We made a stop at the REI Store in Nashville for a Wednesday evening workshop on teaching with the PEAK Pack. The turnout was pretty eclectic, and included a Boy Scout who is his troop’s new Leave No Trace leader, YMCA youth activity coordinators, an education specialist from Tennessee State Parks, a board member from the historic Traveller’s Rest Plantation, and REI employees seeking to sharpen their skills with the PEAK Pack. We find that a regimen of Step On It, How Long Does It Last, and Minimum Impact Match usually encourages active, uninhibited audience participation, and this group was definitely no exception.
We had great questions about approaches to teaching Leave No Trace and the choices that we face as we enjoy our outdoor experiences. These are the kind of questions that, hopefully, help us think about our personal practice of Leave No Trace ethics. The choices aren't black-and-white, and they're not always obvious or easy. Developing a sense of outdoor ethics means that we have to exercise-our-uniquely-human-capacity-for-reflective-thought. Whereas other creatures may live and die according to purely instinctive behaviors in response to environment and circumstance, we humans have the ability to make conscious choices about our actions... for better or for worse.
We ended the workshop with each participant using our U.S. map to locate a great park or wild place that they had visited and then to identify an equally compelling wild place that they would like to go. It’s fascinating when folks thoughtfully reflect on the memorable experiences they’ve had on our public lands, and to hear about the allure that beautiful and compelling places hold. We're hoping that those places continue to offer the same allure for our children and grandchildren. Perhaps they will, but only if we manage to make the right choices...
Thanks go to Chuck Robinson, Outreach Specialist at the Brentwood REI Store, for coordinating our visit.
Hoping, just hoping…
Peggy and Barrett
2010 Leave No Trace e-Tour