Monday, July 28, 2008

Family fun in Texas

Have you ever wanted to get your family out camping under the stars but are not sure how?  The Texas State Parks system has the answer for you...become a Texas Outdoor Family!  Over the next couple of months, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TPWD, will be hosting family campouts across the state.  This is a wonderful opportunity to get your family outdoors and learn how to camp, kayak, geocash, and much more.  The best part is there is no experience necessary.  To find out more information about the locations, visit Texas Outdoor Family 
Over this past weekend we were a part of the pilot program for Texas Outdoor Family.  There were over 50 participants with varied previous camping experience.  The park provided all the necessary gear, which was all Coleman Outdoor products, for every family.  They also led demonstrations on minimal impact set up and break down of camp, disposal of grey water and trash, and safe campfire techniques.  Participants were eager to ask us questions about ways they can leave no trace and enjoy the outdoors responsibly.  Happy camping to all the families that will take part in this fabulous event!
Safe travels...
Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Texas State Parks Trainer Course

On Wednesday and Thursday we had the pleasure of hosting a trainer course with the staff of various state parks and historical sites in Texas.  The course was held at Buescher State Park, just east of Austin.  The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and Texas State Parks have partnered up just as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TPWD,  is set to launch its first series of Texas Outdoor Family Campouts.  The campouts are designed to teach families the Leave No Trace skills and ethics while learning outdoor skills of camping, such as tent set-up, outdoor cooking, gps use, and family activities.  
The trainer course provided the staff with the necessary tools to develop Leave No Trace practices in their parks.  We were excited to have Dave Winter, the Outreach Manager for Leave No Trace, join us on the course.  His knowledge and expertise provided valuable information to the participants.  A special thanks goes out to Chris Holmes, TPWD Outdoor Programs Coordinator, for embracing Leave No Trace and working towards instilling the program in the Texas State Parks.  Thanks for all your hard work!
Safe Travels...
Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Relay Madness at Black Bear Lake

We spent the day at Black Bear Lake Day Camp in Clarksburg, NJ.  This is an exciting way for kids to spend the lazy days of summer.  Activities include swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, sports, laser tag, and of course, camping and outdoor skills.  We had the opportunity to work with 8 groups of campers ranging in age from 6-12. The Leave No Trace Relay Race was a huge hit.  The campers really enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning the principles of Leave No Trace.  When we asked each group what they learned during the activity, the most common response was "the rule of thumb".  Respecting wildlife is an important part of experiencing the outdoors, after all, we are visiting their home.  Using the 'rule of thumb' is simple- start by extending your arm directly in front of you and give the animal a thumbs up.  Then close one eye and try to cover the animal with your thumb.  If you can completely cover the animal, then you are a safe distance away from the animal.  By using the rule of thumb, you will ensure safety for both you and the wildlife.  Remember to never feed, follow, or chase wildlife!
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour-Danvers, MA

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour in Danvers, MA marked the final days for the e-tour team in New England.  The weather was perfect for any outdoor adventure all weekend long.  We were thrilled to have Dan LeRose, the National Account Manager for Coleman Outdoor Products, join us at the event.  Dan provided a wealth of knowledge on all things Coleman and demonstrated the high-speed grilling capabilities of the Coleman Road Trip grill.  He is a master on the grill!  

The people of Danvers were excited to learn about Leave No Trace skills and ethics.  We had the opportunity to chat with a lot of folks, including boy and girl scouts and an Eagle Scout who was a master when it came to "Bear Canister Trivia".  The kids loved the Leave No Trace Scavenger hunt, as the adults enjoyed a fun game of "How Long Does It Last".  We had lengthy discussions on the importance of disposing of waste properly and recycling.  Do your part to keep our lands beautiful by learning and following the seven principles of Leave No Trace.  

Good Bye New England!  Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour-Springfield, MA

We had a great 4th of July weekend at the Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour in Springfield, MA.  People were excited to be picking up their gear to kick off a summer of fun!  We encountered many outdoor enthusiasts, especially one family that hung out with us at our booth and played a variety of Leave No Trace games and activities.  The family had never heard of Leave No Trace but they immediately understood why Leave No Trace is important and how it can be easily applied to their outdoor adventures.  The family enjoyed to event so much that they came back on Sunday to do it all again.  Come check us out next weekend in Danvers, MA for our final meeting with the Dick's Outdoor Adventure Tour.
Safe Travels...
~Tracy and Kate, e-tour 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Connecticut Cabela's

Over the weekend we were fortunate to host two very successful awareness workshops at the Cabela's in East Hartford.  The participants ranged from a family of campers that felt they practiced the concept of Leave No Trace, although they were never formally introduced to the Leave No Trace skills and ethics, to a crew of boy scouts that always work hard to leave no trace.  During the workshops we reviewed the seven principles of Leave No Trace and then played a variety of games and activities that everyone seemed to enjoy.  Many of the folks were interested in the results of the game "How Long Does It Last?"  In this game, the participants must determine how long the item they have been given takes to biodegrade by silently  arranging themselves in order from quickest amount of time to longest.  When asked which item was most surprising, one child commented that he was surprised that cigarette butts take 2-5 years.  It is all too common to see cigarette butts on the ground.  This reinforces why it is so very important to "Trash Your Trash," rather than just throwing it on the ground.
Safe Travels...Tracy and Kate, etour 2008