Leave No Trace Trainer Certification 24 hour training at Hillsborough River State Park, Tampa, FL
To further add to my credibility as a guide I decided it would be best to start getting some certifications of various types. One of those requirements I completed this weekend. I tried to get this course in last year and missed it do to some conflicts but was very happy to see that it was being offered again.
Our fabulous instructor Janet and her lovely assistant Adam drove down from Jacksonville to spend the morning doing 2 awareness classes for scouts and park visitors and after that would spend the following 24 hours making sure our group knew the 7 principles and that we would be able to teach them to others.
I had some wonderful persons to take this course with! Scout Leaders, Journalists and even a wonderful young lady that serve 5 years in the Queens Royal Navy in Scotland! Janet and her husband Adam have their own company working with environmental issues that face business and both are well travelled outdoors persons.
Our class began on Saturday afternoon with introductions and skills/experience reviews. Janet took time to review the basic principles and history of LNT with us and gave us the materials we would need later that night and the day to each teach one of the principles to our peers.
The leave No Trace Principles are: Plan Ahead and Prepare | Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces | Dispose of Waste Properly | Leave What You Find |
Minimize Campfire Impacts | Respect Wildlife | Be Considerate of Other Visitors
As we started to review – I realized my knowledge of these principles was lacking!
After reviewing the first principle and enjoying Kevin give his class we hiked to our camping spot for the nigh. We were to enjoy the evening primitive camping but plans changed up a bit and the park service gave us the opportunity at a VERY rare treat. We were to camp north of the rapids in a truly primitive setting! Once we arrived at our site we taught our 2nd principle by Greg and soon we were scouting the best places to set our tents and get ready for a great dinner!
Janet prepared a wonderful meal for us and taught us principle 3. Soon after all our bellies were full Richard gave his class on principle 5. Soon he had a wonderful fire going and the conversation lasted well into the evening. We were so lucky to have the rapids singing to us and a fire crackling at our toes. We all made new friends that evening around the fire, and heard some interesting stories – everything from bubblegum to llamas was discussed!
Soon we all settled into our tents with the river and the stars in our company. Not long after we got settled a couple deer stumbled upon us in camp. Quite surprised that we were in their back yard they snorted and leaped off into the forest. Mostly we were left alone the rest of the evening.
Sunday morning was surely blessed! Perfect chilly weather, mist rising off the river, and great horned owl woke us with his call of “good night”. It was not long before we were all eager to have breakfast and get started on the rest of our training. But, apple pancakes and coffee were first on the agenda! Janet is just the person you want to be with in the woods. I learned a lot from her this weekend just watching.
After cleaning up breakfast we were off for a hike. On the trail I taught principle 6 to the others. We walked the Banyard Trail and part of the Florida Trail back to the primitive campground where Richard taught principle 4. Janet lead us in a wonderful exercise that we can use with others that we were treating and made sure that we did not walk away beating ourselves up for things we had done in the past and reminded us that none of use would get everything right but that we should always just do our best.
We hiked back to where we met, had a wonderful lunch and Adam taught the final principle. We all “graduated” and received out LNT Trainer pins and we were soon saying our goodbye’s to each other.
This weekend was wonderful for me. I met many new friends and learned more than I can share in a short blog like this. I hope that you will consider attending a LNT Awareness Workshop or just check out their site Http://www.lnt.org.
In closing I will challenge you as Janet challenged us…check out “THE LEAVE NO TRACE BIGFOOT CHALLENGE” – to leave not trace, like bigfoot does J For more information visit:http://www.lnt.org/bigfootchallenge/
See you in the forest,