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, March 30, 2011

Farming in Nevada City to PEAK in Reno

Nevada City, CA & Reno, NV. Today was an interesting day for Team West. We spent the morning helping out a fellow nonprofit organization called Living Lands Agrarian Network. Living Lands Agrarian Network is a non-profit organization that offers training and mentorship to the next generation of farmers. Their unique model of cooperative farming integrates ecological education, community involvement, resource sharing, and celebration around the food we grow right here in our neighborhoods. They practice and promote localized ecological farming for the profound benefit it has on ourselves, our neighbors and the planet. Our task was to build a fence around a newly developed farm site, maintained by Farmer Amanda Thibodeau. The site will be used as an outdoor educational classroom, inviting students to learn about the farm to table model.

Pictured above is the farm crew, that unites each Wednesday to complete projects at each of the farms in the Living Lands network. Similar to the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Living Lands abides by the philosophy of education influencing behavior. We were honored to volunteer our time at the "Food Love Project".

After a quick jaunt to the "Biggest Little City in the World", it was time to talk PEAK. After spending the morning at the farm, where they strive to connect people and children to the natural world, we spent the evening teaching community members how beneficial it is to connect kids with nature. To learn more about Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids, click here. See you out there!
Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bigfoot sighting in the "Peach State"

Molena, GA - Last weekend Team East was in the stormy state of Georgia for a Trainer Course with the Flint River council of the Boy Scouts America. The course was an opportunity for the participants to learn more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace and how to teach minimum impact recreation to others. A surprise visit by Bigfoot allowed for a photo opportunity and a few laughs as the group gathered for the photo above.

Over the two days participants went hands on during demonstrations for various minimum impact recreation techniques training sessions. In the photo above, the group learns more about the principle Minimize Campfire Impacts and the technique used to build a mound fire.

Keep an eye out for team East as we head down into Florida for a few weeks of Leave No Trace trainings and workshops.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, March 28, 2011

Partnership Highlight: Hi-Cone Products

San Francisco, CA. Last August, Hi-Cone Products, the producer of photodegradable beverage rings, partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, in an effort to educate people about the importance of disposing of waste properly, especially when it comes to bottles, cans, and the plastic holders they come in. Their product uses minimum packaging which equals maximum economical and ecological efficiencies. The rings they produce will photodegrade into non-toxic particles within 30-60 days, if not properly recycled.
Hi-Cone uses a number 4 plastic, which can be recycled anywhere number 4 plastics are taken. To go one step further, if number 4 plastic is not accepted in your area, you can mail back your plastic rings and they will recycle them for you. To find out more about this Ringleader Recycling Program, click here.
We teamed up with Hi-Cone this past week at the Craft Brewers Conference, held in San Francisco, CA. This was a unique opportunity to reach out to a diverse audience of craft brewers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, to share our insights on ways to be more sustainable. We want to thank Jeff Neitzel and Julie Hoganson for their efforts to educate people about responsible packaging options and for inviting us to take part in the conference!
Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Friday, March 25, 2011

Picture of the Week 3/25/2011

So technically, we are sharing two pictures this week, but there's a reason for that.

On Monday, we hiked up to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

And almost two years ago, we hiked to the top of Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, on our honeymoon.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Madness in Georgia!

Kennesaw, GA - While many colleges and universities across the country are focused on the NCAA Men's and Women's Championship games (a.k.a. March Madness), the students at Clayton State University and Kennesaw State University devoted a few hours of their day this week to learn more about Leave No Trace.

We visited Clayton State, a 2010 Connect Grant recipient, on Tuesday of this week and met with students, staff, and faculty. The university's Outdoor Adventure program is a new and growing one that offers a wide variety of trips from service projects in the Okefenokee Swamp to ski trips in West Virginia. Thanks to Nick Kilburg, the Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventure and a Leave No Trace Master Educator, for inviting us!

Today, we presented to students, staff, and faculty at Kennesaw State. The university has great outdoor recreation opportunities on campus, including Nature Bound, an outdoor adventure program organized by the Department of Sports and Recreation and the Center for Student Leadership, and an on-campus Bike Shop that offers free bike services and free mountain bike rentals! Thanks to Wes Riddle and Sandefur Porter for putting this workshop together!

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Leave No Trace on the Appalachian Trail

Chattahoochee National Forest, GA - Yesterday Team East enjoyed some time off and connected with hikers along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) near Springer Mountain in Georgia. Standing at 3,820 feet above sea level Springer Mountain is the southern terminus of the footpath that extends 2,181 miles north and ends at Mount Katahdin in Maine. The A.T. traverses some of the most rugged terrain in eastern United States and visits 8 national forests, 6 national parks, and many smaller state parks and forests.

Throughout our 10 mile hike along the A.T. and Benton MacKaye trails we encountered dozens of hikers and campers who were taking advantage of the favorable early season weather.
Pictured above is team East and hopeful through-hiker Mr. Bob "Buckeye Flash" Grau. Bob will be checking in with Team East as a guest blogger and sharing his experiences on the trail and how the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace are helpful in minimizing impacts during his estimated 5 million step adventure.

Best of luck to Bob and all the folks taking a walk in the mountains during this 2011 A.T. season!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, March 21, 2011

Connect Grant Recipient: School of the Arts

Tracy explains the rules of Minimum Impact Match

San Francisco, CA. Leave No Trace offers three different Grants that award opportunities for organizations or individuals to receive FREE educational materials. Leave No Trace also offers a fourth grant, in the form of a scholarship, that provides partial course tuition towards a 5 day Master Educator course. For more information on the grants and scholarship programs, CLICK HERE.
The Center's hope is that these grants will encourage people to bring Leave No Trace into their communities. Please consider applying today!

One of the grants, called Connect Grant, is designed to provide direct support and training for organizations and people that serve culturally diverse communities. The Center for Outdoor Ethics recently awarded a Connect Grant to the San Francisco School of the Arts. This high school is expanding its environmental sustainability program, which includes a 4 day trip to Yosemite National Park in the spring. We were able to chat with students that are attending the trip and provide insight on the importance of practicing Leave No Trace on their outing. For most of these students, this will be their first time camping and their only experience in a wilderness area. Their teacher, Andy Padlo, has been educating his students about Leave No Trace by utilizing the education materials he received through the Connect Grant. As Traveling Trainers, it is rewarding for us to work with the community leaders that are passionate about connecting people, youth especially, with the natural world. We commend Mr. Padlo and the enthusiasm with which he shares his passion about the outdoors with his students. Have so much fun on your trip!
Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Picture of the Week 3/18/11

Bigfoot disappears into the San Francisco fog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Signs of Spring at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Marietta, GA - Team East headed over to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park today to brush up on some history and enjoy the sunshine. Back in 1864, a battle was fought here from June 19 to July 2 and over 5,350 soldiers were killed. Historic earthworks, cannon emplacements, and monuments are preserved here. These days, this park is filled with joggers, dog-walkers, families as well as history buffs. We took a 5.5 mile hike and enjoyed learning about the Atlanta Campaign as well as soaking in the early signs of springs on a beautiful Georgian day.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bay Area Wilderness Training at the Presidio, CA

San Francisco, CA

On Monday and Tuesday, Team West provided two four hour trainings for Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT). BAWT, a program of the Earth Island Institute, began with the idea that California's bountiful wilderness areas are a vast, yet untapped, resource for local youth-serving organizations. BAWT promotes the wise use of these national, state, and regional parks through professional wilderness leadership training. As the program continues to develop, the staff have embraced Leave No Trace within their programs, especially the Camping at the Presidio Program.
We had a variety of participants join us for the training including BAWT staff and interns, CAP interns, staff from the Presidio Trust and Conservancy, as well as locals who wanted to learn about teaching Leave No Trace to youth. This dynamic group allowed for thoughtful discussion on ethics during the Ethics Game, and had a passion towards educating the youth in their area. Over the four hour training, we dove into the PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids) Program and shared a few of our favorite activities we use during youth programs we run and how to effectively communicate the Leave No Trace skills and ethics. We enjoyed the two days and nights we spent in the Presidio and look forward to working with BAWT in the future. Thanks to Grace Malango-Blake for organizing the events!

Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Team East Visits the Mountains of Georgia

Dawsonville, Georgia - Today, Team East visited with 3rd graders at Robinson Elementary School, which is nestled into north Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. On a rainy Tuesday, we were in the company of over 100 students across the day who had never heard of Leave No Trace but were able to learn the PEAK principles in just a few classroom sessions.

Across the late morning and afternoon, Team East had the opportunity to introduce activities such as "What Principle Am I?" and "How Long Does It Last" from the PEAK pack as well as "OK! or No Way!" the free down-loadable activity from our website for large groups of kids! The students were excited to discover that taking responsibility for their actions and impacts in nature could be so much fun!

Keep an eye out for the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers in Georgia as we zig-zag our way through the state over the next few weeks.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Friday, March 11, 2011

Picture of the Week 3/11/11

Outside the Helena, Arkansas location of Leave No Trace partner Quapaw Canoe Company.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Houston Backyard Session

Houston, TX - A little over a week ago, Team East joined Texas State Advocate, Griff Danheim, to organize the second Backyard Session of the year. Eleven community members, representing a wide variety of local organizations, came out for the event at the Houston-Galleria REI and participated in a PEAK training and a brainstorming session resulting in exciting ideas and momentum-building for Leave No Trace events in the Houston area.

The local organizations that were represented included the Woods Project, the Boy Scouts of America, Citizens Environmental Coalition, Gulf Coast Recycling Council, Keep Houston Beautiful, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, and Bayou Preservation Association.

Backyard Sessions are new in 2011. They are a chance for community members to mingle and share their ideas with area educators, volunteers, community partners, and members to discuss all things Leave No Trace for their community.

Look out for Backyard Sessions coming to your area as well as a chance to see Leave No Trace Bigfoot at the event!

If you would like to host a Backyard Session in your own community contact Betsy Workman, Leave No Trace Outreach Coordinator!

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Building Better Communities Starts With Youth

Two students prepare their Wooley Pockets

East Palo Alto, CA. As Traveling Trainers, we try to participate in community events as often as possible. We have enjoyed countless river clean ups, participated in National Public Lands Day, and have worked to improve our trails because, after all, it is all about leaving a place better than you found it!

Leave No Trace is about making good decisions in the out of doors in order to keep our public lands sustainable. We saw, first hand, how important it is to connect children with nature, no matter where you live.

Yesterday, Team West was able to participate in helping a 5th grade class at East Palo Alto Academy plant their own little community garden. With little space on the school grounds to plant a garden in the ground, this class held a bake sale at the begining of the school year to raise the funds to purchase Wooley Pockets (garden pockets that hang on a fence) and other various supplies that would be needed for this start up project.

Each of the students selected which fruit or vegetable they would like to plant in their Wooley Pocket. Determining the distance between each seedling, depending on the type of plant selected, posed as a challenging math lesson for the students! It was exciting to hear about how enthusiastic they were to watch the growth of their hard work each day at recess. Although the plants will not be ready to eat until June, the memories created during this experience will last a lifetime.

Thank you to Ms. Bullock for creating this opportunity for her students and for us as well.

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Nature Name "Carbon" and two of her friends cradle their starter plants.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quapaw Canoe Company Trainer Course

Helena, AR - Last weekend March 5th and 6th, Team East instructed a two day Trainer Course with Leave No Trace partner Quapaw Canoe Company on the banks of the "Big Muddy." The weather forecast over the weekend was stormy, but the 13 course participants from Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas stayed positive and enjoyed the Helena outpost's warm and dry space as our classroom for the first day.

The weather cooperated and the decision to get on the river on Sunday sent a palpable thrill through the group! Driving the Quapaw Chevies down the levy to the put-in was a chilly shuttle Sunday morning, but the group loaded the canoes and were on the water for an early morning adventure.

We were also lucky to have two Mighty Quapaw apprentices as participants on the course as well as our captains for the river trip. The Center awarded the apprenticeship program a Connect Grant so these two young men could take the Trainer Course and then share the Leave No Trace information they learned with the people they will guide on the Lower Mississippi River.

For many (including ourselves) on the course this was the first paddling experience on the Mighty Mississippi River. This was definitely an experience to remember as the video hopefully illustrates! A warm thank you to John "Driftwood" Ruskey, founder, director, and river guide of the Quapaw Canoe Company.

May the river be with you,

Agata and Jason

Bigfoot Learns to Bugle (like an elk)!

Hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts stormed the Sparks Convention Center in Reno, NV for the 27th Annual Elk Camp & Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoor Expo, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. For four days, the exhibit hall was brimming with people young and old, and the sound of elk bugling filled the air. Even Bigfoot came out to display his skills of calling his elk friends, as he does in the wild!
We joined staff from Ninemile Wildlands Training Center and the US Forest Service to set up a Leave No Trace Hunting/Packing Camp at the show. This was a great opportunity to educate folks about minimum impact hunting and camping practices. We would like to thank Bob Hoverson and his crew for inviting us to take part in this event, and for all of their efforts to share Leave No Trace with the hunting community. You guys rock!
Explore & Hunt Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Friday, March 4, 2011

Photo of the Week 3/4/11

Leave No Trace Crime Scene at the 27th Annual Elk Camp, Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoor Expo in Reno, NV. This event is sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

KIPP Delta College Preparatory School

Helena, AR - Team East visited the 5th-8th grades at the KIPP Delta College Preparatory School. The students in attendance were learning more about responsible outdoor recreation and their role as stewards of nature in preparation for their end of the year trip to a number of national parks out west.

Above the students are practicing the "Rule of Thumb," a useful skill to gauge safe distances for viewing wildlife and considering the principle Respect Wildlife.

The KIPP Delta College Preparatory School is a place where "the chief aim is that all of our students will be able to attend the college or university of their choice and be able to find success there and beyond".

The opportunity to work with such motivated students was a pleasure and we look forward to the next opportunity to work with the KIPP Delta College Preparatory School.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Discovering the Leave No Trace Principles Through Art

A busy Team West wrapped up February with an awareness workshop in Cudahy, CA at the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center working with an excited group of 70 sixth grade students. Following a comprehensive introduction to the Leave No Trace PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids) Program, the students were instructed to select one of the 7 principles that resonated with them. Once each student selected a principle, we asked them to get those creative juices flowing and illustrate the principle that they selected. In the picture above, one inspired student chose to represent "Leave What You Find" by demonstrating one way to remember the natural world without taking it home to be displayed in your living room. Can you think of other ways to remember items, thereby Leaving What You Find?

Remember natural items derive their power from the environment from which they came!

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Adventure Play at the Parish School

Yesterday, Team East had the opportunity to visit the The Parish School in Houston, TX. The Parish School specializes in teaching children with language and learning differences. We worked with the after-school program, Adventure Play, where students create their own playground and build it themselves with the tools and supplies that are available. The program also has a natural outdoor space available for the students to explore and learn in and the program director, Jill Wood, wanted a chance to expose the students to the Leave No Trace program so they could take care of this space.

We introduced the fifteen students to Leave No Trace by facilitating What Principle Am I? from the PEAK pack and Surface Hopscotch from 101 Way to Teach Leave No Trace. We showed the students gear, such as binoculars and boots, that would help them Leave No Trace and explored which surfaces are durable and which are less so in their outdoor space. The group was very excited to show off their playground and to learn about our program!

All the best,

Agata and Jason