At this moment I should be enjoying the white powder of the mountains in Utah but as a result of uncontrollable factors, I find myself at home. Really should have picked up trip insurance for this trip, of course the one time I break my own rules I wish I hadn’t.
Looking ahead to the future though in less then two weeks I will find myself enjoying the amazing wilderness around the Delaware Water Gap area in New Jersey. This adventure is not simply for pleasure, it is the the final step in a training program I started as a boy scout during my childhood. I will be joining six other individuals for a Leave No Trace Master Educator course hosted by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Over the course of five days the group will demonstrate our understanding of the Leave No Trace Principles and our ability to act as professional educators not only capable of teaching others in the principles but also the ability to train fellow outdoor educators to instructor others.
The Leave No Trace program was initial development by the United States Forest service and in conjunction with the National Outdoor Leadership Schools (NOLS) the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics was formed. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics oversee’s the development of education in environmental ethics and has been a huge contributor to the preservation of our wilderness environments. No matter how you may explore the outdoors it is likely you have heard a catch phrase that is a result of the Leave No Trace Principles: “Take only Pictures, Leave only Bubbles” and “Take only Pictures, Leave only Footprints” and “Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill only time.” These are all phrases that have a foundation in Leave No Trace ethics, and no matter what your outdoor experience if you have yet to take a Leave No Trace course there is no better time then the present.
The addition of my ability to train new Leave No Trace Instructors is just one of the many steps I am taking in preparation for the opening of United Excursions. United Excursions is making environmental conservation part of our business model and every new explorer we train will learn environmental conservation ethics starting on the first day of training.
Like many course for outdoor educators, the course will take place in a wilderness setting. There is simply no better place to learn and test your skills in the in environment you are teaching or learning about! The course will be conducted at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, right near the Appalachian Trail. The area is situated on a beautiful glacial lake in 70,000 acre’s of pristine wilderness. We will spend out days hiking over moderate terrain and enjoy nights under the stars. During our excursions we will spend time reviewing the ways of Leave No Trace and will each complete a teaching session in the field to our co-educators. I have been assigned one of my favorite LNT topics for my teaching sessions, Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces. One of the best parts of my teaching assignments is will be doing my session right near the beginning of the course, which means I get to have the stress of having to present off my shoulders early on in the course. Having the stress of presenting behind me I can enjoy the experience and focus on learning from others in the course.
Although the course may not actual start until the 9th, the preparation starts on Monday. As anyone familiar with Leave No Trace Principles knows the first principle is plan ahead and prepare! What kind of educator would I be if I ignored these principles during my Instructor Trainer course!
For those interested in following along with the Journey I will be posting my daily preparation leading up to the adventure as well as posts during the adventure itself. Clearly I will not have a laptop in my equipment during the course itself, so there will be some delay in postings during our time in backcountry. Want to get updates via email simply subscribe using the subscription box on the right side of the page.
For those of you know explore the wonders of nature, please take a comment and provide some commentary below on what your familiarity is with the Leave No Trace Principles and how you put them to use during your adventures in our natural playground!