Educate, Connect and Protect

Lakewood, Colorado.

During their Colorado Tour, Traveling Trainers Dani and Roland spent an afternoon at Warren Tech - a career and technical high school for Jefferson County public schools. At Warren Tech students can learn a multitude of trades while they complete their general schooling. Dani and Roland were fortunate to meet and work with the students in the Outdoor Leadership Program. Two years ago Instructor and Leave No Trace Master Educator, Amber Deboer, started the Outdoor Leadership Program to introduce students to strategies for outdoor leadership including effective planning, decision-making, conflict resolution, team-work, communication, and the technical skills needed for safely participating in a variety of outdoor trips. Our mission at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is to educate, connect, and protect. We strive to educate people about minimum impact skills, connect people to their natural environments, and protect ecosystems by creating lifelong stewards of the outdoors. This is exactly what the Outdoor Leadership Program at Warren Tech is accomplishing. Students in this program are taking a stand for the wild places they love and learning how to effectively promote environmental awareness in the outdoors. 

Between 1965 and 1980, backcountry visits jumped from 4 million visitor days per year to 10 million per year. In 1984 the number grew to 15 million visitor days. That is a growth rate of 275 percent in less than 20 years. The number of backcountry and frontcountry visitors are growing at a fast pace. As cities grow closer to wild areas and populations increases, we must do more than just pick up litter and extinguish campfires; we must learn how to maintain the integrity and character of the outdoors for all living things. However, Leave No Trace is not simply a program for visiting the backcountry, it is a way of life, and learning Leave No Trace concepts begins at home and at school. 

Education is key to the success of the Leave No Trace philosophy. The knowledge and concepts behind Leave No Trace enable each of us to teach people the value of reviving natural areas and methods to preserve them for future generations. 

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Thanks again to the students at Warren Tech for taking positive steps to becoming the next generation of stewards and educators. 

Ninjas for Nature - Dani and Roland