Thursday, September 22, 2011

Congrats to the August Bigfoot Challenge Winners!

Every month Leave No Trace hosts the Bigfoot Challenge, a set of three challenges that ask people to practice Leave No Trace principles at their local places of outdoor recreation. This month, the three challenges were:

- This Labor Day weekend cook a meal outside with your family and practice Leave No Trace techniques in your own backyard!

- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of a local environmental issue.

- Plan ahead and prepare for next summer's adventures with friends and family by scheduling a trip and writing an itinerary.

There were many entries and three lucky winners!

Our first winner was Aimee Morgado from Colorado Springs, CO. In response to our questions of how Leave No Trace is important in her life, she writes:

"I grew up hiking and camping in the Pikes Peak Region and across Colorado. From the Great Sand Dunes to the alpine tundra at the top of the Continental Divide there is no more beautiful and diverse place to live. The delicate nature of these environments should be available for everyone to enjoy. Leave No Trace offers me the opportunity to enjoy the majestic beauty of parks and wild areas while preserving their natural beauty. It is indeed an honor and responsibility to teach others to preserve and enjoy our mountains, valleys, rivers, dunes, archeological, historical, and geologic wonders. My parents taught me to respect nature and how to leave no trace; I have taught my children and friends the same. Having friends, grandchildren and students who remember to Leave No Trace is my ideal legacy."

Our second winner was Callie Freeman from Indianola, IA. In regard to the impact Leave No Trace has had in her in life, she writes:

"I love to be outside. Hiking, camping, sailing (the perfect no-motor water sport!)...even running is better if it's outdoors! As a grad student finishing up my degree I do not have much extra time but when I do it's important to me to spend it outdoors and to take care of it while I'm there. Right now I am trying to acquire the tools to be as sustainable as possible-drying extra food to avoid wasting it, saving seeds of heirloom vegetables to plant years from now, and learning about the principles of permaculture.
Practicing Leave No Trace can make a significant difference around the world if we only pass on the principles to everyone we spend time in the outdoors with. We need to be mindful of the custodial responsibilities we have for the outdoors we enjoy."

Our third winner was Michelle Thompson, who works in Wellness Programs for Florida Southern College in Lakeland Florida. Michelle writes about how her and her family's life has been impacted by leave No Trace:

"Hi, My name is Michelle Thompson and I work in Wellness Programs for Florida Southern College in sunny Lakeland, FL. I lead outdoor recreation trips for our student body and in my spare time l love leading adventures with my family. I chose to get more involved with Leave No Trace and hosted a Leave No Trace Trainer course last spring so that I could learn more ways to incorporate Leave No Trace principles in my collegiate outdoor recreation trips. The result is a better informed student participant that has more respect for the environment that we are using. I also have shared these principles with my family, and now my children have an “eagle’s eye” for trash on our family kayak trips. We get to practice our maneuvering skills to get into tight spots to remove trash that they spot on our trips. I love that my children want to be quiet when they see a bird nearby, and won’t be litter bugs like many other children that I have worked with in the past. Start with your circle of influence… The ripples will expand from there."

Thank you Aimee, Callie, and Michelle for sharing your stories, and thank you to everyone who took the Bigfoot Challenge in August!

There's still time to hop on September's Bigfoot Challenge, sponsored by Clif Bar! And remember to get outside and Leave No Trace!

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