How do you “Leave no Trace”?

August 21, 2015 by Julie Walker

Ever wondered what that “Leave no Trace” movement is all about? And how it can be applied to your personal and professional life as an environmental educator? Well as a newly certified Leave no Trace trainer I am here to help you learn the in’s and out’s of outdoor ethics.
Leave no trace is centered around 7 principles for being responsible when camping, hiking, or even teaching in the outdoors.
1. Plan Ahead
2. Travel and Camp on durable surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste properly
4. Leave what you find
5. Minimize campfire impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be considerate of other visitors

The leave no trace trainer course can vary with the teaching style of the Master Educator that is running it, but I will share with you some of my general experiences with the course. My course was a two day backpacking style that incorporated a light 5 mile hike to the campsite, but for those who like to enjoy the outdoors in a more comfortable setting they also offered a cabin camping course that focused more on leave no trace principles in the front country.
The leave no trace trainer course is focused on not only learning about these principles but also how to teach these principles to others. Each participant is assigned a principle and is then responsible for teaching that topic to the rest of the class.  The group lessons are up to interpretation of the lesson leader, we were given the opportunity to pick the audience and the type of activities. After each lesson we discussed not only the topic but also the effectiveness of the lesson, suggesting improvements or how to adapt a lesson to a different groups and settings. This type of training method makes it a very effective for teachers to get feedback and gain experience teaching outdoor ethics.
Leave no Trace principles can be modified from camping ethics to a simple lesson on how to minimize your impact on your next field trip or even the next time your take student into the schoolyard.
To learn more about Leave no Trace check out their website and find a training near you! 

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