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, August 31, 2011

Principle Blog Series: Part 6 of 7-Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife is the 6th of 7 Leave No Trace Principles.  Humans can unknowingly cause distress to animals by exhibiting the following behaviors:  cutting trail switch backs, getting too close, leaving behind food and trash, and being too loud (except in bear/mountain lion country).  When entering the natural world, we are in essence entering the home of wild animals.  Some ideas on ways we can respect wildlife are:

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

 To learn more about Respect Wildlife, CLICK HERE.

Explore Responsibly…Kate and Tracy

Monday, August 29, 2011

Principle Blog Series: Part 5 of 7-Minimize Campfire Impacts

Minimize Campfire Impacts is the 5th of 7 Leave No Trace Principles.  If you close your eyes and think about some of your earliest camping experiences, there is a good chance that a campfire is included in your reflection.  It is important to note that Leave No Trace is not against campfires, but please be aware of responsible practices.

Some other points to consider about Minimizing Campfire Impacts are:

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

For more information about Minimize Campfire Impacts, CLICK HERE.

Explore Responsibly…Kate and Tracy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Boston Backyard Session

On August 15th, Team East and Boston REI hosted a Leave No Trace Backyard Session.  Despite monsoonal-like rain, 25 people came out for an evening of networking, training, and socializing.  Representatives from many local organization came to the event including the Student Conservation Association (SCA), MA Audubon Society, American Camp Association of New England, Youth Enrichment Services (YES), the US Forest Service, and Outdoor Explorations.  With such a diverse group of people gathered, the conversations were plentiful and enthusiastic in regards to ways these organizations can connect with each other on ways to bring Leave No Trace into their community.  To make the evening more exciting, KEEN Shoes donated one free pair of shoes to a lucky participant.  Congratulations to Nunu Stevenson of SCA!  We hope you enjoy many outdoor adventures in your new Keen Shoes.
A special thank you to Dane Tullock, REI Outreach Specialist, for all of his efforts in making this Leave No Trace Backyard Session a successful event.  To find out more about hosting or attending a Leave No Trace Backyard Session in your community, click here!
Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Principle Blog Series: Part 4 of 7-Leave What You Find

Leave What You Find is the 4th of 7 Leave No Trace Priciples.  The principle Leave What You Find definitely has more of an ethical backbone to it than the other principles; therefore it is harder to interpret.  Leave No Trace is, in part, about leaving the gift of discovery for the next person.  As excited as I am to find that cool rock, pinecone, arrowhead, or antler shed, I always wonder, "Wouldn’t someone else like to find that, too?"  Alternatives to taking home items found in the outdoors include taking a picture, creating a nature journal and draw a picture, journal about your experience, or bring a friend by to enjoy the object together.  During one of our workshops, we had an energetic high schooler that suggested creating an interpretive dance to help you remember. Cheers kiddo, whatever strengthens your connection to nature is all right by us!

Some other points to consider about Leave What You Find:

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Remember to encourage exploration of the natural world, especially with kids.  Motivate kids to explore using all their senses while in the out of doors and not feel as though they are in a museum!

To Learn More about Leave What You Find, CLICK HERE.

Explore Responsibly…Kate and Tracy

Monday, August 22, 2011

Principle Blog Series: Part 3 of 7 Dispose of Waste Properly

Dispose of Waste Properly is the 3rd of 7 Leave No Trace Principles.  Pack it in, pack it out is a common phrase in the outdoor world that easily conveys the gist of this principle. Our kid-friendly version of this principle gets the point across in a different light: Trash Your Trash!

 Did you know that in the average environments, a fruit peel takes approximately two years to biodegrade! Another impact associated with leaving peels behind is the wildlife impact. Animals that get a taste for human food run the risk of becoming habituated and losing their fear of humans or displaying aggressive behaviors toward humans. Problem animals, especially bears, sometimes need to be removed from an area or worse euthanized. Disposing of waste properly involves more than packing out your food waste.

Consider these points when disposing of waste properly:

  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

For more information about Dispose of Waste Properly, CLICK HERE.

Expore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Friday, August 19, 2011

Picture of the Week 8/19/11

One of the many views on our hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

PEAK at Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake State Park, CO -- Located about 70 miles northeast of Denver, Jackson Lake State Park has been dubbed "an oasis in the plains." When we arrived in the early evening last Saturday we were not surprised to find that nearly all 260 campsites at the park were occupied. Nineteen campers came out to the amphitheater in the Cove Campground to learn more about Leave No Trace. We used "What Principle Am I?" to introduce the campers to the seven principles of the program and wrapped up with "How Long Does it Last" to focus on the principle Trash Your Trash. Everyone was very excited to also learn about the Bigfoot Challenge and the opportunity to not only learn more about Leave No Trace but have the chance to win some amazing prizes.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Principle Blog Series: Part 2 of 7-Travel and Camp On Durable Surfaces

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces is the second of 7 Leave No Trace principles.  A durable surface is defined as one that is resistant and resilient to people traveling or camping upon it. Examples of durable surfaces are: rock, gravel, snow, sand, dry grass, and established trails/campsites. On the flip side, non-durable surfaces are more fragile and take longer to recover. Some examples are: wild flowers, meadows, steep slopes prone to slides (safety first!), cryptobiotic soil, and poison ivy/oak.

Consider these points when selecting terrain to hike and camp on:

  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
    • In popular areas:
    • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
    • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
    • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
    • In pristine areas:
    • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
    • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Pop Quiz: Is MUD a durable or non-durable surface?

For more information on Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, CLICK HERE.

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Higher Learning at Vedauwoo

Medicine Bow National Forest, WY - Last week, the University of Wyoming Outdoor Program held two days of training for their staff at Vedauwoo, an incredible area of rocky outcrops that was once a popular hideout for outlaws and now attracts adventurous rock climbers and other outdoor recreationists. The Outdoor Program invited Team West to be a part of the training and provide an opportunity for the student leaders to learn more about how to teach Leave No Trace.

The Outdoor Program provides a wide range of outdoor activities and programs for a variety of skill levels to the UW community. Participants have the opportunity to develop lifetime recreational skills, learn about safety and proper technique, gain an appreciation and concern for our natural environment, meet new people, and have a great time.

Many of the student leaders are Leave No Trace trainers and master educators, so we focused our discussion on the Authority of the Resource Technique, which provides a method for informing outdoor recreationists about minimum impact skills and techniques and focuses on influencing long-term behavioral change. The Outdoor Program leaders have a fantastic opportunity in the coming year to teach over 800 participants about Leave No Trace.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Monday, August 15, 2011

Principle Blog Series: Part 1 of 7-Plan Ahead and Prepare

Plan Ahead and Prepare is a criticial planning component of the 7 principles of Leave No Trace.  If proper time and care is dedicated to trip planning, you will find it easy to follow through with the remaining six Leave No Trace principles.  A wise education director once taught us: If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. 

Consider these points when planning for a trip:

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

For more information about the principle Plan Ahead and Prepare, CLICK HERE.

Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Outdoor Retailer

Salt Lake City, UT - This past weekend, we attended the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, a bi-annual event where the outdoor industry come together to showcase new products, network, and connect with non-profit organizations. In collaboration with Backpacker Magazine and Subaru of America we were able to facilitate the Great Gear Giveaway, where participants answer a couple of Leave No Trace-related questions and are entered to win one of six prize packages each day.

We also had a surprise visit from Bigfoot! He helped us announce the six winners each day and promoted his pint glasses.

All the best,

Agata and Jason

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rockygrass 2011 Campsite Challenge winners!

Lyons, Colorado

The results of the 2011 "How Green Is Your Grass?" campsite challenge are now available! After a great deal of careful consideration and healthy debate the winning campsite is
Camp Zero Hero.

Congratulations to Sam and Katie Meunier of Fort Collins, Colorado for another successful campaign to promote responsible enjoyment of the outdoors! Camp Zero Hero offered free recycling and composting services (pictured above) for the campground, where they stayed while enjoying the festive environment at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, Colorado.

All the best,

Jason and Agata

Monday, August 8, 2011

24 Hours of Cycling for CASA

Lafayette, IN.
This weekend Team East traveled to Lafayette, IN to Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) for a 24 hour cycling challenge.  Over 200 riders came out to test their endurance, enjoy some camaraderie, and raise money for CASA for children.  CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, raises money for abused and neglected children in their community.  Through generous donations from riders and their families and friends, this event raised over $37,000!
While on site, we were able to educate the riders in their down time about the principles of Leave No Trace.  We also signed up new Leave No Trace members during the race.  Each new member received a free pair of Smartwool Socks and were entered to win a pair of Chaco Shoes!
Leave No Trace "Lounge"

It was very inspiring to watch these riders all night long, peddling away into the wee hours of the morning, through thick heat and humidity, all in honor of children who need love and support.  Most of the riders are from the Lafayette area, although some traveled from VA, PA, and KY to attend the ride.  Also in attendance was Executive Vice President of SIA, Tom Easterday, who logged many miles for CASA.
We enjoyed our time at SIA, especially the tour of their facility.  The SIA plant is a zero waste facility and has been driving force  here in the Lafayette community since 1987!
Explore Responsibly...Kate &Tracy

Friday, August 5, 2011

Picture of the Week 8/5/11

Salt Lake City, UT- Great Gear Giveaway Winners!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Trying To Beat The Heat!

With record breaking temperatures sizzling outdoor enthusiasts all around the country, Team East takes a moment to cool off in the St. Vrain River in Lyons, CO.  How are you staying cool during this heat wave?  Let us know how you are trying to beat the heat!
Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Green is Your Grass?

Lyons, CO - Team East and Team West joined forces this weekend to promote the 5th annual How Green is Your Grass? Campsite Challenge at the RockyGrass Festival.

RockyGrass is an annual bluegrass festival held at the Planet Bluegrass Ranch along the St. Vrain River in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Thousands of festivarians from across the country flock to Lyons to hear the pickin' and to participate in the campsite challenge.

The How Green is Your Grass? Campsite Challenge was created to extend the spirit of the sustainable festival into the campgrounds. Participants were asked to describe how sustainable, clean, and creative their campsite was and to draw a picture to illustrate how these three criteria are incorporated into their campsite. Each day, two finalists were selected and awarded goodies from Planet Bluegrass, New Belgium, and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from Planet Bluegrass and awarded a grand prize of festival and camping passes to next year's festival and a Grub Hub Camp Kitchen.

We had a record number of campsites participate in the challenge this year with 54 entries. The six finalists are: Camp Flippy, Rummy Grass, Camp ZeroHero, Campana Contenta, Santa Fe to Lyons Bluegrass Dash, and Camp Rothacker.

Check back on Thursday for the winner!

All the best,

Agata, Jason, Kate and Tracy

Monday, August 1, 2011

Explore Your Parks-Denver, CO

Barr Lake State Park, CO

 Today we spent the morning at Barr Lake State Park to celebrate the Explore Your Parks event. The North Face started this exciting event last year, which encourages communities to come out and explore local parks in their area for FREE! Today's event included kayaking, biking, educational activities, and a special guest appearance from Bigfoot!

Team West spoke to hundreds of kids and families about the importance of Trashing Your Trash while enjoying time outdoors through the interactive game- How Long Does It Last?
We even had a surprise visit by the fabulous Outreach Department of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics- Dave Winter and Betsy Workman!
Thank you to The North Face for starting this event, one that allows families to get outside and explore their natural, local world!  We look forward to the next Explore Your Parks event.  To find an event near you- click here!
Explore Responsibly...Kate & Tracy