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, February 28, 2011

Rain or Shine-Leave No Trace!

This weekend marked the first Leave No Trace Trainer Course for Team West in the 2011 season. Eight participants came out and were eager to learn about the principles of Leave No Trace. We had six students from local San Diego colleges including trip leaders from University of California at San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, and the University of San Diego. We also had one staff member from the Outdoor Adventure Program at USD and one "stud muffin" from Orange County who will be starting a outdoor business in the near future. With this diversity in the group, each participant had a passion towards the outdoors and educating others on ways to preserve and protect it!
After a rainy start to the course on Saturday, sunny California lived up to its name sake and Sunday proved to be a beautiful day. We were able to hike up Kwaay Peak at Mission Trails Regional Park and take in the gorgeous views from the Pacific Ocean to the west to the majestic mountains to the east. We truly appreciated each individual on the course, as our discussions were thoughtful and thorough. Please enjoy a slideshow of photos from the course over the weekend.
Congratulations to the latest Leave No Trace Trainers! We know you all will do great work in the future as you educate others about Leave No Trace!
Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

San Antonio Outreach Continued

On Saturday of last week, we met twenty-six high school students at Eisenhower Park in San Antonio. These students are in the Upward Bound Program, which provides intensive college preparatory support to high school students from low-income backgrounds with the potential to be the first generation in college from their families. As part of this program, the students devote entire Saturdays to additional academic instruction. This Saturday, they had a couple of hours available so we could introduce them to Leave No Trace.

While only two of the participants had ever heard of Leave No Trace before meeting us, the students caught on quickly and realized that our program is rooted in common sense and scientific studies.

In the first photo, two girls draw a picture of their ideal campsite in an activity that strives to show the impact others can have on our experience as well as the impact we can have on others. In the second photo, two students share how their gear helps them Leave No Trace, and in the third photo, students are mingling and attempting to figure out their gear for Minimum Impact Match.

Thanks to Arless Lenz and Roy de la Cruz for putting this event together!

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Outdoor Club of the Claremont Colleges

Last night we had the pleasure of working with the outdoor program On the Loose (OTL), the outdoors club of the Claremont Colleges!

The goals of the OTL program are a natural fit for the Leave No Trace program. Their mission is as follows, "OTL dispatches student-led trips to destinations across California and the Southwestern states. OTLers like to backpack, climb, car-camp, surf, bike, and bear-wrassle. To these ends, we offer advice to those who are lost, cars to those who need transportation, and a wide-ranging assortment of gear to all students—all for free. We also provide extensive subsidies for our adventures. We welcome students of all ability levels, from the most hardened sherpas to the freshest greenhorns. We host talks to engage our intellects, classes and training to hone our skills, and weekly Tuesday Shindigs to see each other’s shining faces."

We had the privilege of seeing their shining faces last evening as we presented an introduction to the Leave No Trace program. The insightful students were eager to learn about the skills and ethics that are the Leave No Trace program. We would like to thank Martin Crawford for inviting the Traveling Trainers to present an awareness workshop at Ponoma College.

A friendly reminder to all those OTL's out there...

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

San Antonio Outreach

On Friday of last week, we met with ten home-schooled children and their parents to introduce them to the Leave No Trace program. Ranging in ages from 6 to 14, the kids had a great time coming up with creative nature names, deciding how long trash can last, and figuring out the gear they were in Minimum Impact Match. We used several activities from our PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids) program as tools to teach Leave No Trace, and felt that the parents walked away ready to teach the program themselves.

Thanks to Peggy Spring and Stacy Barnwell for putting this event together.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Should I Avoid Feeding Wildlife?

Since leaving Boulder a few weeks ago, we have been asked numerous times a common question: "Is it really that big of a deal if I toss a banana peel out the car window, or leave my orange peels under a rock while on a hike?" As an organization, we strongly recommend avoiding these behaviors. Besides the danger of wildlife coming too close to the road or highway in search of food, here are more reasons to keep human food away from animals highlighted in our FAQ section of the website:

Most items though of as biodegradable, such as apples and apple cores, orange peels, banana peels, nuts, candy, etc., aren't native to most natural environments, and generally aren’t thought of as suitable food for wildlife. Anything that we carry into the woods should come out of the woods with us. Otherwise it's simply trash. One apple core will not completely disrupt the local ecosystem, but litter is litter.

The biggest problem with improperly disposing of food waste, e.g. tossing apple cores into the woods, it that it is ultimately harmful to wildlife. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters their natural behaviors and exposes them to predators and other dangers. News headlines are often made when wildlife is attracted to human food. Bears, more than any other animal, get the most press for tearing into tents, raiding food caches, coolers and cars in search of a meal. Generally, however, campers and hikers have to deal with less threatening, but often more annoying, rodents, raccoons, birds, etc., looking for a handout. These animals are a nuisance and can be vectors for disease, not to mention that their dependence on human food is a detriment to their own well being. Human foods are harmful to wildlife because animals would otherwise forage and eat a nutritious diet derived from their natural environment.

Ask yourself this question: Would this [insert biodegradable item] be here if I weren’t?

Pack it in, Pack it out...Kate & Tracy

Friday, February 18, 2011

Picture of the Week 2/18/11

Play day at Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life on the Road as Traveling Trainers

Life on the road as Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers is an adventure each and every day! In our first year we traveled over 50,000 miles and educated thousands of people about enjoying the outdoors in a safe and responsible manner. Well into the start of year number two we find ourselves well versed in the daily practice of packing the vehicle, unpacking educational materials for programs, setting up camp, and enjoying all the different locations our work has us visiting.

Above we have a snapshot of the less glorious but still important practice of loading our 2010 Subaru Outback for the road ahead. Living out of the vehicle is a daily challenge in logistics and efficient use of space, and as you can see every square inch is utilized to keep the team well equipped for our travels. Thanks to the generosity of our program sponsors like The North Face we are provided gear and clothing to make the journey more comfortable and organized!

Keep an eye out for our teams in your location in 2011 and get involved through education and volunteer opportunities with your community to learn more about Leave No Trace!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

City of Phoenix Partnership Thrives

Phoenix park rangers and volunteers play How Long Does It Last?

In April of 2009, the Traveling Trainer program made Phoenix a priority stop. It was a monumental time for the city, as they were kicking off an official partnership with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. While in Phoenix, we presented multiple awareness workshops, ran a full trainer course with 16 City of Phoenix employees, and even interviewed for the local evening news! This was a huge event for both Phoenix and Leave No Trace.

Flash forward two years to present day. We are back in Phoenix and the Leave No Trace presence is thriving! Yesterday, we provided an awareness workshop for 23 City of Phoenix staff members and volunteers. During the presentation, we had extensive discussions about some of the greatest impacts present among the city's public trail systems. These impacts included pet waste, vandalizing cultural areas, trash left behind, and visitors traveling off trail. The staff members see the value in implementing the Leave No Trace programs as a way to mitigate these impacts that are occurring on the very spaces that locals recreate. We applaud the efforts of the staff members that we worked with yesterday. Not only will they share the Leave No Trace information with their fellow coworkers, but they will also utilize the program to teach the public about stewardship of lands shared by the public!

A great big thank-you to Liz Smith and the City of Phoenix for continuing to spread the Leave No Trace ethic to kids, families, and adults that enjoy all of the beautiful outdoor spaces that Phoenix has to offer. We look forward to continuing to strengthen this partnership between the City of Phoenix and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics!

Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trainer Course in Glen Rose, Texas

Over the weekend of February 12th through the 13th we were in Glen Rose, Texas for a two day trainer course. The course was an opportunity for all 12 participants to learn and teach together about the seven program principles and minimizing our impacts while enjoying our favorite public lands. The weather was pleasant and the group chemistry was enjoyable as many generations of scouting and outdoor recreation experiences were well represented over the two days.

In the photo above a participant teaching his section on the principle Minimize Campfire Impacts offers a variety of options to consider as alternatives to the standard campfire. From left to right in the photo, we have examples of a mound fire, various camp stove models from across antiquity, and finally a basic fire pan. The lesson this Venture Scout led was very informative and comprehensively explained the various methods to reduce our impact while safely and responsibly enjoying the outdoors.

Many thanks to Candace Lewis and our hosts Alan and Mic out at the Bush Ranch House in Longhorn Country.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, February 14, 2011

Northern Arizona University Outreach

Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona is one of the many nation-wide educational institutions that has partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The mission of the NAU Outdoor Program is to facilitate experiential opportunities where students have the ability to learn the values of trusting one's self, intrapersonal communication, diversity, health, leadership, and the importance of creating life-long friendships while exploring and preserving our natural environment.

NAU Outdoors consists of a collection of programs designed to assist NAU students and others to explore Arizona and the surrounding area. Programs include Trips and Classes, San Juan River Program, NAU Challenge Course, Gear Rental, Rescue Medicine and the NAU Disc Golf Course. We had the pleasure of working 13 animated members of NAU community that were wrapping up a weekend of outdoor staff development. These eager leaders are preparing to bring students on adventures throughout the semester, and more than likely for the rest of their lives. This is why we are grateful to Matt Hartman for successfully implementing Leave No Trace into the NAU program. We would like to also thank each of the 13 participants for their thoughtful participation during our time together. We look forward to returning to the NAU campus in the future. If you or the outdoor recreation program at your school might be interested in becoming a partner of Leave No Trace, click here for more details. You'll be glad you did!

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Friday, February 11, 2011

Picture of the Week 2/11/11

The future of Leave No Trace.
Fourth grade students from the Environmental Club at Whittier Elementary show off their recycling posters.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Leave No Trace visits the Kansas City public schools

On our way through Kansas we had the opportunity to visit with students from the Kansas City public schools and talk about Leave No Trace. The students were very excited to learn about the programs common sense approach to enjoying nature in a responsible way!

Above a snapshot into our visit with almost one hundred students from Whittier elementary as the Traveling Trainers facilitated an awareness workshop for kindergartners and fourth grade students. The focus of the workshop was on the PEAK principle "trash your trash" as the students had selected keeping nature free of trash as a goal for their school.

Special thanks to Teri Fulton for all her hard work to bring the Traveling Trainers to town for these events!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow Delay In New Mexico?

Everyone that learns we are in New Mexico is excited that we have been able to migrate to warmer weather. With an arctic freeze covering nearly all of the country, we are here to tell you that not even the "seasonably warm" places are enjoying their usual 50-60 degree temperatures! We spent today, after a two hour snow delay, presenting to an entire elementary school. Not all at once, of course, but we reached all 147 kids at the Tesuque Elementary School just north of Santa Fe. The picture above shows one student, nature name-Pecos River, getting ready to attach his Leave No Trace kids hang tag to his back pack. A special thanks to parent, Mickey Fong, and principal, Colleen Korce, for taking the time to schedule a Leave No Trace visit from the Traveling Trainers. If you are interested in hosting a Leave No Trace event, please click here for more information on how to put in a request.

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Leave No Trace in Jayhawk Country

On Saturday February 5, 2011 Team East was in Pratt, Kansas working with the Boy Scouts of America. The afternoon was focused on teaching general awareness around responsible outdoor recreation through the seven program principles of Leave No Trace. The discussions also addressed personal responsibility for our actions in nature and how to develop a sense of stewardship for public lands. In the photo above, we have Team East and the event host David Hearn outside of the event. Below a moment of connection between generations of Scouting as the pair teaches from their discussion around how to use Leave No Trace in the field.

A very warm thank you to David Hearn for the invitation to visit the Jayhawk state!

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, February 7, 2011

Letters from a 5th Grade Class

Friday was spent with astute students from Red Rocks elementary school in Morrison, CO. We worked with kindergarten students that listened rather excitedly to "Trek and Tracks Great Adventure" as Trek and Track climbed their way up Misty Mountain, all the while learning about the 7 principles of Leave No Trace. We then visited the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes. The 5th graders promptly wrote letters to us recounting what they learned and before the day was through, they were hand delivered. Here are a few of the impressions we left on these young children:

"I am also going to change. I will pick up trash when I see it on the ground. I won't throw my banana peels on the ground anymore because I don't want the animals to get sick."

"I will always remember the 4 R's-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, REFUSE. Thank-you for teaching me all that!"

"I also will not leave trash the next time I go camping, hiking, and bike because it may take many years or forever to decompose."

Lastly, our favorite quote came from the one student that exclaimed:

"Thank you for coming to teach our class. I had more fun than a monkey on his birthday!!"

Kids say the darndest things.

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Photo of the Week 2/5/11

Looking out my window

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Strategies and Philosophies

Last week we met up with Team East, the Education Department, and the Outreach Department (yes, we now have an Outreach Department!) in El Jebel, CO, a small town outside of Aspen, for three days of Strategic Planning for the upcoming 2011 Traveling Trainer season. This was a rare occurrence as this is only the second time in Traveling Trainer history that both teams are returning for another season! Because of this, we were able to dive into more than the skills and ethics involved with teaching Leave No Trace. We strategized about new initiatives for the 2011 season and philosophized ways to improve the Traveling Trainer program. Both teams officially hit the road this week so stay tuned for exciting times ahead!
Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Looking out my backdoor...

Waking in the mountains outside of Boulder, Colorado this morning, we were greeted by temperatures well south of zero degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately for the Subaru/Leave No Trace traveling trainers we are well equipped for such an occasion with apparel from head to toe! Thanks to the generous support of outfitting partners like Smartwool we are able to enjoy our favorite outdoor activities in total comfort and warmth in any conditions. The socks and base layers we receive will keep the teams warm and stylish for any adventures we embark upon as the 2011 season gets started.

All the best,

Agata and Jason