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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Picture of the Week 4/30/10

Enjoying the beautiful colors of Saguaro National Park.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

PEAK training in Las Vegas

From conference rooms to warehouses... the setting at REI may change, but the audiences all come to learn about Leave No Trace and the Center's PEAK program. This week we stopped at two REI's in the Las Vegas area to teach representatives from the area's many youth-serving organizations and land management agencies and REI employees all that the PEAK and Teen packs have to offer.

In the first photo, Jason is going over learning styles and teaching techniques at the Boca Park store, and in the second picture, the audience is trying out the rule of thumb to judge a safe distance from which to observe wildlife in the Henderson store.

A special thanks to Eric Larsen, the Las Vegas Outreach Specialist, for all his hard work in putting these two events together.

All the best....

Agata and Jason

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Las Vegas MegaScout Expo

On Saturday, April 24th, we attended the Mega Scout Expo in Las Vegas to celebrate the 100th anniversary of scouting. This 3-day event in Sunset Park included 3,000 campers throughout the park, campfire programs, fishing in Sunset Park Lake, hundreds of booths, and a merit badge midway.

About 200 scouts, parents, and leaders visited our booth and enjoyed Leave No Trace trivia, learning more about the Bigfoot Challenge, and receiving prizes for picking up trash stashed around the park.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth Day 2010

The Central Florida Earth Day celebration that took place in Orlando, FL this past weekend was filled with earth-friendly environmental education and entertainment. An estimated 20,ooo people attended the event in Lake Eola Park. We enlisted people to take the Bigfoot challenge at our booth. April's first challenge from Bigfoot is to tell us what Earth Day means to you. The day was full of interesting conversations around the importance of Earth Day over the last 40 years. Earth Day is a critical day of awareness, as we were humbly reminded to think globally and act locally. "Earthday is Everyday!" was a commonly heard phrase throughout the day. We concur.
Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pictures of the week 4/23/10

Exploring Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

National Park Free Days

How many alligators do you count?

From now through April 25th, entrance fees for all 392 National Parks in the United States will be waived. This week presents a perfect opportunity to venture into any of those National Park units that you have been meaning to explore, but haven't quite made the time to. With Earth Day right around the corner and no entrance fees to National Parks, get outside and strengthen your connection with nature! Team East has been doing just that as we have been paddling and hiking in both Biscayne National Park, as well as, the Everglades in Florida. Here are a couple of photos from our adventures:

Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Texas Volunteers Meeting

On Saturday April 17th we met with various Leave No Trace volunteers, educators, and the State Advocate Mr. Griff C. Danheim in Austin, Texas. The meeting served as a forum to discuss Leave No Trace programs and trainings statewide and streamline communication between volunteers and the Center for Outdoor Ethics. Dan Hayes, Outdoor Education Specialist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, educated our group about programs like the Texas Outdoor Family program that teaches frontcountry camping skills and the principles of Leave No Trace to families.

The opportunity to hear from youth serving organization leaders and individuals interested in education around responsible outdoor recreation in Texas was very interesting and we send a warm "thank you" to all in attendance last weekend.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, April 19, 2010

"The first rule of intelligent tinkering... to keep all the pieces." This bit of wisdom was shared on a recent Trainer Course during a lesson around the principle of Leave What You Find by our friend and newest trainer Mr. Randy Hale, educational specialist from the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Randy demonstrated the power of peer teaching on Trainer Courses through the use of the pictured "Hooey stick" and above mentioned Aldo Leopold quotation to name a few of his time tested teaching skills.

The course was comprised of land management professionals from a variety of recreational, historic, and memorial public lands from across the plains of Oklahoma. Each participant was responsible to teach a Principle of Leave No Trace as well as learn more about the various educational programs like our PEAK and TEEN packs for working with audiences of all ages. There was some casual debate whether or not the group had more fun in the field teaching and learning together or sharing personal stories from years gone by. Gratefully we did not have to decide and everybody parted ways excited about teaching Leave No Trace in the public lands of Oklahoma.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Trainer Course

This past weekend marked our 4th trainer course in three seasons with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The relationship between TPWD and The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics continues to strengthen each year. We appreciate all the hard work that Chris Holmes, Outdoor Education Director for Texas State Parks, has put in over the years to make this partnership thrive.

We also experienced a very rare occurrence this weekend. Team East and Team West met up at Buescher State Park. Typically, teams are dutifully criss-crossing their respective sides of the country and it is "as scarce as hen's teeth" that teams get together during the season. We got to swap stories over coffee before each team was back at it, heading in opposing directions until we meet up again in July to switch sides of the country.

Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Friday, April 16, 2010

Picture of the Week 4/16/10

Our campsite in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Get Muddy!!!!!

This month (and every month in 2010) we are challenging you all to take the Bigfoot Challenge. The Center for Outdoor Ethics is excited to bring these ethics challenges to you each month in hopes that the awareness around the seven principles of Leave No Trace will continue to develop world wide.

In the photo above, a hiker is accepting the challenge to walk directly through a mud puddle rather than around to prevent the development of "social trails" that impact the surrounding vegetation. Following this principle of Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces allows for the trails we all enjoy recreating on to maintain their intended course and recreational experience.

If you have not already please click on the Bigfoot Challenge and learn more about how you can walk the trail of Leave No Trace today!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrating Earth Day's 40th Birthday!

Earth Day will officially be over the hill this year! Celebrations across the country will take place in honor of caring for and respecting the earth. This year, Team East will be participating in the 5th annual Central Florida Earth Day, which takes place at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando from 10 a.m to 6 p.m on Saturday April 24th. If you are in the area, please come by our booth.

What are your plans for Earth Day? If you are taking part in an Earth Day celebration this year, we want to hear about it! Also, did you know that one of the challenges this month for the Bigfoot Challenge is to take part in an Earth Day event and write us a story about what Earth Day means to you. Sweeten your Earth Day experience by having a chance to win some outdoor gear by taking part in the Bigfoot Challenge and an Earth Day event this month!

Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Girl Scout Jamboree in Mayer, Arizona

Last Saturday April 10th we were on the Chauncey Ranch just outside of Prescott National Forest for the 2010 Girl Scout Jamboree. The event was a gathering of over one thousand Girl Scout troops and leaders for outdoor education and fun representing the entire state of Arizona.
Pictured above, Agata is at the outreach booth visiting with Girl Scouts who were learning more about the educational programs we teach as Traveling Trainers for Leave No Trace. We were also very pleased to sit in as guests with the Girl Scouts who prepared and led a few activities around the Principles of Leave No Trace to troops from other areas in Arizona. The girls did an excellent job with the presentations and then we shared some additional activities and information during the hour long session.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, April 12, 2010

Heard Science Museum Trainer Course

This weekend we were lucky to spend two days at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, TX to run a Leave No Trace Trainer Course for staff from the museum. It was absolutely beautiful at the Heard, we couldn't have asked for better weather or location. Six staff members from the museum were eager to learn about the program and ways to incorporate the information into the programs they offer at the museum, future trips they will lead, and at home school programs they facilitate. With so many areas of the sanctuary to explore, we had many teachable moments to utilize on the course. During the course, we even got to paddle, night hike, bird watch, and visit the butterfly area, which houses a lemur family and walleroos! We had such a great time at the Heard Museum and look forward to working with Schelly and the crew in the future!
Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pictures of the week 4/9/10

Waterfalls of Western North Carolina!

Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Traveling trainers visit Escudilla, the "blue mountain" of A. Leopold lore

Recently we were in Alpine, Arizona working with the staff of the US Forest Service in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. During our visit we had the opportunity to spend the day at the Alpine School with students from grades 3rd through 8th. We asked the students about the legend of the infamous bruin who once roamed the flanks of nearby Escudilla mountain. Aldo Leopold wrote about this bear, called the great "Old Bigfoot," who "was a robber-baron and Escudilla was his castle" in his book A Sand County Almanac. The students were not sure of the old legend, but were very interested in the Bigfoot Challenge that they could connect with on the Center for Outdoor Ethics website. In the photo above, the students from our afternoon presentation proudly display their Earth Day posters for all to enjoy at the end of our time together that afternoon.

We also had the chance to work with the National Forest Service staff the following evening and share the educational programs around the Principles of Leave No Trace for programs geared towards the upcoming summer visitors to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. In the second photo, Agata demonstrates an activity from 101 Ways to Teach Leave No Trace.

All the best...

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Montreat College Outreach

Yesterday, we wrapped up our time in North Carolina with a visit to Montreat College. This small school nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Asheville, NC provided a beautiful setting to teach Leave No Trace. Past Traveling Trainers, JD and Emily, visited Montreat College last year and introduced the students to the program. We were asked to educate the students about more of the minimum impact techniques involved with Leave No Trace. In the above photo, Tracy demonstrates a mound fire.

In addition to minimum impact campfire techniques, we also taught the group about proper disposal of human waste in the backcountry. After learning about methods to pack out human waste, we went over the use of a cat hole. This led to an intense round of Cat hole Olympics! The above photo shows Dr. Andrew Bobilya, Co-Chair of the Outdoor Education Department, completing a 6-8" hole for his team. We had a great time working with Montreat students and are looking forward to visiting campus again in the future.
Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fredonia, Arizona Trainer Course

Last Thursday and Friday we were in Fredonia, Arizona on a Trainer Course with staff from the North Kaibab Ranger District. The participants on the course represented a wide range of professionals from archeologists to administration, and various members of the field staff from the National Forest Service in this area.

Throughout the 2 day course we were impressed with the level of engagement and motivation to learn more about Leave No Trace and the various educational programs available for outreach from the National Forest Service staff to the user groups they see each year in their district. In the photo above Agata is leading a lively discussion about the history of the Center for Outdoor Ethics and the photo below shows a moment of pure thespian genius as participants act out various alternatives to consider while Minimizing Campfire Impacts.

The group was incredibly responsive to the information we shared and each participant had a clear path to follow as they described how they would bring Leave No Trace to their respective positions in the North Kaibab Ranger District.

Thanks to our host Missy Spandl for her endless enthusiasm and commitment to making this training such an enjoyable experience for all in attendance.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, April 5, 2010

Franklin Trail Days

Franklin, NC has just been designated as an official Appalachian Trail Community by the Appalachian Trail Conservatory. We were able to celebrate this designation all week as we attended the 2nd annual Franklin Trail Days. The townspeople gathered to welcome the thru-hikers as they begin their journey north to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The Trail Days event was full of fun, music, a hot dog eating contest, stories, and education.
In addition to the festival, we provided two awareness workshops at the public library and visited 5 fifth grade classrooms throughout the town. We had a wonderful time while in Franklin. It is a beautiful mountain town that is a must see if you are in western North Carolina. A special thanks to Bill Van Horn for all his efforts in setting up the events, as well as Ron Haven for putting on a great Hiker Bash!
Happy adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Friday, April 2, 2010

Picture of the week 4/2/10

The view from Leavenworth, Washington looking out into the Cascade Mountains.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Traveling Trainer life

Life on the road as a Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer is never dull or boring! We have traveled over 12,000 miles and visited 24 states as of this entry and are enjoying every day as they each seem to present new and interesting opportunities wherever we go. Recently we spent a few minutes attempting to size an appropriate Chaco sandal for our old friend Bigfoot. It appears the sandal was a little small but we had fun anyways hanging out with the furry fella, and the experience was certainly worth a few laughs!

Traveling as much as we do allows for the most beautiful commutes to work and the chance to meet amazing people who all are motivated to Leave No Trace when enjoying responsible outdoor recreation.

Keep an eye out for our Subaru Traveling Trainer vehicle passing through your community, and if you are interested in learning about Leave No Trace check the website. The opportunity to connect with one of the educational programs or become a member in 2010 are just a few clicks of the mouse pad away!

All the best,

Agata and Jason