News & Updates

Community Partner Spotlight: 11th Essential

Faith Overall - April 28, 2021

This Earth Month Leave No Trace partners, members, educators and enthusiasts  have worked hard to #LeaveNoTrash, picking up pounds of trash from lands and waters across the US and across the world.

However, it’s one Leave No Trace Community Partner, the 11th Essential’s, mission to protect our natural places by encouraging people to pick up trash on any and every adventure, all year long. A play off the 10 essentials, the 11th Essential encourages adding a trash bag to your list must haves for your outdoor excursions. No extra planning needed the simple act of adding an extra bag allows all adventurers to be prepared to leave it better than they found it every time they hit the trail, crag or water!

The 11th Essential came to life for founder, Britany Greenwalt, while on the trail in 2018.  Britany would take her nieces and nephews hiking, hoping to pass on the love for the outdoors that was engrained in her by her grandfather. On these hikes she would teach them about Leave No Trace practices and the importance of bringing the 10 essentials. After cleaning up more trash on the trail than their packs could hold, they joked that the 11th Essential should be a trash bag, that’s when the light bulb turned on.

Since starting the 11th Essential in 2018, the group has inspired people of all ages to be good stewards of the outdoors. Check out the interview below to learn more about the work 11th Essential is doing to accomplish it’s mission and how their partnership with Leave No Trace has helped support their efforts.

Who does your organization serve and where?

We serve youth organizations and park systems by offering a Leave No Trace principles-based program called Bigfoot’s Buddies. We hope to extend this programming into all 3rd or 4th grade classrooms by 2023! We also work with local park systems to hold educational workshops or provide resource materials. Additionally, we work with other outdoor organizations by supplying Leave No Trace resources and reference materials for their events. Though we have people supporting the 11th Essential across the nation, most of our youth programming is done in Ohio.

Why did you organization join as a Community Partner?

We joined as a Leave No Trace Community Partner because we value Leave No Trace and the Center’s mission. Our mission is closely aligned with that of the Center and Leave No Trace practices. We know that through education, we can help bridge the gaps to the outdoors.

How is the 11th Essential incorporating Leave No Trace into your work?

Our Bigfoot’s Buddies programming is primarily centered around Leave No Trace principles. Specifically, we use a lot of the activities from the Bigfoot’s Playbook. We promote Leave No Trace at our own events by teaching mini courses or handing out information. We also help supply other organizations with Leave No Trace reference cards and other materials for their cleanups or meetings.

What do you value most about your partnership with the Center?

We value the support given to Partners and the amazing resources and teaching tools the provide that help us reach our goals of spreading awareness of outdoor stewardship practices.

To learn more about the 11th Essential and the great work they are doing to promote Leave No Trace practices and outdoor stewardship visit:

Learn more about how your organization can join as a Leave No Trace Community Partner here.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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