Monday, June 30, 2008

Leave No Trace Course in Ireland


From Leave No Trace Ireland:

The second ever Leave No Trace Master Educator course was delivered by Ben Lawhon, (Education Director for the Leave No Trace Centre for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, Colorado) from 16th to 20th June 08 in the Glendasan Valley, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.

This course is the highest level of Leave No Trace training and teaches participants the “hard skills” like appropriate human waste disposal, good campsite selection and management as well as the “soft skills” - these are the more ethical side of the message dealing with issues like behaviour around wildlife, disturbance of natural and cultural items, social impacts. The course also aims to teach participants how to teach the Leave No Trace message themselves in a non-judgmental, non-sanctimonious way and provides teaching tips to help teach the subject in a participatory, engaging way.

The course started off with an introduction to Leave No Trace and how it originated, mountainous and coastal environments were visited to explore the different impacts on different environments and the key principles were explored and discussed.

The course trained up 9 instructors in Leave No Trace who can now pass the message on through their own work within organisations / training schemes. These aspirant instructors offer Leave No Trace Training courses and awareness sessions and train up others in the Leave No Trace education programme.

Ben Lawhon commented on the course, “On my second trip to Ireland to offer a Leave No Trace Master Educator course, I was greeted with the same level of enthusiasm and excitement for the program that I was on my first visit in 2006. What made the course particularly unique is that there is now a Leave No Trace organization in Ireland that is working to promote outdoor ethics in the country, something that wasn’t yet up and running on my last visit. By having Leave No Trace Ireland, Master Educators and Trainers now have the support they need to offer education, outreach and training in order to help people understand how they can enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

The recent course was excellent and involved a great group of educators who are excited about Leave No Trace and who now possess the skills and knowledge necessary to spread Leave No Trace information effectively. With nine new Master Educators in Ireland, the training capacity has increased substantially, which means that more and more Trainer courses and Awareness sessions can be facilitated. I’m confident that all course participants have the desire to get the word out about Leave No Trace and are poised to make a significant difference in the protection of Ireland’s landscape.

I feel honored to have had the opportunity to come to Ireland to work with such a dedicated group of people who want to see the program succeed. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ireland and hope that our collective efforts will benefit all those who enjoy the out-of-doors. I am particularly proud to have been a part of helping to get Leave No Trace Ireland off the ground and look forward to seeing the program grow over the coming years.”

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