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, April 30, 2008

St. Cloud and It's Silver Lining

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.

Upon the Blue Ridge Mountains....

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!

Happy Trails, 

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.  

White Sands National Monument

A huge thank you to White Sands National Monument in Southern New Mexico. We have been lucky enough to spend the last four days camping in their backcountry campsites. Nothing beats coming "home" to the dunes after working with the great students in the Alamogordo School District all day. We got some great photos of the park. Did You Know the gypsum that makes up the white sands starts out as clear, translucent sand grains. As the wind bounces the sand grains along the ground, they collide and scratch each other. The scratches change the way light reflects off the grains, making the sand appear white. What a magical place. One of our new favorite places.

Warm Thanks, 
Tanya and Cody

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Twin Cities

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.

Majestic Mystic Mountains

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.

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis

Friday, April 25, 2008

Leave what you find!

East out of Joshua Tree on Highway 62

Just a little reminder on how important it is to Leave What You Find! Spring has sprung! We started photographing flowers in Santa Cruz, CA as we made our way through southern California's Mojave Desert! Objects really do derive their power in their natural setting! Some alternatives to removing objects from their environments are; photos, journals and haikus. Remember travelers, let memories be your souvenirs! Thank you Ranger Pam Tripp and Cindy Von Halle from Joshua Tree National Park. It was great to be back!

Tanya and Cody

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Leave No Trace 101 Charleston, SC edition

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. 

Afterwards we journeyed to Johns Island, to view one of the oldest living "things" east of the Mississippi. The Angel Oak Tree. What an amazing tree, thought to be 1,400 years old, 25 feet around the trunk of the tree, with limbs that extend out to 89 feet. It was a sight to see, and was yet another artifact making Charleston, South Carolina such a beautiful place. 

We just want to say thanks to Maudra Rogers, for making these programs happen. We had such a great time, all the students were awesome, and left a big smile on our faces. Thanks also to Gerald Smalls for helping out and taking pictures at James Island, we appreciate it.  Murray La Saine and James Island keep up the good work, teach your friends, and Leave No Trace.

Checkout some pictures from both schools.....Thanks again y'all!

Happy Trails,
 Alexis & Topher 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Week!!

    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.
We've been listening to lots of Mos Def and Fela Kuti as we cruised all over Southern CA this week.
Go Desert!
Tanya and Cody

Monday, April 21, 2008

Green Apple Festival

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.

Paddler's Paradise

If it’s paddling your passionate about then the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival is where it’s at. With over 70 exhibitors the festival offers the opportunity for novices and experts to demo a variety of boats, as well as take classes on and off water. We’d like to thank our hosts, the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission for taking such good care of us and putting on an amazing event. The James Island County Park where the event took place is a beautiful facility complete with a water park, trails, ropes course, and the tallest climbing wall in the state of South Carolina. The 50’ climbing wall offers climbing for all skill levels and the friendly park staff are happy to belay you.
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…

Happy Trails,
Topher and Alexis

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Share the Trails

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

Fresno Perfection!

What a great two hours spent with the employees at the new REI in Fresno, California. We were excited to be the ones to introduce the staff to the PEAK Program. This made for a fun and enthusiastic morning! We met for two hours to talk PEAK, but the crew got together afterwards to discuss more about teaching Leave No Trace. We had a blast spending our morning with this spunky bunch! We look forward to coming back and working with Alyson Wright the REI Outreach Specialist and the crew! On to the desert and the San Diego Earth Day Event!

Have fun,

Tanya and Cody

Thursday, April 17, 2008

California Roll

Durable Surfaces activity at Kirby Cove

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

Click on the slideshow to view larger images if you want

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Exploring the Southeast

We left Amicolola falls, with great new friends and experiences from the wildflower festival. With a couple of days to explore and play we headed to Tennessee to climb, cave, and camp! We first stopped at Starr Mountain, which is outside of Chattanooga to climb and camp. Great spot right by the Hiawasse River. The climbs  were great, a range of variety, with amazing scenery of the river once you topped out. Just want to say thanks to all the local Tenness-ians for all the great advice for places to go climb at!

The next activity for exploration was to go caving. Topher has been looking for good caving spots since we hit the road. As for myself, i have never caved before, and was never really seeking out the recreational activity of Caving. We met some great locals that pointed us in the right direction to Lost Corral Cave. This being my first Caving trip, i have to admit i was a bit scared, and wanting to go climb instead, but all in all it was great! The cave had 12 different rooms, and not to mention a river running thru it! We explored for hours, and finally had explored each room of the cave. There were many bats along the cave walls, and amazing pristine formations along cave walls. I do have to say, i really enjoyed the experience,  the only thing i am not looking forward to is washing our clothes, its a pretty messy sport! 

Now we are heading to Charleston, South Carolina for the East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival! 

Check out some pics from Amicolola State Park & Climbing and Caving in Tennessee 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

UW - Stout

Over the weekend we had the fantastic opportunity to work with students from University of Wisconsin – Stout on a Leave No Trace Trainer Course. While these students came from a wide array of backgrounds (and majors), they were all outdoor enthusiasts, interested in sharing Leave No Trace skills and ethics with others. Despite crazy Wisconsin spring weather, the course was a great success. We would like to give a big thanks to Stout Adventures and SAORE for hosting this course. Here are a few photos from the course. If you are interested in becoming a Leave No Trace Trainer, visit the Leave No Trace training page to find out about training possibilities in your state.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amicolola Falls....

Tis' Spring time, and so the wildflowers come out! We headed  north in Georgia to Amicolola Falls State Park for the Wildflower Festival! We tabled at the two day festival, talking to park visitors and soon to be Appalachian Trail thru hikers about Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. We even did a small awareness workshop/activity with a local youth church group at the festival.

Amicolola Falls is a 729 ft waterfall (they say the tallest east of the Mississippi river). While at Amicolola we hiked approximately 725 steps top of the waterfalls.  Amicolola is also known as the approach to the Appalachian Trail, stemming from Georgia to Maine, 2,135 miles! While at the park we were also fortunate enough to witness the release of a Barn owl  that had been rehabilitated after an accident with a vehicle on a nearby road, it was amazing to witness. The park has amazing ranger led programs with naturalists, and a wildlife rehab program. We had a blast at the park and want to thank all the staff that made us feel right at home, Thanks Y'all! 

Happy Trails, 
Topher & Alexis 

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

We are having a blast! Enjoying northern California and Nevada. Included are some great pictures of our travels and presentations. We just completed an awareness workshop with the Subaru/IMBA Trail Crew and the Rockville Hills Regional Park, in Fairfield, California. Click the highlighted to view their websites. It was great to meet Anna and Jason from IMBA, and a big thank you to Cindy Apaka for coordinating the event. One of the areas we visited was the Suisun Marsh in southern Solano County near Suisun City and Fairfield. It is the largest marsh remaining on the west coast! This 116,000 acre brackish, a mix of saltwater and freshwater, marsh is home to 221 species of birds, 45 animal species, 16 reptile and amphibians species and 40 fish species. The weekend of April 12th and 13th we will be holding a Leave No Trace Trainer Course for Kayakers in the Marin Headlands just outside of San Fransico. The event is being hosted by Bay Access, Inc. a non profit dedicated to the creation of the San Fransico Bay area water trail. Stay tuned for an update and pictures!

View Slide Show, Click Me!


Tanya and Cody

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Southern Comfort

 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

Sac Town

             California State Advocate- Liz Garland Williams

We left Reno and headed up to Lake Tahoe for some great views and new friends at Alexis and Topher's old house in King's Beach.  Nice place guys!  We hit the slopes the next day at Northstar mountain and then took a nice drive around beautiful blue Lake Tahoe on the way to Sacramento for a PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids) workshop at REI.  25 employees from the Stockton, Roseville, Folsom, and Sacramento REI's came together for a morning full of information, games, and discussions.  Thanks to Erin Harrington for coordinating the event and providing breakfast for everyone.  Afterwards we met with the wonderful Liz Garland Williams, Leave No Trace California State Advocate.  Liz works for the Girl Scouts doing training and programs so her role as the California State Advocate fits quite nicely. California's a big state and there are lots of Leave No Trace events happening.  Check out the California community page to see what's happening in your area.  Liz says she gets lots of help from various Leave No Trace Master Educators and Trainers all over the state and that she couldn't do it without them.  Next stop, Fairfield, CA.  

Education in motion,

Tanya and Cody


Monday, April 7, 2008

"Hau Kola!"

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

Reno 911!

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! 
View our slide show, click me!

Leave No Trace,
Tanya and Cody

PEAKing Interest in Atlanta

After a few stormy days in the South the sun finally PEAKed out for our first official program in Georgia.  Thirty five REI employees all gathered in Atlanta for a PEAK Leave No Trace Training.  Folks ventured from the greater Atlanta area as well as northern Georgia to attend the presentation. The training went well, and afterwards we had the good fortune to witness an employee receive their 10th year of service award.
Our time in Georgia has been well spent thus far.  We have spent several days touring around the countryside and are now staying on Lake Oconee, just east of Atlanta.  Tomorrow we head out for Statesboro, GA where we will facilitate an Awareness Workshop at Georgia Southern University.  
Till next time.....Happy Trails! Topher & Alexis 

Friday, April 4, 2008

Valentine's Day in April?

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

Many Thanks

  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!

Happy Trails,
   Tanya and Cody  

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hittin' The Road.....

As we depart Colorado, we hit the road equipped with knowledge, skills, and memories from the past three weeks training in Boulder, at The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. We look back at our master educator course in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, learning as a team together furthering our wisdom about the skills and ethics. Getting to know the professional office staff during this time enlightened us and expanded our passion for Leave No Trace and the journey we are about to embark on. We are truly grateful for the time and energy these individuals have poured into the Traveling Trainer program, and feel blessed to be apart of an organization that cares so much about our environment and recreational resources. As team east we are eager for life on the road and the many different people and places we are about to experience. Driving thru the great plains of Kansas, we set our sites for Atlanta, Georgia our first stop for programs as Traveling Trainers. Stay tuned for updates on our up and coming programs in the South East!

Happy Trails…..Alexis & Topher

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Batter Up!!!

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)