. In Phoenix we met up with Lisa Verghese, an english teacher and outdoor club advisor, at Xavier College Prepartory school. The hour was spent talking with the 40+ club memebers about applying Leave No Trace skills and ethics to their upcoming outings.

After our visit to Phoenix we checked out the scenery at the Grand Canyon before moving on to our final event at the PEAK Charter School in Flagstaff, AZ. At the PEAK Charter School we talked with 5th, 6th, and 8th graders about the importance of Respecting Wildlife and Trashing Your Trash. As a part of their physical education curriculum, students can elect to participate in an outdoor trip program. Lea Schlachter, a teacher at the school, takes the students out to go hiking, biking, boating, as well as many other forms of recreation.

We are sad to see the season end, but we will be back next season after spending some time with our families and our dogs. See you soon.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Don't mess with Texas!

What do you get when you mix over 40,000 people, hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, countless Texas State Parks volunteers, two Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, and one Texas State Advocate?  You get the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo!
We spent the past weekend in Austin, Texas talking with a few thousand of those 40,000 people and discovering some of the things that make Texas such a great state.  We had the opportunity to eat some delicious barbeque, take in some life music in Austin, stay in McKinney Falls State Park, and meet some of the people that are taking care of the wild spaces in Texas.  Throughout the Expo we were able to enjoy the REI PEAK maze as well as spend time exchanging ideas with Griff Danheim (our Texas State Advocate).  Griff is doing a phenomenal job here in Texas, educating, networking, and role modeling Leave No Trace.  The Expo was a great experience and we are excited that we were able to be a part of it!
See you on the road,
north and ella

Friday, October 5, 2007

Small Town + Cool Company = Recipe for Success

For our final events in the West, we felt very honored and excited to travel to the exquisite North Fork Valley and Paonia, CO to visit and work with Chaco, one of our primary Traveling Trainer sponsors and an amazing footwear company with a large social conscience.  

Paonia serves as Chaco's  home ground and one immediately becomes aware of the seamless and endearing relationship that the company has with its place.  They care about the valley, its people, and the greater natural world at large.  It's reassuring to see a corporation with this much heart making such great products AND walking their talk by assisting us in providing free education and programming to thousands of  individuals each year!

For three days, we were warmly hosted by Chaco's Brian Scranton and Dave Knutson as they introduced us to a behind -the-scenes view of both the company and this stunning corner of Colorado. When not sharing meals and meaningful dialogue with these guys, we were doing our part to help share Leave No Trace with a diverse cross-section of the valley's community.

During our time there, we presented to over 100 of Chaco's employees, over 130 4th-6th graders from local schools, a creative and energetic group of 1st-3rd graders, and some hunters from the area. Their energy, enthusiasm, and sincere questions were a delight to encounter each day.

Thanks again to Chaco for serving as a model within the outdoor industry. It is always exciting to know that more and more companies are understanding the need for education of all outdoor enthusiasts.  If individuals and groups do not understand how they can help to protect and preserve these amazing places through simple choices, will there be future customers wishing to buy outdoor gear and apparel for a denuded and impacted landscape?  Think about it...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kids, kids, and more kids!

We had the opportunity this past Friday to work with the 5th graders at Rosenwald Elementary School in New Roads, Louisiana.  This was an exciting moment for a few reasons: the opportunity to see a good friend who recently moved to Louisiana to teach, the opportunity to work with excited youth, and most importantly, because this is our first time in Louisiana and we have been looking forward to the gulf, the gumbo, and the atmosphere.Our time at Rosenwald was a blast as we shared our travels and stories with many students who hadn't been out of the state.  We also got to play games and do some "educational" running around outside!

From there we headed down to New Orleans where we set up a booth and did two presentations at the Cub Scout Zoofari.  Working with over 500 Cub Scouts made for both an exhilarating and exhausting day.  We were joined by Babs Evers, our Louisiana State Advocate, who is not only a great teacher but a great tour guide.  Babs took us around New Orleans to show us some of the damage as well as the rebuilding that has happened since Hurricane Katrina.  We experienced many emotions during the drive through the city including amazement at humanity's resilience to difficult times.  

Louisiana is a far stretch from our home in the Pacific Northwest but we thoroughly enjoyed our time here and the hospitality we encountered repeatedly.  See you on the road...
North and Ella