Big Bend National Park, Texas: As Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers we are thankful for so many things. We wanted to use this Thanksgiving holiday to thank people and organizations that help support the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer program.
We appreciate the support form Subaru, The North Face, Deuter, REI, Yakima, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool. Their generous support and partnership helps us to provide free educational workshops all over the country. Our Subaru Outback is not only just a car, but also our home and office and we could not travel without it. Thanks to Smartwool for their sock donation that helps encourages people to sign up for memberships. Without the support of REI, we could not put on our PEAK presentation workshop at their locations all throughout the country. The North Face keeps us warm and dry with their great jackets, tents, and other outdoor gear. Hi-Cone is a role model for us to promote the responsible disposal of plastics. We couldn’t carry all the gear and educational supplies we need with out our Yakima products. Lastly, we couldn’t carry everything we need to into classrooms and the backcountry without our Deuter packs.
Thanks to the Leave No Trace Staff for their support on the road and for scheduling us in amazing places throughout the country!
Lastly, we want to thank all the event hosts and people that support us on the road. People’s generosity and kindness have made this experience as Traveling Trainers truly wonderful and we are grateful to so many people. Thanks for the lodging, camping, meals, and for letting us come to your programs and events to put on presentations that will help keep our outdoor areas free of impacts.
Thanks for reading and remember to be like the Center’s mascot Bigfoot and Leave No Trace. Happy Thanksgiving!
Pat and TJ - Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer West Central Team
Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima.
Kings Mountain, SC: The beautiful and secluded National Military Park offers visitors a chance to step back in time while enjoying a peaceful out-of-doors experience. Kings Mountain was the location of a critical battle between Patriot and British forces in 1780, which prevented British forces from advancing northward. Many agree that the battle fought here was the turning point of the Revolutionary War. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers spent three days with visitors and rangers in the effort to protect the trails and monuments of Kings Mountain National Military Park, a beloved heritage site.
A heritage site is a location, which is important to the history of a place or people. Protecting a heritage site is very important to preserve the story of our country’s past. The monuments and trails that have been erected here help to explain the story of the battle at Kings Mountain.
The park’s amphitheater was transformed into an outdoor classroom. Fun games, activities and hands on learning helped four local Girl Scout Troops learn the ways to protect the public lands where people explore, recreate, and learn. After learning great techniques to minimize impacts while outside the Girl Scouts went on a hike to a beautiful stream to try out some of the techniques they had picked up.
While visiting heritage sites we can all preserve the story of the past by practicing Leave No Trace. The Seven Principles outline many ways to minimize impacts. While visiting a heritage site it is especially important to Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces and to Leave What You Find.
Walking off-trail is forbidden in many heritage sites because foot traffic can alter and harm artifacts and structures. Sticking to the trail in these areas is best to prevent degradation to these valuable resources. Make sure to always check the rules and regulations for the area you are visiting to see if permits are required for backcountry travel. If you happen upon artifacts be sure to leave them undisturbed. Keeping artifacts in their original site and orientation are critical to the preservation of the history for the area.
Heritage sites are places for all of us to connect with our country’s past. Enjoy the great outdoors and Find Your Park!
Steph and Andy – Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team East
Leave No Trace’s Stephanie Whatton and Andy Mossey are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima.
Spring, TX: Without volunteers Leave No Trace couldn’t accomplish our mission to teach people to enjoy the outdoors responsibility. We are fortunate to have people all throughout the country putting on awareness workshops and trainer courses, promoting Leave No Trace to schools and scout troops, and land management personnel advocating for our message. As an organization we are fortunate to have the support of individuals all around the country that volunteer as State Advocates. State advocates put on a variety of trainings from: Awareness Workshops, Trainer Courses, Master Educator Courses, as well as representing the Center at various events. The Center relies on the State Advocates to stay in close touch with the Mater Educators and Trainers in their state to be both a representative and a volunteer coordinator.
Andre Houser of Texas is one of our many amazing advocate making Leave No Trace education possible in his state. He along with Bob Gates promotes Leave No Trace education throughout the huge state of Texas. Andre joined us at Kuehnle Elementary school this past week and helped facilitate an awareness workshop for over 650 kids. We were grateful to have such an experienced and knowledgeable educator supporting us and helping facilitate our awareness workshop. You can learn more about Andre in his bio below.
Andre Houser Bio:
HI! My name is Andre Houser, and I’m one of the two (count ‘em, two) Leave No Trace State Advocates in Texas. (Since everything is always bigger in Texas, we needed two advocates).
I grew up in Northwest Arkansas, where I learned to hunt, fish and roam the woods at an early age, and developed my love for things outdoors. I spent a few years in the Scouts, where I camped under what is now Beaver Lake, and spent summers at Camp Orr on the Buffalo National River.
I first learned of Leave No Trace in a Powder Horn course at Rancho El Cima in Texas. Charlie Thorpe was the Leave No Trace Consultant for that course. Shortly thereafter, I took a Trainer Course in Dallas’ Circle Ten Council, BSA. I wanted MORE, so I went to Philmont for my ME course, led by Dan Howells, Eric Hiser, Jim Karrol, and David Downing (Charlie Thorpe appeared somewhere in the middle). While there I was introduced to the magic of Brownies in an outback oven (Thanks Dan).
Since then I have served as co-Director of about 25 Leave No Trace Trainer courses, and have helped train about 250 Leave No Trace Trainers in Texas. I’m currently a member of the Sierra Club an am a certified Texas Master Naturalist.
My two sons are Eagle Scouts, and my daughter is a Girl Scout Silver. We love to camp, where I do most of the cooking in dutch ovens, my other passion (yes, I belong to LSDOS and IDOS), and meet regularly with a group of dutch oven folks for food, fun, and fellowship.
As one of your two State Advocates, I hope to keep up the good work of our predecessor and expand the program into the Texas Master Naturalist program and into the dutch oven cooking community. Since I am a municipal employee, I also hope to reach out to the parks and recreation departments in Texas, and help them realize the value of the Leave No Trace principles.
If you live in Texas and want to learn more about Leave No Trace or need help with any educational efforts contact Andre and Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading and remember to be like the Center’s mascot Bigfoot and Leave No Trace.
Pat and TJ
Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Hi-Cone, REI, and Smartwool.
Tucson, AZ: It is estimated that 70-80 million dogs are owned in the United States, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. If we consider that, by the end of 2014 there were 317 million people living in the United States (US Census) that equates to nearly 1 dog for every 4 people. Let’s imagine the average dog poops once a day. Now envision that, each dog owner walks their pup in a public park once a week, during which time the dog relieves itself. That would leave our public lands with four billion one hundred and sixty million piles of dog poop annually. That’s a lot of poop!
Specific issues related to improper disposal of dog waste:
Issue 1: Dog poop is a breeder of disease and germs, such as E. coli, Giardia, Salmonella, roundworms, hookworms, and Cryptosporidium. These are zoonotic diseases, which means they can be passed from animals to humans in areas contaminated with infectious feces of dogs, including playgrounds and sand boxes. Several of these become more infectious as the poop ages, as determined in the report, "The Link Between Animal Feces and Zoonotic Disease" by Emily Beeler. For example, roundworm eggs can take up to 3 weeks to ripen and may remain infectious for years in polluted water and soil. According to the Center for Disease Control, “About 14 percent of the US population is infected with Toxocara, or internal roundworms, contracted from dogs and cats.”
Issue 2: Dog waste can contaminate nearby streams and lakes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the two main pollutants found in dog waste that damage water quality are nutrients and pathogens. When storm water washes dog poop into water sources, it breaks down and releases nutrients that can lead to excessive growth of weeds and algae, which can kill marine life. Additionally, this can make the water unsuitable for swimming, fishing or boating. The second main pollutant, pathogens, like the diseases discussed above, can cause local bodies of water to become too dangerous to swim or fish in, as well as drink. Water pollution is such a concern in the Seattle area, that the local organization Puget Sound Starts Here has teamed up with performer Martin Luther to produce this catchy video about "bagging up dog doogity."
Issue 3: Decomposition. Surely dog waste decomposes…doesn’t it? The short answer is yes, it does. The long answer might surprise you. In most cases our four legged friends are not eating a natural raw diet. Furthermore, dog food can often contain preservatives. What this means is that it can take up to or longer than one year to break down (depending upon the environment). The non-natural diet of most dogs also explains why it is important to pick up after our pups, but not after other wild animals. Simply put, wild animals are eating wild foods that are native to the area, contributing to the health of the ecosystem and decomposing much quick than the waste of dogs.
Issue 4: Dog poop can create high levels of nitrogen in the soil, killing off native plants that often yield to tougher invasive weeds. Yes, this also means it can kill your beautiful grass. Additionally, nitrogen is released slowly from the poop, so the longer it stays put, the more likely it is to damage your lawn.
Issue 5: Dog waste is gross! Excessive dog poop smells bad and has visual and social impacts for other visitors.
Issue 6: The biodegradable bags used to collect dog poop don’t always make it to the garbage bin. Based on empirical evidence, we have concluded three reasons why this might happen -
Reason 1 – Imagine you set out for a walk with your dog. 30 seconds in they get antsy and deposit a hot steaming pile of poop right on the trail. It’s got your name written all over it. So you bag it up and leave it there with the intention to pick it up on your way out. You get distracted talking with the neighbors, or maybe you start thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner and on your way back you walk right past the camouflage green bag of poop. Oops.
Reason 2 – You love dogs, but not dog poop. Plus, you conveniently forgot to bring something to pick it up with. So you decide to leave it there.
Reason 3 – You recently watched a special on the morning news talking about the benefits of biodegradable pet waste bags. You glance down at the label on the bags attached to your dog’s leash, in bold it says "biodegradable." You figure it’s probably OK to leave the poop right where you bagged it up, so you do.
These forgetful, malicious or uninformed acts make matters worse. The bags act as protection for the poop from the elements, similar to the protection a rain jackets offers, making the waste take longer to break down.
Issue 7: Cumulative impact – the more waste that is disposed of improperly, the worse the first 6 issues become.
The bottom line is that, there are a lot of dogs out there, they all poop, some of which is deposited on public lands. As dog owners it is important to recognize that there is no poop fairy. Our beloved pets need your help in order to practice Leave No Trace. Doing your part is really quite simple - use a plastic bag to pack out your pet's waste to a garbage can. Thanks for joining the movement and being responsible with your dog's poop!
Helping keep our wilderness wild,
Jenna and Sam - Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team West
Leave No Trace’s Jenna Hanger and Sam Ovett are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima.