Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bigfoot is back – and Bearing Gifts!

It’s true – as part of our Bigfoot Challenge this year,, you can participate in various challenges that are updated every month. Sign up and take action, pledge to do something that helps forward Leave No Trace in your area, and be eligible to win great gear and other cool stuff from Bigfoot himself. Our first winner is Mike Doyle, from Atlanta. Mike takes home a Coleman sleeping bag, soft cooler, backpack and other great prizes from Coleman. We’ll feature new winners every month.

Thanks, Mike, for helping bring Leave No Trace to your community. Read more about what Mike, an inspiring young leader at Georgia Southern University, is doing to make Leave No Trace fun and accessible to students on campus:

My name is Mike, I'm from Atlanta, GA but I've been in Statesboro, GA for the past four years going to school at Georgia Southern University. Statesboro is a small college town that has been rapidly growing, but faces some big problems with the proposed budget cuts for higher education by the state legislators. With the city seeing a large influx of college age students, more and more of the local scene is being turned into apartment complexes. Development projects are popping up all over the place and pushing access to natural setting farther and farther away. College students are becoming less and less likely to find quiet places in nature to recreate. Yet, on campus there is a great outlet for students. Southern Adventures is our outdoor recreation program on campus. I've been working for Southern Adventures for 3 years now, facilitating challenge courses, teaching climbing, kayaking, and canoeing clinics, managing the climbing wall, and leading backcountry trips. As a student employee, I've had the privilege of leading backcountry trips for other students going climbing, backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, caving, and mountain biking. Before I started leading trips I became a Leave No Trace trainer, so that I could not only practice Leave No Trace principles in the field, but also teach my participants how to minimize their impacts on the places we go, and hopefully where they go in the future. I've come to find that most of the students that come on these trips learn more about the impacts that they have on their environments every day than they do if someone just told them, or if they saw it in a documentary. I taught a group about low impact fire building, and more so about when fires are not appropriate. I set it up as a discussion rather than a lecture. I think that the most rewarding thing about it was that I wasn't teaching them directly 'this is right and that is wrong' but that I posed the questions to them, and they came up with alternatives and the answers themselves. Leave No Trace is something that I am very passionate about and I'm glad to have a way of sharing that with others. Becoming a Leave No Trace trainer has given me ways of teaching I never would have otherwise had.

If there could be ONE thing about Leave No Trace that everyone could do, it would be to spread the word!

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