Friday, March 11, 2011

Rudy, One of our February Bigfoot Challenge Winners!

For February's Bigfoot Challenge we asked people to share their challenge ideas with us. We received so many creative and fun challenge ideas! Upon winning, we asked our three challenge winners such as Rudy, to share their Leave No Trace story with us. This is Rudy's story...

My original intent in becoming a Leave No Trace volunteer (back around 1990 or so) was to be more effective in my role as an adult leader in Boy Scouting. I have been active in hiking, camping and backpacking for over 50 years and wanted to share my enjoyment of the outdoors with the boys in my Troop. In the beginning I was very disappointed that the boys had no clue about the environmental effects of their actions and that Boy Scouting didn't include Leave No Trace training as part of their program. Then I learned that Boy Scouts of America was developing a Leave No Trace Awareness award and was looking for adults to get trained as Leave No Trace instructors, so I signed up and participated in a program taught by the ATC in Gorham, NH. After completing the course, I began to promote the Leave No Trace Awareness award both in my Troop and in our District. In time I left Scouting, but have continued to teach and promote Leave No Trace through courses that I have offered at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH and at The Little Nature Museum in Contoocook, NH. I also incorporate Leave No Trace principles into programs that I teach to home school groups throughout NH.

I feel that Leave No Trace is important for many reasons. One is the quality of our outdoor experiences and the preservation of that feeling that I am in a place where no person has ever been before, that I have found a "secret place"; I can only experience this if those who have been here before me have practiced Leave No Trace. Another reason why Leave No Trace is important is that we can only take steps to reduce our impact upon the environment if we know what that impact is, and the seven principles of Leave No Trace put those impacts into language that I can understand and give me specific actions that I can perform to reduce them. If the millions of humans who venture into the outdoors would commit to the principles of Leave No Trace then we could make a huge positive impact upon our environment. What I have learned, however, is that few people will attend a Leave No Trace program unless they have to, and this is why I incorporate the Leave No Trace principles into the classes that I offer. For example, I teach classes on primitive fire-starting skills, and along with all of the basic fire safety concepts I also include a section on reducing campfire impact. When I teach a map and compass program I include a section on traveling on durable surfaces and discuss the differences between front-country and back-country travel. In the context of a bigger experience, people can be taught about Leave No Trace.

For Leave No Trace to be effective, the most important audience for us to reach is the children. They need to be reached early while they are still able to listen and understand, and they need to be taught in ways that will be effective. And while it is true that our planet is facing overwhelming environmental issues, Leave No Trace still plays a critical role. Someone once said, "if you want to clean up the world, first clean your own room", and someone else said that "a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step". Leave No Trace helps us to take that first step and to understand environmental consequences.

Thank you Rudy for your story and all that you do to support the efforts of Leave No Trace!
Congratulations on winning February's Bigfoot Challenge!

Take March's Bigfoot Challenge and become eligible to win great Coleman prize packages!

No comments: