Plan Ahead and Prepare

Note: Tell your group you are going to take an imaginary hiking trip and ask each person to pack a small backpack for your meeting. Don't tell the participants their imaginary destination or what to bring. Before your meeting, find pictures or posters depicting a local or regional environment (high alpine, desert, river). You will use these pictures to serve as your imaginary destination.

GRABBING YOUR GROUP'S ATTENTION
Break participants into small groups of three to five when they arrive. Build suspense by asking them to guess the destination of their imaginary trip.

THE ACTIVITY
Show the destination pictures and describe the location you have selected (weather, terrain, etc.). Explain the goal of the trip: wildlife viewing or fishing. Ask the groups to unpack their packs and discuss their answers to the following questions (the leader must read the back ground information in order to facilitate discussion).

Note: Because participants packed their packs without proper information, it is unlikely they will be adequately prepared for their destination. This activity demonstrates the importance of planning before packing.

  • Do the contents of your pack properly prepare you for this trip?
  • Do the contents of your pack ensure your safety?
  • Do the contents of your pack ensure you will Leave No Trace that you will not damage natural or cultural resources?
  • Do the contents of your pack ensure your trip will meet your goal for example, wildlife viewing or fish safely and enjoyably?

THE DISCUSSION
Facilitate a discussion with all participants about the results of the activity. Ask groups to briefly share their answers to the above questions and add:

  • How would the contents of your pack differ with different destinations?
  • What other information do you need to pack properly for a trip?
  • What is the value of knowing these pieces of information before packing?