Saturday, May 30, 2009

Camp Lakamaga

Nothing feels like summer more than "Summer Camp". We visited Camp Lakamaga Girl Scout camp in Scandia, Minnesota for some awareness workshops. We worked with 84 girl scouts from kindergarten thru 5th grade. The girls were introduced to all 7 principles of Leave No Trace, while playing fun and interactive PEAK  games.  Some of the principles we discussed were Trash your Trash, Choose the Right Path, and Leave What you Find.  The scouts were eager to learn, and plan on using the skills and ethics this summer and for future camp settings! Thanks to Carrie our Wisconsin State Advocate for having us at her camp, and promoting Leave No Trace! 

Happy Trails, 

Alexis & Topher 

Crosby Outreach

While in Minnesota we conducted outreach outside a local outfitter shop "Cycle, Path, & Paddle" in the town of Crosby, Minnesota. Crosby is mostly known for its mining days, but what people may not know is that it has endless recreational adventures and scenic vistas amongst the many lakes and of course the Mississippi. We worked with Rita Hussman & the Cyuna SALT youth group, doing outreach and giving educational information materials to locals of Crosby before music in the park.  The SALT group provides environmental stewardship to the community, and role models Leave No Trace skills and ethics throughout the community. 

A big thank you goes out to Rita for her hospitality and having us in Crosby, and Jenny for having us out in front of her store! Have a wonderful summer, and keep up the good work! 

Happy Trails, 

Alexis & Topher 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Mighty Mississippi

Did you know there was a National Park, right in Downtown St. Paul, Minnesota? Well there is... The Mississippi River National Park Visitor Center is located right along the river in the Science Museum.  The Mississippi River is a 2,552 miles long. The head waters of the Mississippi start at Itasca State Park and go all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.  A couple of days ago we worked with the wonderful Rangers at the NPS Mississippi River Visitor Center doing interactive Leave No Trace games with museum goers. Just today we were in Itasca, MN at the Head Waters and crossed the Mighty Mississippi!  The Mississippi is a pretty amazing river, and if you are ever in Minnesota you should check out the NPS visitor center, or head up to the head waters to see where it all starts, who knows you might even see Paul Bunyon and Babe his Blue Ox in a nearby town. 

A big thanks to Dan, Amy, and Rebecca for having us at the Mississippi River Visitor Center, keep up the good work! 

Happy Trails......Alexis & Topher 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lake Bemidji State Park

Today we worked with 13 high school students at Lake Bemidji State Park, in Minnesota. We ran an awareness workshop covering all seven principles of Leave No Trace, while introducing the students to minimum impact recreation skills and techniques. Most of the students are avid paddlers and fishing gurus, who have had lots of experience in the lakes of Minnesota. Although the weather was rainy and a little chilly, it was a productive and fun day inside the visitor center of Lake Bemidji.  Our program host John Flypaa the Interpretive Naturalist at the State Park, had done a Trainer Course last fall, and has been excited to get a Leave No Trace Traveling Team to Minnesota to conduct some outreach. The students we worked with are involved in Outdoor groups, and will be using the Leave No Trace skills and Ethics on future school programs and this summer. We want to say thanks to all the park staff and John for having us in Bemidji! We are excited to explore some trails tomorrow and see the Head Waters of the Mississippi River! 

Happy Trails, 

Alexis & Topher

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bay Lakes Wisconsin Awareness

This Memorial weekend I partnered with local Boy Scouts of America Master Educators Norm Peterson and Greg Fox for four awareness workshops with local cub scouts at the Cabelas in Richfield, WI. We did outreach to 75 scouts and introduced them to the concepts and ideas of Leave No Trace. These Cub Scout groups are apart of the Bay Lakes Council, and after school gets out they will be gearing up for summer camp at the scout reservation. The cub scouts were introduced to two principles "Choose the Right Path", and "Trash your Trash". We played a couple of PEAK activities, Step on It & How Long Does it Last? Norm & Greg from the BSA also ran a trail simulation activity, getting the scouts to think about the impacts we have on and off the trail. In the camping department we had a booth set up, with lots of educational materials, for store goers, and had our Wisconsin State Advocate Carrie Wilson volunteer at the booth. She  talked with Cabelas  customers about the organization and gave out educational materials. 

Thanks to all the volunteers and Stephanie Crangle at  Cabelas in Richfield, WI for having the Leave No Trace E-Tour, and helping me do outreach this weekend. Happy Trails..... Alexis  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Devils Lake State Park, WI

After a string of programs in the Chicago Area, we headed north for a couple of days off in Wisconsin. We camped and climbed at Devils Lake State Park in Baraboo, WI. This State Park is pretty amazing. There are lots of Sandstone cliffs, a beautiful lake, miles of hike-able trail, and of course lots of great camp spots. Many Rangers said, we hit the park at the right time, because once the weekend comes people from Illinois and Wisconsin flood the park for all sorts of recreation. Since there are so many visitors to the Park Leave No Trace is very important, we had a local Raccoon visit us several times at the crag, who was not shy and used to getting food from visitors. We were probably the exception of climbers he had met in the park, since he didn't get any snacks from us! Sorry buddy! 

After two days of exploring the East Bluff, the West Bluff, Balanced Rock, and Cleopatras Needle, its hard to say which spot was our favorite especially since there is so much more to explore. Last year we had the great fortune of Working with the Ice Age Trails Association (a partner of Leave No Trace), and hiked some of it last year, and some of it this year since the trail goes through the park. If you are passing through the area you should check out the park, because there is something for everyone. We hope to be back in the area, and hope our Friend Benny from Chicago had a good time getting out of the city and hitting the Rocks to climb! 

Happy Trails, Alexis & Topher 

Rockin' PEAK in Rockford, Illinois

On Tuesday we worked with Five Environmental Science and Biology Classes at Rockford East High School, in Rockford, Illinois. Mr. Dustin Long the teacher of theses five classes, was awarded the Leave No Trace Connect Grant last year. He has been applying Leave No Trace educational materials and the PEAK pack to his Key club at the school. The key club is a group of students who participate in service learning projects, and provide enviornmental stewardship to the campus community. 

While we were on campus we enlightened around 100 students to the mission of Leave No Trace, the importance of Stewardship, and how to start giving back to their community and practicing Leave No Trace. We introduced the students to the Seven principles of Leave No Trace, and ran a couple of games. The activities we ran illustrated How long our trash lasts in our environment,  and how individuals can be the solution to trash around campus. We also discussed what ethics means, and played the Wildland Ethics game. 

Thanks East Rockford High and Mr. Long! We had a great time while in the area, keep up the good work, and LEAVE NO TRACE. 

Happy Trails, 

Alexis & Topher 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Outreach at LL Bean in Skokie, IL

It is always great to work with our partners LL Bean.  Bean is dedicated to outfitting and educating folks on responsible recreation.  We found ourselves conducting outreach to patrons of the Skokie, IL store, and reminded them of Bean's commitment to Leave No Trace by providing all of their outdoor discovery school participants with a Leave No Trace hang tag related to the activity their are participating in.  

Special thanks goes out to the staff of LL Bean for their continued commitment to Leave No Trace's mission.

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis

Camping Day at Cabela's

Our first stop in the greater Chicago Area was at the Cabela's in Hoffman Estates.  It was camping day at the store and shoppers were greeted with a variety of booths related to camping and the local community.  The event helped educate campers and recreationist on how to get out and camp, as well as how to do it responsibly.

We helped educate many of the customers on how Leave No Trace applies to hunting and fishing.  Practicing Leave No Trace while doing these events will help ensure these resource are preserved for all to enjoy.

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Paddling the Current

What visit to Missouri would be complete without a river trip.  Last year we were fortunate enough to paddle down the Jacks Fork river in the Ozark Scenic Waterway. Drawn by its beauty we made it a point to return to the area to canoe the Current river. 

As we arrived in the area we were taken back by the storm damage from a tornado just a week earlier. The tornado left trees broken and uprooted, knocked over telephone and power lines, and reeked havoc with homes.  Despite all the damage, once we put in on the river the beauty of the Ozark Scenic Waterway engulfed us.  

One of the first things that becomes apparent is the vast array of wildlife present in and around the river.  The river is teeming with crawfish, fish, and bugs, while turtles, snakes, and water fowl call the banks of the river home sweet home.  This certainly wasn't our first time to the area, but we hope it won't be our last.  

If your ever in southern Missouri, make the Ozark Scenic Waterway part of your plans.  Its a beautiful location and Leave No Trace will help us keep it this way.

Happy Trails, 

Topher and Alexis

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Olathe Kansas Outreach

We spent Mothers Day in Olathe, Kansas at the Bass Pro Shop, talking with local hikers, hunters, fishermen, and a variety of family campers. Although it was a rainy day in Olathe, there were lots of shoppers and lots of children and parents who stopped by the E-tour booth. We handed out educational materials and played some games with the children and adults who stopped by our booth, and of course gave out some cool COLEMAN prizes to all those who participated.

We wanted to Say Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there, and ours of course! Thank you to the Bass Pro Shop in Olathe for having us too!

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher

Preparing for BSA High Adventure Programs

We met up with a local Boy Scout Troop in Independence, Missouri at the Bass Pro Shop for an Awareness Workshop. The troop is gearing up for some High Adventure programs in the Keys of Florida, and our awareness workshop touched on the skills and ethics of Leave No Trace that pertain to Sea Kayaking and Costal environments. Some of the scouts will be scuba diving, sea kayaking, and island camping. We went over the impacts that affect island communities, and the impacts one can have on the land and in the water. Thanks Gary for setting up the workshop, and best of luck to all the scouts and their High Adventure programs!

Happy Trails,

Alexis & Topher

Kansas School Days.....

After only two days in the office in boulder gearing up for our season on the road, we landed in Kansas to do some education and outreach at a couple of schools. We provided educational programs to Jefferson West Elementary & Intermediate school working with 420 K-5th grade students. Our Kansas State Advocate Karen Heady is a 3rd grade teacher at Jefferson West, and our outreach to the studenst would not have been possible with out her. We introduced the students to the 7 principles of Leave No Trace, Played some interactive games, and handed out educational materials.

We also had the pleasure of joining all the students at Field Day too! Students had classs competitions, group tug of war, and also had the chance to stop by the Leave No Trace Station and Play a few games with us, Durable Surface Toss & Minimum Impact Match.

Thank you so much to Karen Heady and the whole school for making the first programs of our season such a hit, and making us feel right at home in beautiful Meriden, Kansas.

Happy Trails,
Alexis & Topher