Leave No Trace: Children are Our Future

Kylie Fly / 1-17-2020

I remember as a little girl my mother had taught me to pick up trash on our hikes. We would travel deep into the woods in our home state of Idaho. Packed in the Suburban like a can of sardines, my family of eight made its way from adventure to adventure always exploring the outdoors with a mutual respect and love for the land we walked on. We packed out our trash and picked up what we saw out there. My parents taught me how to set up a functioning campsite, where to go to the bathroom in nature properly, and how to build a safe campfire. They taught us the 7 principles of Leave No Trace without even thinking about it. It came naturally, and in turn we learned these skills as kids and carried it on throughout our adult years as our ventures into the wild only increased in complexity and occurrence. It was in my formative years in beautiful natural places I learned to appreciate nature and the positive force it can be in our lives, so long as we take care of it.

This is why I thought it would be so important and impactful to host a field trip where I invited my friends and their kids to join me for a workshop on how to love nature and take care of the places we play! Children are the future generation and they’re here now, ready and eager to learn, and when we teach them young how to be a steward of the land they’re much more likely to prevent further damage and create healthier habits with our relationship to the earth and the land we walk on. The following 7 principles were taught with hand gestures and an open discussion with the kids:

1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

For a deeper undertstanding of each principle click the associated link.

I set up a live campsite that included a game to guess what was wrong with “Camp OH NO!” The kids were asked to identify all the mistakes in the camp based on what we had learned about that day. The visual and interactive display of what we had learned was helpful for kids to see and point out what was missing or what was wrong with camp (i.e. hey! The tent is on wildflowers and someone pooped right next to the fire!) The weather was chilly so we warmed up to hot cocoa and snacks and stayed cozy and warm in our BUFF beanies and gear. The kids loved the smaller sizes and designs!

To learn more about Leave No Trace visit www.lnt.org 

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