News & Updates

Celebrating Leave No Trace Heroes in 2018

Ailsa Walsh - December 13, 2018

As the year winds down, we must say a huge thanks to all of you: our members, supporters, partners and followers who ensure that Leave No Trace is able to grow and thrive. In particular, we have two special awards and thanks to give to our Champion of the Year, and Inspiration of the Year. 

Every once in a while, an organization like Leave No Trace is lucky enough to intersect with a person with an uncanny amount of passion and energy to truly move the needle. Leave No Trace is incredibly lucky to have such people in our midst and our national 2018 Champion of the Year is Rob Stephens. 

Rob initiated the first ever Leave No Trace educational campaign for the Arkansas River Trail in 2011, bringing Leave No Trace to the hundreds of thousands who enjoy the trail. He has served as the volunteer Leave No Trace Arkansas State Advocate since 2013, and has coordinated and provided Leave No Trace outreach, education and training across the state. Rob has elevated partnerships between the Leave No Trace Center and such organizations as the Arkansas Climbers Coalition, the Boy Scouts of America's Quapaw Area Council, the City of Little Rock, the City of North Little Rock and many others. 

He has worked with the Leave No Trace Center to advise about and develop a chapter pilot, and navigated the Arkansas Leave No Trace volunteers into a chapter. Rob also agreed to increase his level of service to the Leave No Trace program and has served on the Board of Directors since 2015. He has personally invested in Leave No Trace and he and his wife Phoebe have been a major donor and Leadership Circle member for years. He's even signed his sons on as donors! Rob embodies the epitome of Leave No Trace. He lives and breathes it and for this, we all benefit. We can't thank Rob enough for his dedication to the mission.

Secondly, our partner Upslope Brewing Company were awarded the Inspiration of the Year award for their incredible work in sustainability and incorporating Leave No Trace into their events. Matt, Dany and Henry, the founders of Upslope, have built the company thoughtfully with a strong foundation in environmental stewardship and community involvement. 

Both of Upslope's breweries have a very high waste diversion rate, with recycling and composting capabilities as well as the ability to divert some hard-to-recycle items, like scrap metal and stretch wrap. Over 70% of waste is diverted at each of their breweries. For the past few years, all of their major events have been Zero Waste, with an average of 95% diversion. 

For the past two years, Leave No Trace has partnered with Upslope on the Backcountry Taproom event, ensuring adequate signage and volunteers as well as consulting on the potential environmental impacts of different sites. This has been a fantastic way to involve Upslope's community in Leave No Trace at a fun event and has raised significant funds for the organization. A huge thanks to Upslope for their important work!


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