Saturday, August 28, 2010

Casting for Bigfoot at Bass Pro

We made an extended visit to the Bass Pro Store in Auburn, New York this past week and got a warm reception from both the staff and store patrons. On Wednesday evening, we conducted a seminar for area Boy Scout leaders. We engaged them in samplings of PEAK Pack activities and told them about the mother lode of teaching and activity resources on the Leave No Trace Web site. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we conducted outreach with shoppers in the store from 9:00am to 5:00pm. We were especially looking for a way to appeal to the young folks, and Peggy’s recently acquired infatuation with Cornhole (really, that’s what it’s called…) led to the "Bag'N Bigfoot" adaptation of the increasingly popular campground game. It was a great hit, so to speak. We had lots of eager participants testing their bean bag casting skill and/or luck for the chance to win Leave No Trace stickers, Clif bars, and such. Of course, everyone was a winner, and for some it just took a few more throws from a gradually diminishing distance. More than a few parents also succumbed to their competitive inclinations, and we expect that casting for Bigfoot (aka "Bag'N Bigfoot") will be a regular fixture at similar outreach events in the future.

From BassPro Auburn NY

The other poplar activity for the kids was the Leave No Trace bead bracelet craft that we had beta tested at Jellystone Maryland. Again, the craft activity engaged the interest and creative impulses of the kids while we took the opportunity to talk with parents about Leave No Trace and the Bigfoot Challenge.

From BassPro Auburn NY

On Saturday it was if we were tailgating for Bigfoot. Our setup was well-positioned at the store exit next to (downwind of) the outdoor barbecue and across from the Girl Scout bake sale, and it seemed to be a natural place where folks took pause, ate their grilled dogs or cupcakes, and waited with shopping cart-loads of purchases in anticipation of a curbside pickup while companions went off to fetch vehicles from the parking lot. We handed out several hundred LNT reference cards, and found that most of the Bass Pro patrons we approached were pleased to receive the outdoor ethics tags for hunting or fishing and to have an opportunity to voice their opinions about responsible outdoor ethics.


We returned to Bass Pro on Sunday in a blustery rain, and moved our operation indoors near the store entry. Our interactions throughout the day were primarily with an adult audience, and we were able to show the National Park Service Leave No Trace DVD on a virtually continuous loop.

From BassPro Auburn NY

Barb Phillips of Bass Pro was terrific, not only in accommodating our outreach efforts at the store, but also in allowing us to descend on her family and setup our Coleman trailer in the backyard of her well-loved country home (…we really are talking more “south forty...” the backyard was expansive as it unrolled down past the soybeans to the banks of Nine Mile Creek, a locally renowned trout stream). Memorable food, conversation, camaraderie, and sunsets characterized our time with the Phillips family.

Hope to see you down the road,

Peggy and Barrett
e-Tour 2010

e-word: expansive

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