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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Priest Lake State Park

We spent Memorial Day weekend at Priest Lake State Park in northern Idaho. On Saturday we set up our booth at Coolin Days, an annual festival in Coolin that features a parade and an arts and crafts fair. We spoke with quite a few locals and visitors about what Leave No Trace is all about. On Saturday and Sunday evenings, we had campfire programs for the campers at Indian Creek Campground. Several families attended and enjoyed learning more about Leave No Trace and participating in a few family friendly activities. We finished off our weekend at Priest Lake with a presentation on Monday morning for the park staff and volunteers, so they could incorporate Leave No Trace into summer programming.

Despite three days of near constant rain, we had a marvelous three days at Priest Lake! Thanks to Erin and Lonnie for inviting us!

All the best...

Agata and Jason

Friday, May 28, 2010

Picture of the Week 5/28/2010

McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Seattle & Portland Elementary Schools

On Tuesday, we visited two second grade classes at TOPS elementary school in the historic Seward school in Seattle. The energetic eight year olds kept us on our toes as we discussed the seven principles of Leave No Trace and went out side to find all the living things we could find within a circle of rope as part of the PEAK pack's Watch Your Step activity.

By Thursday we were in Portland to visit Lewelling Elementary as part of their Wild Things Day. We saw four classes of fourth and fifth graders who had a blast creating their own nature names for the day, learning the rule of thumb, and playing Minimum Impact Match.

We are off to Idaho!

All the best...

Agata and Jason

The Unofficial Start of Summer!

As we travel up north to the Adirondack Mountains to kick-off a new partnership with the Adirondack Mountain Club, we are also excited to be kicking off the unofficial start of summer! We have a busy weekend planned up at ADK, with staff training, trailhead outreach, campfire talks, and evening ranger programs. We are also going to be joined by Kate's family, who will be camping for the first time this season. We will be staying in an adirondack lean-to at the wilderness campground at Heart Lake.

For some of you, this will also be the first camping trip of the season. Make sure to check all of your gear before reaching your destination. Check the weather to ensure you have to appropriate clothing and gear. Also, be sure to make a reservation. This is a very busy weekend for many parks, so call ahead first! We want to remind you to practice Leave No Trace, wherever the road may take you this Memorial Day weekend, and never forget those who have died in honor of this country!

Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Trainer Course with Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI)

This weekend we traveled to Ashford, Washington just outside of Mt. Rainier National Park to instruct a Trainer Course for RMI's six newest guides. RMI has been guiding mountaineering expeditions around the world for over 40 years and is a proud partner of Leave No Trace.

The weather over the weekend was pretty typical of Washington with nonstop rain, but the guides were excited to learn ways to share Leave No Trace information with their clients over the busy summer.

In the first picture, David is taking a closer look at the Restop 2, designed to safely contain and neutralize human waste when facilities are not available and digging a cathole is not an option. In the second picture, Eryka presents her teaching topic on minimizing campfire impacts, and in the final picture Agata facilitates a round of campfire scramble.

Thanks to David, Mike, Eryka, Zeb, Mike, and Thomas for a great course and have a fun and safe summer on Rainier!

All the best...

Agata and Jason

Monday, May 24, 2010

Delaware Water Gap Trainer Course

This weekend we led a trainer course at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in PA for park staff and volunteers, as well as staff from PEEC- Pocono Environmental Education Center. We spent the weekend along the McDade Trail, as we explored the principles of Leave No Trace. All of the participants we excited to learn ways to positively communicate the Leave No Trace information to park visitors and students at PEEC.
In the above picture, the class learns about proper disposal of human waste in the backcountry and along river corridors. We also had a great discussion about the importance of leaving what we find and how to encourage children to enjoy the natural world, but also to leave the gift of discovery for the next visitor.
We would like to thank all of the participants for their thoughtful participation throughout the two days and wish them the best this summer!
Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Friday, May 21, 2010

Picture of the week 5/21/10

One of the 21 waterfalls we enjoyed at Ricketts Glen State Park in PA

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crook County 6th Grade Outdoor School

This month all the 6th graders at Crook County Middle School are getting to spend one week at Outdoor School on Suttle Lake outside of Sisters, OR. This is a Crook County tradition dating back over 40 years and a chance for the students to get their hands dirty as they learn about forestry, take water samples, and practice their GPS skills.

We were invited to give an hour long presentation on Leave No Trace. The students were surprised to learn that it takes aluminum cans and plastic six-pack holders so many years to decompose, but were quick to point out the impacts a carelessly thrown orange peel could have on wildlife. The 6th graders also had some fun playing Minimum Impact Match, guessing what object was taped to their back, and how that object helped leave no trace. As we wrapped up, the students took out their camp song books and sang the night away.

All the best...

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania

Today we visited with two Leave No Trace trainers, Sarah Erickson and Meredith Sortwell, from Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania. The pair recently took their trainer course with us and has already put their training into action. We were invited to their region to provide an awareness workshop for the Outdoor Program Managers and volunteers from the area.

Upon arrival at Camp Hawthorne Ridge, we were introduced to a new tasty treat in campfire cooking…Mountain Pies! Those may have been our first, but they surely won’t be our last. We would like to thank all involved in making our stay so hospitable. We look forward to working with this group in the future and we wish you all a successful summer in your camp programs, especially as you teach Leave No Trace!

Happy Adventuring…Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Leave No Trace visits Crook County, Oregon

Earlier this week we arrived in beautiful central Oregon to visit the Crook County Middle and High Schools for a few days of awareness workshops. The students and staff in Prineville, Oregon were very responsive to the PEAK and TEEN activities we shared and were incredibly motivated to learn more about responsible outdoor recreation and stewardship of the public lands they enjoy recreating on in their area.

In the photo above the students at the middle school are excitedly sharing their perspective on the principle Leave What You Find. Below the students at the high school are demonstrating their frontcountry knowledge in the Principle Presentation activity using creativity and humor to discuss disposing of pet waste responsibly.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Damascus Trail Days

This weekend marked the 24th annual Damascus Trail Days in Damascus, VA. Trail Days is a celebration of past, present, and future hikers that walked the Appalachian Trail, a 2175 mile trail from Georgia to Maine. The festivities began early last week, leading up to the main events during the weekend. There were workshops, vendors, live music, local artists, and plenty of excitement to go around. Hikers were able to take advantage of free gear repairs in the campground, check out the latest gear available from manufacturers, and learn about Leave No Trace techniques at our booth in Town Park. We were asked many important questions about proper human waste disposal in the backcountry, precautions to take in bear country, and how to travel in pristine areas. Education is vital to protecting all of the beautiful places we enjoy recreating, like the Appalachian Trail, which is bustling with hikers every summer.

We enjoyed sharing our stories from the road with representatives from many of the Center’s partners, including Enertia Trail Foods, Grand Trunk, Hennessey Hammocks, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. This was a wonderful experience and opportunity to reach hundreds of hikers that are proud to call the AT their home during the spring/summer season. Happy and Safe Hiking to all the thru-hikers, section-hikers, and day hikers of the Appalachian Trail!

Happy Adventuring…Kate and Tracy

Friday, May 14, 2010

Picture of the week 5/14/10

The indefatigable Beaver Tail cactus. Cinder Cone lava beds, Mojave National Preserve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

West Valley College

Our visit to West Valley College's Park Management class this week was educational and entertaining for all in attendance. The students in this class were very high energy and we enjoyed the dialogue generated around the principles and practices of Leave No Trace with the group.

Pictured above is a heated competition between two participants in the PEAK activity "Step On It." The discussion of what a "durable" surface is and why we suggest traveling and camping on those surfaces was entertaining and informative as the group shared personal and professional experiences during the activity.

In the second photo, the group is working together to create a duplicate map of the USA and discussing their most memorable experiences in outdoor settings around the country.

A very warm "thank you" goes out to Heidi McFarland for her invitation to present on the campus of West Valley College!

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Outdoor Girls' Day at Allegheny State Park, NY

We were invited to be guest speakers at the 3rd annual Outdoor Girls' Day in western New York. The event is a day dedicated to celebrating professional outdoor women. Middle school students came out to learn about career opportunities available in the field of environmental education. We were thankful to be a part of this event because we feel it is important to reach kids when they are young in order to expose them to a variety of professions that exist and increase their awareness about the world around them. As one woman told the girls "You are very lucky to be kids today. When I was young, I was told I could be one of two things-a teacher or a nurse." She wasn't excited about either of those two careers. Today, kids have many more opportunities to find careers that are suited for their personalities. The hardest part is narrowing the fields down. In the words of Jane Goodall, "If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way."

Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Whole Earth Festival, Davis CA

Last weekend we were enjoying the sunny weather and eclectic vibe of the Whole Earth Festival in central California. The festival has been celebrating music, art, and education for over four decades and offers a little something for people of all ages and cultural interests. Pictured are two moments from the weekend, in the first photo a UC Davis medical student pensively ponders the various decomposition rates of various items of trash.

The second photo captures a family decision making process at it's zenith as the crew decides which of the May 2010 Bigfoot Challenges to take and consider at home and in every day life in the outdoors.

The community in Davis, CA was very conscientious and supportive of Leave No Trace and we genuinely enjoyed the festival atmosphere!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kids Water Festival in Brookeville, Maryland

Last week, we traveled to Brookeville, MD to take part in the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's 2nd annual Kids Water Festival. This outdoor festival provides hands-on learning about water issues, the environment, and the impact our day-to-day habits have on the availability and quality of water -- life’s most precious resource.

The event is held in conjunction with “National Drinking Water Week,” which is recognized annually in the first week of May. Over the two days, we educated nearly 700 fourth grade students, teachers, and parent chaperones from Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Schools. We would like to thank Angela Ballard-Landers for her efforts in organizing this massive event and inviting the Traveling Trainer program to be part of the experience.

Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pictures of the week 5/7/10

Enjoying the view at McAfee Knob along the Appalachian Trail in VA

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A week in the Grand Canyon

As our week in the Grand Canyon continued, we interacted with quite a few visitors during our day of outreach at the General Store, trained the Grand Canyon Camp and Vegetation Staff in how to teach Leave No Trace, and even found a little time to hike down into the canyon.

In the picture above the Vegetation Staff gets a little competitive during Minimize Campfire Impacts Scramble, and in the picture below the staff duels it out during Step On It.

Thank you to all the Grand Canyon Park Staff for their enthusiasm around the educational programs we shared with them. Special thanks to Kirstin Heins for the warm welcome she extended to the traveling trainers.

All the best....

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Allegheny Outfitters Trainer Course

On Monday and Tuesday, we journeyed on a 10-mile paddle down the Allegheny River to train 5 participants to become Leave No Trace Trainers. Allegheny Outfitters, a partner of Leave No Trace, is just getting into the swing of their busy summer season and were thrilled to learn ways to share Leave No Trace information with their customers. We would like to thank Piper Lindell, owner of Allegheny Outfitters, for hosting the course and for her enthusiasm towards conservation and preservation of the Allegheny National Forest.
In addition to staff from Allegheny Outfitters, we also educated staff from the Girl Scouts of Western PA and Evergreen Outfitters in NY. All of the participants brought great energy and excitement to the course, which led to thoughtful discussions on the impacts that are seen in the outdoors and how we can mitigate those impacts! We had an awesome time paddling and camping on Thompson Island, especially hearing stories about Bigfoot from Grampa Dave.
Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Celebrate Wildlife Day

This Saturday we attended the 3rd annual Celebrate Wildlife Day at Grand Canyon National Park. This event gives visitors an opportunity to learn about the unique wildlife that inhabits Arizona and the Grand Canyon area and the work of the wildlife biologists who study them.

Pictured are moments of learning throughout the day. The "Crime Scene" activity was a big hit with the younger visitors as they investigated the mock campsite for less than Leave No Trace camping practices. Visitors also enjoyed guessing how long common trash items take to decompose and were more often than not quite surprised at that a soda can takes up to 400 years to decompose.

Throughout the day there were many programs at the Shrine of the Ages including talks on animal adaptations, owls, reptiles and amphibians, telemetry and scat/track workshops, and even an opportunity to dissect owl pellets.

All the best...

Agata and Jason

Monday, May 3, 2010

Simon Kenton Council Centennial Camporall

This weekend we traveled to Chillicothe, OH to celebrate the Centennial Celebration of Scouting with the Simon Kenton Council.  Approximately 8,000 scouts and their leaders came to the Ross County Fairgrounds to take part in activities including shooting sports, climbing walls, geocaching, and a variety of conservation activities including the Leave No Trace scavenger hunt.
We were lucky to have many Leave No Trace Master Educators and Trainers available to assist us during the festivities.  Through their support, we were able to have multiple Leave No Trace activities going on at one time, such as Leave No Trace Crime Scene, Durable Surface Hopscotch, How Long Does It Last?, and Finders-Keepers.  A special thanks to Marilyn Clark, Al "Yeti" Martin, Matt Taylor, Tom and Jackie Bain, Carole Sloan, and Paul Bragg for making the weekend a huge success!
Happy Adventuring...Kate and Tracy