THE SUBARU/LEAVE NO TRACE TRAVELING TRAINER PROGRAM
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
After wrapping up a weekend at the Outdoor Adventure Expo in Minneapolis, we bid farewell to our friends at Midwest Mountaineering and pointed our Subaru north for an awareness workshop with St. Cloud State University. At St. Cloud we met up with Ivan Bartha, Coordinator for Experiential Programs at SCSU – Outdoor Endeavors. In addition to offering students opportunities to get outdoors, Outdoor Endeavors also promotes Leave No Trace during trips and has been a Leave No Trace educational partner since 2005. While there we spoke with students and community members from an array of majors and backgrounds about ways to incorporate Leave No Trace skills and ethics into all their outdoor adventures. After speaking with this great group of outdoor enthusiasts, we are looking forward to checking out some of Minnesota’s fine wild areas. First stop…Eagle Mountain in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area.
So many mountains so little time. As we head from the southeast up north, we have had some time to explore & play in some beautiful places in North Carolina & Virginia, as we head to Pennsylvania for the Great Green America Fest. While in North Carolina we hit up some great mountain biking in the Pisgah National Forest, and climbing at Looking Glass Rock , the east coast’s Yosemite. Then on our program at Fontana Dam, with their hiking club, we saw amazing flora in the Smoky Mountains, and discussed Leave No Trace out on the trail. Venturing further north on the Blue Ridge Parkway we stopped at Shenandoah National Park to hike, camp, and explore. We have endured some spring weather on the east with rain, thunderstorms, snow flurries, and tornadoes, but we are still hanging tough. The sun peaked through just a bit once we hit Pennsylvania, just in time for a little history stop in Gettysburg, PA where the turning point of the Civil War happened. Gettysburg was one of the largest & bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Next stop Great Green America Fest!
Please enjoy our slideshow from North Carolina, Virginia, & Pennsylvania!
Alexis & Topher
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We left Joshua Tree and headed east into Arizona's Sonoran Desert en route to Las Cruces, NM. Along the way, we stopped to visit Tucson and do some hiking and biking in Saguaro National Park. We had a good time with Ben and Kenny and a few other outdoor minded students during an awareness workshop at New Mexico State University. Then it was up hwy 70 to Alamogordo, NM. Our first day in this great town was at the Earth Day celebration in the Alamogordo Zoo. Area Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts helped us set up our booth and hand out Leave No Trace information. In the following few days we visited Ms. Full's six grade classes at Holloman Middle School, both fifth grade classes at La Luz Elementary, the Boys and Girls Club of Otero County, and students from the Legacy School. We had a great time talking about Leave No Trace with all of you. We would like to give special thanks to Chuck Galusha and Paula Peters for getting us involved in the town and to White Sands National Monument for hosting us for four magical nights out in the dunes.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
To kick off our Twin Cities tour we paid a visit to Kenwood Park in Minneapolis. At the park we met up with 33 of REI's finest for a PEAK training. Employees from the three REI stores in the area showed up to prepare for what is sure to be a busy summer of PEAK programs.
During the training we introduced the employees to one of the new PEAK activities, "Minimum Impact Match". We also demonstrated one of the activities from the new TEEN Pack. "The Ethics Game" is a great activity to get people thinking about environmental impacts that we all come across when in the outdoors.
As the rain lifted, the steam rose from the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. You can see how these majestic mountains received their name. This unique region is essentially a temperate rainforest, and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. On our off days we explored the mountain biking and climbing in the Pisgah National Forest just southeast of Asheville. Before departing North Carolina we had the opportunity to go hiking with the Fontana Hiking Club on a decommissioned section of the Appalachian Trail that the Club has resurrected. You couldn’t help but feel nostalgic while hiking on this section which was decommissioned due to the construction of the Fontana Dam in the 40's. During the hike participants had the chance to brush up on their Leave No Trace knowledge, and share their experiences and background of the region. Next we head to Pennsylvania for the Great Green America Fest, but before we go we'd like to thank our wonderful hosts.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Two days, two schools, and 40 local Charleston, South Carolina elementary students were attentive and excited to learn about Leave No Trace. As Earth Day approached and passed, the students were eager to tell all of their knowledge of mother earth, and ways to protect our environment. Our first stop was at Murray La Saine Elementary, on James Island with 20 students from kindergarten to fifth grade. We explored the principles of Leave No Trace, and did a couple of PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids) activities; How long does it last?, and Step on It! The students really enjoyed both and loved getting Leave No Trace educational prizes at the end of the program. The second stop was to James Island elementary, where we met another group of eager Charleston students, ready to share and learn about how they can protect the environment around them, and minimize their impact. After a long day in school we were shocked how much energy this group had. Many of the students told us what they do to make their area beautiful, and how they Leave No Trace at school and play! We discussed the 7 principles of Leave No Trace, and played What Principle Am I?, and Worms Eye View. The students had a blast, and were pumped to get outside and do an activity.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Earth Fair in San Diego and the California Poppy Reserve
We left Fresno and had a chance to head home (to our storage unit) for two days. Beautiful Hwy 178 took us along the Kern River, past Lake Isabella, over the Scodie Mnts, and into the Indain Wells Valley to Ridgecrest, CA. A short and sweet visit. Thanks Brendan! Stopped by the California Poppy Reserve on the way to LA for Passover. Then to San Diego for Earth Fair 2008! 60,000 people spent the day in lovely Balboa Park where over 500 exhibitors promoted Earth Day and the causes that they are passionate about. The Leave No Trace tent was packed from 10am-5pm with hundreds and hundreds of folks interested in learning more about responsible recreation in the outdoors. Now we're in Joshua Tree, CA and the spring wildflowers are peaking. We'll be at the visitor center and on the trails for the next two days. Stay tuned for lots of great Joshua Tree pictures.
Monday, April 21, 2008
In the midst of flamingos, tigers, and polar bears, we joined over 30 other environmentally minded organizations at the Lincoln Park Zoo to celebrate Earth Day Chicago-style. The Green Apple Festival, held in eight cities across the country, is touted as the largest Earth Day celebration in the United States. We spent the day chatting with people about the skills and ethics involved in Leave No Trace. While Chicago residents were interested in many of the programs offered by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoors Ethics, we spent a lot of time talking about the Frontcountry Program.
Frontcountry areas, like the Lincoln Park Zoo, are susceptible to great impacts due to the sheer number of people who visit these areas on a day-to-day basis. The Leave No Trace Frontcountry Program offers information that helps minimize the impacts associated with easily accessible areas.
If you didn’t make it out to the Green Apple Festival, don’t worry…Earth Day is April 22 and there will be many events, big and small, going on all over the world this week. We’d love to hear how you plan to celebrate Earth Day. Feel free to leave a comment on anything Earth Day related.
We offered several awareness workshops tailored to coastal environments, and sea kayaking. It was shocking to here from so many paddlers how must trash they have to deal with along the shoreline, with that said, it was refreshing to here those same folks say that they make the effort clean up after others who seem to lack the knowledge of how detrimental littering can be. Till next time…
Topher and Alexis
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Recently we went for a hike in the Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin. The John Muir trail system is a great place to go for a hike or for a mountain bike ride. There is a shorter 2.5 mile loop and a longer 10 mile loop with a few other loops in between those distances to choose from. There is a $7 day use fee if you are thinking of checking it out.
When enjoying a recreation site that allows multiple-users on the same trails remember that there is an etiquette that trail-users can use while out there to be courteous to each other. The yield triangle, pictured above, is part of that etiquette. The other part is letting other users know when you are approaching from behind by saying something like, "passing on your left".
A little trail etiquette can go a long way.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
We spent a wonderful week in the San Francisco Bay and Santa Cruz areas! After the IMBA event in Fairfield we went to beautiful Sausalito, CA in the Marin Headlands for a two day trainer course with a great group of kayakers, wind surfers, sailors, and hikers. The course took place in Kirby Cove, the “finest urban campsite in the world” and was hosted by Bay Access Inc. Hot weather, sweet views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay, good food, and great discussions and teaching sessions made for a fun weekend. A highlight for us was being able to take part in a brain storming discussion on ways that Leave No Trace information and education could be used in the upcoming Bay Access Water Trail that the group has worked so hard to create. We hope to come back and get out on the water next time with the Bay Area Sea Kayakers (BASK) and see how the water trail is doing.
Then it was inland to Concord, CA for an early morning PEAK presentation for 10 REI employees. Thank you for your support and for all the new Leave No Trace memberships. We spent the afternoon and evening with Greg Meyer and the students of the University of California, Santa Cruz. We hosted an evening awareness course for 12 outdoorsy students and trip leaders. We’re very jealous of all the great trips that the university offers each semester and for the great, nearby locations that they can take advantage of. See for yourself on their website.
We’re really going to miss all the fresh produce and small markets that make this area extra sweet. Team West favorite music this week: Nico Case
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
While traveling around the northern midwest states we have been taking advantage of the opportunity to visit some of the state highpoints. A highpoint climb can involve a climb to the highest point in South Dakota (7242 ft), which involves a 3 to 4 hour hike to reach some beautiful views. While other highpoints, like Iowa, might involve a quick drive to a farm to walk to the end of a barn that has a "Highest Point in Iowa" sign on it.
Together we have been to 38 highpoints, thirteen of them as Traveling Trainers. Remember your Leave No trace skills and ethics if you decide that "highpointing" is something you want to do.
Friday, April 11, 2008
View Slide Show, Click Me!
Tanya and Cody
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Ahhh Georgia in the spring time. Sun shining, warm days, and 100% humidity in the air. We can see why big hair is in, in the south! After our program in Atlanta, we headed further south in Georgia to the town of Statesboro to Georgia Southern University. We tabled on Campus, and were immersed into a melting pot of culture at Georgia Southern. We were set up in front of the Student Union building talking to students on campus about Leave No Trace, between a Mennonite choir group and two fraternity houses having a BBQ cookout fundraiser. Afterwards we headed over to the Southern Adventures Center to do an Awareness workshop. Southern Adventures is an awesome program on campus that facilitates experiential education, and leads students on various climbing trips in sweet spots around the country. The awareness workshop was a huge success. 25 students and staff of Southern Adventures attended, from climbing guides to program participants, definitely like minded folks were engaged in the program. We had lots of great conversation about stewardship and ethics, and great personal experiences & stories from participants. After the workshop Topher and I got to climb and hang out with some of the students and crew in their amazing indoor climbing gym. WE HAD A BLAST! After the program we were blessed to hang out with Topher's Aunt & Uncle on Lake Oconee, getting loving southern treatment! As we leave Lake Oconee today, we want to give a shout out to Dustin and the whole Southern Adventures crew, and the wonderful Littletons who made us feel right at home in the deep south!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
After leaving Nebraska, we took a slight detour through western South Dakota on our way to our next event in Madison, Wisconsin. Despite frigid conditions, our Tribeca’s thermometer read 15 degrees last night, we had a great time exploring this incredible area. Over the weekend, we visited Wind Cave National Park, Mt. Rushmore National Monument, Black Hill National Forest, Custer State Park, Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, and Badlands National Park. One of the highlights of our trip was a 6-mile hike to Harney Peak, not only did we have the entire trail to ourselves, but we were also rewarded with amazing views in every direction. Here are a few more pictures from our time in South Dakota...hope you enjoy!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
After we said goodbye to Colorado we made our way through Southern Utah, one of our favorite areas! We stopped in Arches National Park and hiked on the Park Avenue Trail for a quick two mile hike before our trek to Reno, Nevada. We traveled on Route 50 also called the Loneliest Highway! We stopped to enjoy some petroglyphs and the beautiful basin and range views Nevada is know for. Highway 50 also has some odd roadside attractions. Let us know what you think of them! We made it to Reno where we put on a PEAK presentation for REI employees and other outdoor educators. Thanks to David Hess and REI Reno for a great morning! Please click below to view our trip photos and again let us know what you think of the odd roadside attractions!
Friday, April 4, 2008
We recently spent a few days in Valentine, NE. Yes, many people travel here every year to celebrate Valentine's Day in Valentine. Makeshift chapels are even put together for large numbers of people looking to get hitched on Valentine's Day. On April 3 & 4 we spent some time with the 4th and 5th graders at Valentine Elementary School. April 3rd we spent the day talking with the 4th graders and spent the evening chatting with some local outfitters and scouting leaders. On the 4th we spent the day with the Valentine 5th graders. How about a "Shout Out" to the faculty at Valentine Elementary School for doing a great job of teaching a wonderful group of kids.
A special thanks to Dani and Kally at the Niobrara Council for their hospitality and for setting up the events.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
So long Colorado. It's been a blast. Thank you for the stunning mountains that were our daily background and our occasional playground. Thank you for all the sunny days and the wonderful winding highways. Thanks for all the great times we had in towns like Boulder, Fruita, and Crestone, and for all the amazing people that we met during the last three weeks. Many, many thanks to the Center for Outdoor Ethics and its dynamic staff. We will miss you all and can't wait to see you again in June. Finally, thank you to Subaru of American for supporting this great program. We're on the road and we're looking ahead to all the great events and opportunities to teach and practice Leave No Trace. We're also very excited to be going back to California, our home state, for a month of events! But first, a stop in Utah at Arches NP for a nice hike, a long, lonely drive on Nevada's Hwy 50, and then to REI in Reno, NV for our first event!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
We are excited to introduce the 2008 roster of Leave No Trace traveling educators. After spending a few days in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, and a few more days at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, these dynamic teams of educators will be hitting the road. By the end of the year they will have provided thousands of individuals with Leave No Trace skills and information. Check back soon to meet Team East and Team West of the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers and the Leave No Trace E-tour.
From left to right: Alexis & Topher (Team East), Emily & JD (Senior Team), Dave Winter (Outreach Manager), Cody & Tanya (Team West), Tracy & Kate (e-tour)