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.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Super Skits

We crossed the still snowy Rocky Mnts and headed straight to Estes Park, CO to do a workshop with 60 staff members at YMCA of the Rockies.  We were in for a treat.  At this presentation were 60 skit-creating professionals who dove right in to the seven principles and put on a great show for everyone.  We learned, we laughed, and in the end, we left no trace.  Great job and great variety;  skits, Durable Surface Hollywood Squares, an extended version of "Have a Sip," interactive activities, and more.  We had a great time.  Thanks Karen for having us come by again. We hope to see you next year.
Now we're in beautiful Boulder with some super fine weather, and we're gearing up for what looks to be a fabulous weekend in Lyons, CO for the Lyons Outdoor Games.  Come out to Lyons and come by our booth for some prizes and information. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Desert Rocks Music Festival

We had a great four days at the Desert Rocks Music Festival. Thanks J.R. and Dina for a great time!! The festival overlooked the La Sals in Moab, Utah. Our favorite acts were Del the funkee homosapien, The Derek Trucks Band and a local favorite Wisebird. We were lucky enough to meet the artist of the beautiful installation piece seen in our slide show. Cody got creative and shot this picture of me in an old mine! We hope to join in the festivities at the 5th annual Desert Rocks Music Festival! 

Peace and Love!
Tanya and Cody

Looking Glass

Looking Glass is a 500 foot dome thrust up into  densely vegetated Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard in North Carolina. The "Glass", as locals say is the best known place for rock climbing in North Carolina, and said to be the east coasts Yosemite. This is because of the variety of climbs all in one crag, epic multi pitch climbing, and the unique rock features called "eyebrows" which look really cool on the rock, yet offer difficult hands and feet.  

Having some days off we ventured to Looking Glass, and climbed one of the popular multi pitches at the nose area called "Sundial Crack" a classic 3 pitch climb with 500 feet of vertical to the top of the dome.  Topher, myself, and Sean a college friend of Topher's climbed the 3 pitches of the climb and had a blast. It was an amazing climb, difficult with the "eyebrows", and of course up top 360 degree view of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain range. This is a must climb if you are in the North Carolina area, and are not afraid of heights! 
Check out some pics from the climb below

Happy Climbing.....Alexis & Topher 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nunchuck skills, bow staff skills, and LEVITATION skills?

We recently visited the Bay Area in California. During our visit we met up with Steve Sergeant, the producer and host of 'The WildeBeat'. The WildeBeat is an audio journal about getting out into the wilderness. Steve interviewed us and we put together a few sessions that will be aired on the WildeBeat website in the future. (we will post a link when they air) Steve is a great guy and we would encourage you to check out his show at

After our interviews we headed to Carmel to hang out and chat with visitors at the Point Lobos State Reserve. Working with Jane Eckman, a long time volunteer at the Reserve, we set up a booth and handed educational materials to many of the visitors that came into the park.

After a little work we headed out for a little play in Chinatown, Sonoma, and Lassen Volcanic National Park where we showed off our LEVITATION skills!

If you wanna brush up on your LEAVE NO TRACE skills check this out!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fosters Falls

After trying our hand at Mississippi climbing, we ventured northeast, back to one of our favorite new locations, Chattanooga, TN.  We randomly picked a location out of the climbing guidebook and ended up at Fosters Falls.  Thankfully, this area was nothing short of amazing!  Foster's is home to not only a beautiful waterfall, but some excellent climbing as well.  We tried our hand at several climbs over the course of two days before we headed to North Carolina for our next event in Asheville.  We put together a little slideshow of some of the places we've been recently, Enjoy!

Happy Trails, 

Topher & Alexis 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This past week we were excited to work with two very different groups of outdoor users in the Pacific Northwest. Early in the week we spent some time with a group of boyscouts in Oak Harbor, WA. Many of these scouts were just beginning to form a relationship with the outdoors. Hiking, biking, camping and sea kayaking were all activities that these boys either enjoyed or hoped to try in the near future. We demonstrated ways that Leave No Trace skills and ethics can relate to all the outdoor activities that they are learning to enjoy.

Later in the week we traveled to Ashford, WA to instruct a Leave No Trace Trainer Course with one of our partners, International Mountain Guides. The mountain guides who participated in the course have spent countless days outdoors and have the experience and training necessary to keep themselves and their clients safe and comfortable in the most extreme environments. During the course we shared ideas on ways that they could weave Leave No Trace instruction into the trips that they will be leading on Mt. Rainer this season.

Working with these two distinct groups was a great reminder that Leave No Trace is an important and relevant skill no matter what your outdoor experience may be. We had a great time with both the Oak Harbor Boyscouts and the IMG guides and hope that we have the opportunity to meet up with both groups again!

The Cascades

So long Central Oregon. So long Bend, Mt. Hood, and Smith Rocks. Not only were we in a great part of the country, but we got to spend a week with family, good friends, and fellow Traveling Trainers, Emily and JD. Hwy 139 took us from Reno to the Lava Beds National Monument to explore the lava tubes and the sites of the Modoc War. Highway 97 took us through Oregon with a brief stop at snowy Crater Lake National Park, and then to sunny Bend, OR. In Bend, we visited Ms. Moore’s environmental awareness class at Pilot Butte Middle School. Then it was off to the Zigzag Ranger Station in northern Oregon for a workshop with the Mt. Hood Wilderness Stewards. It was a fun, hot afternoon as we discussed Leave No Trace, did some good activities like “flag feces” and “watch your step,” and practiced the Authority of the Resource Technique. Thanks to Georgia Bosse, the Oregon State Advocate, for teaching the group about Minimizing Camp Fire Impacts, and to Mary Ellen Fitzgerald for inviting us to spend the afternoon with the Wilderness Stewards. We spent the next couple days climbing and hiking in Smith Rocks State Park, the sport climbing capital of the country and now we're on our way to Moab for the Desert Rocks Music Festival.

From Trees to Desert,
Tanya and Cody

Crow's Neck Environmental Education Center

Heading 9 hours down south from West Virginia, we landed in Tishomingo, Mississippi for a program at Crow's Neck Environmental Education Center. The center uses hands-on, outdoor education activities to create in-depth learning experiences which foster responsible stewardship of Northeast Mississippi's natural and cultural resources. We had the opportunity to work with a group of 56 6th graders from Memphis, Tennessee that are doing a week long program at Crow's Neck. The 2 hour jam packed program focused on demonstrations, discussions, and activities exploring the 7 principles of Leave No Trace. A new favorite activity of ours and some of the staff at Crow's Neck is "Have a Sip" which is in 101 Ways to Teach Leave No Trace, (available in the online store:). The activity educates participants on the impact we can have on water sources, while in the outdoors recreating i.e. sun lotions, bug spray, food particles, human waste affecting water quality. It is a great activity, with good visuals. As it started to get dark we ended the program talking about responsible campfires, and techniques to do  a Leave No Trace campfire. Campfires always spark conversation, especially with this group, the following evening they have a campfire scheduled. 

We would like to thank the students, teachers, and all the wonderful staff at Crow's Neck, we really enjoyed your hospitality and the facility. Have a great rest of your week! 

Happy Trails, 
Alexis Ollar & Topher Marlatt

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New River Rendezvous

This year’s New River Rendezvous proved that rainy weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the climbing community.  The event saw roughly 900 volunteers, sponsors, and participants amped on a weekend of climbing, fellowship, and contests.  We had the distinct pleasure of running a Bag Your Micro-Trash at the Crag Contest.  The winner of the contest helped pick up a considerable amount of micro-trash from the base of several popular climbing areas in the region.  For his efforts he was rewarded with a prize pack donated by Miguel’s at the Red River Gorge. 

The Rendezvous shifted gears this year after last year’s event.  The promoters moved to a pre-registration system and capped attendance to 700 participants.  The other big news was this year’s zero waste initiative.  The promoters were pleased to see how much cleaner the venue was compared with last year’s Rendezvous.  We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the Micro-Trash contest, your stewardship is much appreciated, and to our wonderful hosts, this may have been our first Rendezvous but it certainly won’t be our last.  To find out more about this fabulous event go to

Happy Trails, 

Topher Marlatt & Alexis Ollar

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Piecing the Puzzle Together.....

Today we visited Seneca Ridge Middle School in Sterling, Virginia. We were guest teachers for the Ranger Steve afterschool program, and did a Leave No Trace program for 6th and 7th graders focusing on the “Leave What You Find” principle. There were  22 students and two amazing teachers. The program started off discussing  what Leave No Trace meant to them, and ways they can lessen their impact on the environment. Afterwards we played a great game called “Stealing the WOW” which uses puzzles to illustrate sometimes not getting the whole story when pieces of the puzzle are missing, and then relating the puzzles to the environment. The students immediately saw the correlation, and  how we can have a lasting impact in the backcountry when things in the environment are disturbed or even taken, like artifacts, or carvings in trees, or picking flowers.  All the students really enjoyed the game, and understood the importance of leaving what you find. Afterwards we discussed alternatives to taking things in the environment, like taking picture, journaling, sketching, and even just having memories from beautiful things when we are in the outdoors. We had a great time with the students at Seneca Ridge, THANK YOU!

Now we are headed to West Virginia to the New River Rendezvous for an exciting weekend on educating the climbing community!

Happy Trails!

Alexis & Topher  

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ready to Run!!!

This weekend we traveled to beautiful Bellingham, Washington to be a part of the North Face Endurance Challenge. It was inspiring to see athletes from all over the country testing their mental and physical toughness out on the trail. It was equally inspiring that many of these athletes were interested in talking to us about Leave No Trace after spending hours running up and down the muddy trails in Bellingham. As fatigue settles in during a long trail run (some racers were on the trail for more than 12 hours) it can be easy to let some of the Leave No Trace principles slide. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a Leave No Trace plan before you hit the trail. Here are some of the Leave No Trace strategies that athletes shared with us pre and post race:

1. Have a zippered pocket that is for trash only.
2. Stay on the trails and don’t cut switchbacks.
3. Be prepared to dispose of human waste properly.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Reno River Festival

I just enjoyed the 5th annual Reno River Festival – America’s premier whitewater event that takes place in the heart of downtown Reno at the Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield May 9 – 11, 2008. It's known for attracting the world’s top whitewater athletes for an action-filled weekend. I wanted to thank the volunteers who helped at the event. Once again, thank you Karina, Tony, Allen, Justin, Jessica and Sean. The crowd enjoyed your enthusiasm and dedication. Hope to see you next year!



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

We'd like to solute all the mother's on this day, Mother's Day, and to Mother Earth who without, none of this could be possible!

...The last few days were spent in the Western NY region. After visiting Niagara Falls we had the opportunity to run several workshops at Niagara County Community College, where they are in the midst of adding an outdoor recreation major.  

We headed east to the Rochester area where we ran an evening workshop at Eastern Mountain Sports, then tabled the next day. Now after spending some quality time with family we are hanging out in Ithaca, NY.  If you've never been there, it's gorges! 

Next we head to Sterling, VA for a youth after school program before the New River Rendezvous... 

Happy Mothers Day, 
Topher & Alexis 

Friday, May 9, 2008

You Betcha!

As we prepare to make our way back to the west coast, we spent the last few days exploring as much of the northern Midwest as possible. Some of the highlights were seeing hundreds of whitetail deer, a few bald eagles, and one very famous big, blue ox. While we must admit that we’ve occasionally been envious of all those sunny photos that Team West has been posting, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Thanks to all our friends, both old and new, who helped make our visit most “Superior.”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

River Education Days!!!

This week over one thousand 4th and 5th graders traveled to Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge to take part in River Education Days. During the two-day event Wisconsin students from the La Crosse area were introduced to river resources, water safety and Leave No Trace. We were thrilled to have such a great classroom in which to talk with kids about outdoor ethics. We often use hands-on activities to help us teach people about Leave No Trace; one of our favorite teaching tools is an activity called Watch Your Step. This activity, which comes straight out of our PEAK Pack, encourages kids to think about the plants, animals, and insects can all be living in a very small area. Kids discover that what appears to be a patch of grass or a dead log is actually a mini-ecosystem. At the end of the activity we were talking with the kids about all of the living things they had discovered and a tiny garter snake slithered into our outdoor classroom and stopped briefly at our whiteboard. It was a pretty exciting moment and was the perfect ending to our “Watch Your Step” discussion.

From Gila to Tahoe

We've been logging some serious miles this week.  First, we did a great backpack trip to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico.  We followed the Middle Fork of the Gila River through a winding, lush, high walled canyon and ended our four day hike at the Gila Cliff Dwellings.  Then it was back to the road as we headed out of New Mexico and into Arizona for a visit to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Parks and a quick visit to good old Flagstaff.  We continued through AZ and into Nevada over the Hoover Dam, past Vegas, past radioactive Yucca Mountain, a ghost town full of ghosts, and through hours of scenic Mojave Desert before we hit the Sierra and Lake Tahoe for a birthday celebration and a snowy hike in the Desolation Wilderness.  Whew. What a long week!  Now we've come full circle all ready and we're back in Reno, NV for the Reno River Festival.  Here are photos of our mini road trip/vacation.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One of the Seven Wonders of the World

While we journeyed to New York, for our next programs we had a lil' time to explore just some of the amazing features that make the western side of the state so beautiful, Waterfalls! We camped one night at Letchworth State Park, and were amazed to find three different falls at the park, lower, middle, and upper. Our next adventure was to scope out Niagara Falls, Topher had seen them before, and had also been to Canada too, it was all a first for me. The falls were amazing, especially viewing them from the Canadian side. We rode our bikes over the Rainbow Bridge, which connects Niagara Falls, NY to Ontario. We rode up and down the walkway to view both the America Fall and Horseshoe fall from all the angles, and to soak up a lil' of the mist from the falls! I now know why Niagara Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world.
Please enjoy some pics from Niagara Falls & Letchworth Falls!
Happy Trails,
Alexis & Topher

Monday, May 5, 2008

Green and Groovy

This weekend we participated in the 2nd annual Great Green America Fest in Manheim, PA.  The festival took place at the Mount Hope Estates and Winery which is home to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival grounds.  The event hosted a variety of green-minded organizations from the region and beyond.  The first day of the festival was dedicated solely to students from local school districts, with 4,500 students attending the festival from grades k-12th. Friday and Saturday of the event was open to the general public, attendees were from all over the great state of PA and surrounding east coast states.  Even though the weather didn’t fully cooperate there was still a solid turnout.  Their seemed to be something for everyone from activities and crafts, to displays, demonstrations, and even music.  We were extremely impressed with how well run the event was considering it was only the second year of the festival.  We enjoyed our time here and hope to come back for years to come.  Special thanks to our wonderful hosts for putting us up and helping us out at the Great Green America Fest!

Happy Trails,

            Topher & Alexis