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, June 30, 2011

Great American Backyard Campout

Medfield, Massachusetts -

Last weekend we had the opportunity to connect with families who were enjoying new outdoor activities together at the Great American Backyard Campout. The event was held at the Rocky Woods reservation and organized by The Trustees of Reservations and our organizational partner REI. Balmy summer temperatures and intermittent rain showers did not discourage the families from learning more about responsible outdoor recreation and the basics of activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping.

During our Awareness Workshop with the group, we enjoyed educational activities from the PEAK program such as "What Principle Am I?," "Minimum Impact Match," and "Watch Your Step" with the families. In the top photo a family is exploring what "durable surfaces" are and how to identify them when selecting a site to pitch a tent or go hiking. Each activity was focused on applying the seven Leave No Trace principles to all the outdoor recreation skills the families would be learning in sessions with the REI Outdoor School over the weekend.

Many thanks to all who worked and attended this event for allowing us to bring Leave No Trace to the weekend activities!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red, White, Blue, and GREEN!

This weekend, Team West will be heading to High Sierra Music Festival to provide education and outreach to thousands of festival goers. With all of these people coming out to enjoy music and to camp out under the Sierra Stars, it is so important to practice Leave No Trace. We will be running the Red, White, Blue, and Green Campsite Challenge, where festivarians will be encourage to keep their sites clean, sustainable, and creative!
How many of you are camping this 4th of July weekend? Check out these greening tips that can be applied to your next camping/festival adventure!
Have a wonderful and adventurous weekend.
Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Friday, June 24, 2011

500 Year Flood In Bismarck!

Bismarck, ND.  This week, we spent two full days educating local boy and girl scouts and leaders on the importance practicing leave no trace on their outings.  Along with leave no trace, the brownies, juniors, and cadets of Camp Okancusa are learning many other skills including campfire building, meal planning and preparation, and first aid.  There was a great energy at camp despite having to move indoors because of the relentless rains.  Luckily, by the end of this week, the storm will pass and the sun will be shining as the culminating campout approaches.

During two evening presentations with other local scouts and leaders, we played “What Principle Am I?”,  “How Long Does It Last”, and “Minimum Impact Match” to reinforce the strong leave no trace foundation that already existed within the group. 

Our time in Bismarck was made extremely comfortable due to the hospitality of Mary Kay and her husband Dave.  Also, a special thank-you to Kathy, Doreen, Janelle, and Patty for making our events well attended and successful!

We are now en route to Boise Idaho for the Boise Rec Fest happening this weekend.  Come check it out!

Explore Responsibly…Kate and Tracy

Picture of the Week 6/24/11

Sunset on Bar Harbor, Maine.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Team East Visits Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor, Maine-

Earlier this week Team East enjoyed the abundance of sunshine and spectacular views offered from atop the coastal mountains of Maine on Mount Desert Island. During the visit we had the opportunity to connect with staff from Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park to facilitate a two-day trainer course to instruct the basics of how to practice and teach Leave No Trace. The photo above captures the crew as they have a little fun up high on Schoodic Mountain. The group was a pleasure to work with and offered many insightful questions and observations about educating the collective millions (literally) of people that will visit their parks in 2011.

In the photo above, a moment of hands on learning takes the shape of a mound fire as a participant teaches the group about the principle Minimize Campfire Impacts. We also had the chance to interact with the general public and offer educational materials and information about Leave No Trace at the Visitors Center in Acadia National Park.
Looking ahead in June we will be traveling south to Massachusetts for the Great American Backyard Campout with our partner REI.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, June 20, 2011

Coleman Bug Spray: You'll Be Buggin if You Leave Home Without It!

Rock Harbor, MI.  Mosquitoes.  Tis the season for hatching and harassing.  If these little buggers are already on your last nerve, the solution is within reach.  We recently enjoyed the opportunity to backpack  at Isle Royal National Park located on Lake Superior (our 46th and final National Park in the continental U.S.!).  The mosquitoes are out in full force on the island.  In the spirit of Plan Ahead and Prepare, we were ready for them.  A few squirts of this product effectively put a forcefield around us for ten glorious hours!  If you are hitting the trails anywhere that those pesky buggers are on the prowl, be sure to grab your Coleman Bug Spray and throw it in your pack.  Thank-you to Coleman Outdoor Products for supporting the Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer program!

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Friday, June 17, 2011

Picture of the Week 6/17/11

                                         Sunset over the boundary waters in Northern Minnesota.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Massachusetts International Academy

Marlborough, Massachusetts-

Earlier this week we had the chance to introduce Leave No Trace to twelve international students at the Massachusetts International Academy just outside of Boston, MA. The 18-21 year old students in our morning session are preparing for university life in New England through a variety of modern and diverse preparatory academic programs.
The students were challenged throughout our PEAK activities to develop an understanding of ethics focused on enjoying the outdoors responsibly. Each student had the chance to teach us all about considering the 7 principles of our educational program during an entertaining round of Minimum Impact Match.
Thanks to Becky Lawrence for the opportunity to meet and learn with the students and staff on campus. Looking down the road Team East is heading up to Maine for a week of training and outreach in Acadia National Park.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Wilderness Quest in Minnesota

International Falls, MN.  Kids all across the country are beaming with delight as the final bell of the school year rings in two months of walking barefoot, warm summer days, and exploring the natural world.  Summer camp season is upon us.  Camps Kooch-i-ching and Ogichi Daa Kwe on the boundary waters of International Falls, MN welcomed us for an unprecedented eight day stay.  While we were on the island and mainland where the camps operate, we had the opportunity to train all of the trip leaders and assistant staff -the men of Camp Kooch-i-ching and the women of Ogichi. 

We provided a Trainer Course for the trip leaders that will be bringing young campers on multi week canoe and backpacking trips in the upcoming weeks. 

All of the assistant leaders at camp spent two hours learning how to relay the principles of Leave No Trace to their campers in a fun and interactive manner.

Finally, across the harbor at Ogichi, we provided the girls camp with tools and techniques to seamlessly incorporate Leave No Trace into their everyday routines throughout the summer. 

The majestic boundry waters were a close companion to us  during our stay.  We certainly made time to explore the many coves, islands, and tributaries that make up the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  The sun seems to linger a bit longer on the HORIZON in this north woods territory.   The wildlife is abundant in this region.  We respectfully observed TURTLES, numerous deer, and a snake slithering across the top of the water in between two islands!

A special thanks to J.R. VerKamp and his staff for all their hospitality and we wish Camp Kooch the best as you continue "to inspire the growth of young men through fun, challenging, wilderness adventures that promote self discovery, teamwork, and service to others" for the next 87 years! 

Finally, we would like to applaud all the hard work of Kathy Dix and her crew as they “encourage young women to continue to become educated, and inspire others, through thoughtful actions that promote responsible stewardship of the natural environment.”  Keep it up ladies!

Explore Responsibly…Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Saco River Cleanup

Fryeburg, Maine -

Last weekend Team East connected with the Saco River Recreation Council, The Nature Conservancy, Boy Scouts of America, American Rivers, and numerous individual volunteers from around New England, who gathered for a day of cleaning up the river. Michelle Boyer, the event organizer, made the opportunity educational and enjoyable as she coordinated the various groups and explained the focus of the day as well as the long term goals for advocating responsible recreation along the Saco River.

The opportunity to canoe and clean up the sections of river most heavily impacted offered many teachable moments for the volunteers, and everyone involved left with a renewed sense of stewardship for a river so many people visit throughout the summer season.

Following the day on the river we held an Awareness Workshop with the Boy Scouts and volunteers at the campground and an engaging discussion evolved about how to utilize the seven principles of Leave No Trace in any outdoor setting.
Many thanks to Michelle and all the volunteers whose efforts and dedication made this event a huge success!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, June 13, 2011

FREE National Park Day!

In addition to marking the first day of Summer, June 21st should also be marked in your calendar as a play day.  The National Park service is providing free entrance for all 394 National Park units!  That's right FREE.  This is your chance to roll up to  the splendid terrain that this beautiful country has to offer and explore until the sun goes down without being charged a dime at the entrance.  To find a park near you, click here!

In addition to June 21st, these days in 2011 will also be FREE:

  • September 24
    (Public Lands Day)
  • November 11-13
    (Veterans Day weekend)

Have fun out there!

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Friday, June 10, 2011

Picture of the Week 6/10/11

Sunset from Lakes of the Clouds Hut, New Hampshire.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On A Voyage Through Voyageurs National Park

International Falls, MN.  In our opinion, National Parks are indeed, one of America's best ideas.  Yesterday, we had the opportunity to work and play at Voyageurs National Park, just outside of International Falls, MN.  In the morning, we presented an introduction to the Leave No Trace program to 70 park staff.  In the afternoon, we hiked amid swarms of active dragon flies.  What an experience! 

Nestled abutting the Canadian border, Voyageurs NP is full of opportunities for exploration.  Nearly 200 years ago voyageurs paddled birch bark canoes full of animal pelts and trade goods through this area on their way to Lake Athabasca, Canada.  Today, people explore the park by houseboat, motorboat, canoe, and kayak.  Voyageurs is a water-based park where you must leave your car and take to the water to fully experience the lakes, islands, and shorelines of the park.  The serenity of the wilderness beckons you!

A special thank-you to Kathleen Przybylski for inviting the Traveling Trainers to work with the staff at Voyageurs National Park.

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

National Trails Day

Crawford Notch, NH -- On Saturday, we came back to New Hampshire to meet up with the Appalachian Mountain Club to help them celebrate National Trails Day, a nationwide celebration of trails sponsored by the American Hiking Society. About 80 volunteers turned out, on a beautiful sunny day, to participate in trail work on one of several trails in the Crawford Notch area. The day was full of dirt, sweat, and hard work and we even threw in a little Leave No Trace workshop to top it off.

Thanks to Alex DeLucia for organizing another great event, and if you didn't get a chance to volunteer on National Trails Day check out these opportunities to get involved offered by the Appalachian Mountain Club.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Monday, June 6, 2011

Every Litter Bit Hurts!

Whitehall, MT.  At a recent evening campfire program in Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, we met an on-site volunteer that proudly shared his grand-daughter's slogan for protecting the environment.  He wasn't sure how she came up with it, but after a rousing game of How Long Does It Last, a game in which participants learn how long trash takes to biodegrade if left in the outdoors,  it sure was appropriate: Every Litter Bit Hurts!  Pack it in, Pack it out is one of the phrases commonly associated with the Leave No Trace program.  This young girl is right on target with her thinking!
Tracy pulling invasive weeeds.

Earlier that day, we had the pleasure of participating in a National Trails Day event, as we pulled invasive and noxious weeds from the state park.  The weather cooperated as 40 locals took to the trails in an attempt to weed out the weeds!

Help prevent the spread of invasive species by thoroughly cleaning your gear including tents, hiking boots, bike tire treads, and water sport gear before packing up.  Also, check your pets for any seed pods or insects that might be trying to hitch a ride home.
Take time to enjoy the flowers!

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Picture of the Week 6/6/11

                                            Urban Paddleboarding in Seattle!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Recreating and Relaxing Responsibly at Topnotch Resort and Spa

Stowe, VT -- We left the muddy trails of the Adirondacks on Monday afternoon, drove the Subaru onto the Lake Champlain ferry and were greeted by Camel's Hump as we headed over to Vermont. It could not have been more of a picture perfect summer day in New England as we made our way to Topnotch Resort and Spa. With Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, as our backdrop, we worked with the staff at Topnotch to familiarize them with Leave No Trace as they work to incorporate Leave No Trace into their programs and activities.

Thanks to Monique Gramas for inviting us to come visit Topnotch!

All the best,

Agata and Jason