News & Updates

Leave No Trace Take’s on Tulsa Spotlight Event

Becca and Luke - November 30, 2023

Our 2023 tour as a Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team ended on an inspiring high note at the recent Leave No Trace Spotlight at Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two of us used to live in the area, so on a personal level, we were looking forward to the event as a sort of homecoming, a chance to revisit old haunts and catch up with friends. Our time at Oxley Nature Center turned out to be so much more.

On our first morning at the nature center, we stepped out into crisp November sunshine and were met by an excited group of Junior Naturalists, all eager for some Leave No Trace games. This group of kids clearly loved spending time at Oxley. They relished any opportunity to share their knowledge about the place with us, pointing out local birds and taking care to show us big green walnuts, and they came ready to learn. Through one of our favorite Leave No Trace games, “Hug a Tree,” we explored what things in nature we can touch and what might be better left alone, and the kids quickly grasped the nuance.

At Oxley, youth education was clearly a priority. That afternoon, Nature Center staff, volunteers, and members of partner organizations gathered for a Leave No Trace youth educator workshop to gain hands-on experience implementing our youth curriculum and expanding their own repertoire of Leave No Trace games, ensuring that Leave No Trace will become an integral part of kids’ time at Oxley at in the greater Tulsa area. 

The future of the land was also a key priority at Oxley. Last Father’s Day, Tulsa was devastated by a tornado that uprooted hundreds of trees, so we used the Spotlight as an opportunity to repair some of that damage. Under the sage guidance of local tree expert, Joe Marcoux, a group of volunteers scattered across the preserve planting 108 Oak and Walnut trees, filling the gaps where others had been lost. Joe gathered all the seeds from the area and cultivated the young saplings for an entire year in his own backyard, so as he gave planting instructions, his voice resonated with an almost fatherly pride. This sense of affection for the land was contagious, filling the group with a shared purpose.

The camaraderie didn’t stop once all the trees were tucked in, though. After the work was finished, many of the staff and volunteers joined us for a few rounds of Leave No Trace trivia at a local where they had the chance to go head to head, demonstrating all the knowledge they’d gained during the weekend. Teams laughed and joked while the sunset in a vast splash of orange and pink. The spotlight went off without a hitch, and we were all proud of what we’d accomplished. While we’re excited to spend time with friends and family as we head off the road for the holiday season, we’re eagerly awaiting the stewardship and fun that will be the 2024 Spotlights and our next tour on the road.

Additional support for 2023 Spotlights comes from the Airbnb Community Fund.

By the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Teams. For over 20 years, these teams have provided tangible solutions to serious issues facing our outside spaces and reach over 15 million people every year. Learn more about the important work of our mobile education teams. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of AmericaREIEagles Nest Outfitters, ThuleFjällrävenThe Coleman Company, and Klean Kanteen.



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