Regarding the soon to be required Master Educator Online Refresher Course. Per the Center's National Training Guidelines, none of the levels of Leave No Trace training currently (Master Educator, Trainer or Awareness) offer certification. From the Training Guidelines:
"Leave No Trace courses do not teach basic travel, camping or other outdoor skills, nor do they provide outdoor instructor certification."
While there are some benefits to not having to go through some sort of "recertification" program, there are also some drawbacks. Perhaps the single biggest drawback is that Master Educators are often uninformed about current Leave No Trace programmatic elements, changes to the training structure, and lastly, have a lack of understanding of the administrative procedures that pertain to Trainer Courses.
Though some Master Educators and Trainers take the initiative to stay abreast of programmatic changes, many remain uninformed. The Center has employed a variety of outreach strategies to keep Leave No Trace educators up-to-date on changes, additions, etc. but has struggled for consistency. The Center has routinely found over the past decade that though the broader Leave No Trace program is generally consistent, there are sometimes changes from one year to the next. Such changes definitely affect the training structure, and include (but aren't limited to):
• New techniques
• New science/research results
• Revised administrative procedures
• Changes in course reporting
• Development of additional resources for instructors and students
• New Leave No Trace curriculum
• Enhanced or new grant opportunities
Through a comprehensive and multi-year scoping process, the Center determined that the primary focus should be ensuring that Master Educators are as current in their knowledge as possible since they're on the front lines running Trainer Courses and to a lesser extent Awareness Workshops. Furthermore, a Master Educator refresher course was resoundingly recommended as the best mechanism for keeping Master Educators up to speed. As such, the Center released the course in early 2014 and has had many Master Educators take the refresher thus far. Generally, the FREE online course takes 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. To put this time commitment into perspective, the recertification for a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) takes 3 days and costs between $250-$360 per person.
The Master Educator Refresher will be required starting in January 1, 2015 for any Master Educator (regardless of whether they are the lead instructor or the co-instructor for Trainer Courses) who intends to offer Leave No Trace Trainer Courses. If a Master Educator only offers Awareness Workshops or other Leave No Trace training or outreach that does not involve the 16-hour Trainer Course, then the refresher is not required at any time though it will be strongly recommended for all Master Educators. Master Educators who complete the online refresher will be updated in our system with their refresher date. Additionally, all submitted Trainer Course rosters will be crosschecked to ensure that the Master Educators (both the lead instructor and the co-instructor) who facilitated the course are current in our system. If they are not, the Trainer Course participants will not, unfortunately, receive certificates from us.
The refresher will be required once every two years only for Master Educators offering Trainer Courses, and the following stipulations apply:
· All Master Educators who took their Master Educator Course prior to January 1, 2013, and wish to offer Leave No Trace Trainer Courses are required to take the online refresher before offering any Trainer Courses in 2015.
· All Master Educators who took their Master Educator Course after January 1, 2013, and wish to offer Leave No Trace Trainer Courses are required to take the online refresher within two years of the date they completed their original Master Educator Course.
The Center's overarching goal is to have well-informed and knowledgeable Master Educators facilitating Leave No Trace Trainer Courses. Based on the high number of inquiries received on a daily basis from Master Educators seeking information on running Trainer Courses, the Center feels that the refresher will help keep those Master Educators informed, knowledgeable and connected to both the Center and broader Leave No Trace efforts. This is in no way intended to be a burden; rather it is a tremendous continuing education opportunity to ensure the highest quality Master Educators possible.
To take the refresher, please visit: https://lnt.org/blog/online-refresher-master-educators