By Rachel Stockert, the Green Crew adult member
The Center for Outdoor Ethics and the Izaak Walton League has 18 newly certified Leave No Trace Trainers! While braving unseasonably cold temperatures, the 11 youth leaders and seven adult advisors of The Green Crew gathered on the first weekend in April to be trained in the principles of Leave No Trace.
What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace, stewarded by the Center for Outdoor Ethics, is a program designed to teach people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and respectfully. The program comprises seven principles developed over decades to respond to the increase in visitors to national parks. Since 1994, the Center has been growing and refining programs to support the adoption of these principles to minimize the human impact of recreational activities within natural environments.
Today, the principles of Leave No Trace have become an accepted standard in the United States for guiding human activity in back- and front-country camping and exploration, as well as in our everyday activities such as exercising in urban nature areas, strolling with the dog around the neighborhood, enjoying lakes and streams near our homes, and even caring for our yards. Moreover, as increasing numbers of individuals and organizations have interacted with the program, the seven principles have evolved into a robust framework for understanding how to minimize our environmental impact on the world.
Who is the Green Crew?
The Green Crew is the Izaak Walton League’s newest youth program. It was launched in January of 2022 as a youth-led science-based environmental service initiative. Youth members are organizing projects to address tree equity, water quality, fungus diversity, and more. One of the program initiatives is Leave No Trace education and awareness.
“Leave No Trace is an important part of the Green Crew vision,” said Camille Morton, Green Crew’s first youth President. “We are committed to not only training other members of the community but incorporating these principles into the foundation of how we operate all of our other youth-led programs.”
The Green Crew youth leadership team is incorporated as BSA Venture Crew 3111. “Leave No Trace is an important part of the BSA program. We are excited to incorporate it into the heart of the Green Crew,” said Terri Johnson, the Associated Advisor of Advancement and long-time BSA member. “The Leave No Trace program will allow us to meet our goals of adding additional value to the environmental program of Scouts BSA units.”
Who taught the Course?
The 16-hour course was taught by Master Educator Ashley Bozman. Ashley spent 10 years as a Leave No Trace Master Educator affiliated with her membership in the Illowa Council, BSA Venturing Program based in Davenport, Iowa. She is currently the Fellowship Coordinator at Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center in Sandstone, Minnesota. After moving to Minnesota in December 2019, she shared that she thought she would wait to get reengaged with Scouting and the Center for Outdoor Ethics until after her new daughter was old enough to join Cub Scouts. Instead, she found herself in the familiar role of an outdoor educator training a new group of leaders on navigating the ethical dilemmas of enjoying the outdoors. Ashley said she was excited to get back involved in Leave No Trace when she learned of the mission and vision of the new Green Crew and its connections to the BSA Venturing program.
“These youth are inspiring,” said Ashley. “I am excited about what they will be able to do to share the message of sustainable enjoyment of the outdoors.”
The Minnesota State Advocate for Leave No Trace, Teri Fick, joined Ashley. Teri told the Green Crew members she was excited to have the Izaak Walton League join Leave No Trace as a Community Partner. She is enthusiastic about supporting the Green Crew’s goals of training over 1,000 community members per year. “The mission of Leave No Trace is to use the power of science, education, and stewardship to ensure a sustainable future for the outdoors and the planet. Engaging youth to carry that message forward is critical to our success. The Green Crew is an exciting addition to this effort. When I look around the room at the incredible youth that took the time this weekend to learn how to teach Leave No Trace, it gives me great hope,” said Terri.
What is next for the Green Crew’s Leave No Trace Program?
The newly certified Leave No Trace Trainers are now ready to launch an expansive training schedule through the spring, summer, and fall ahead. They will facilitate training at various schools and community gatherings and host Scout units and Church Groups for weekly Citizen Science projects. The Green Crew will also welcome youth groups for a “Green Weekend” at the Chapter House, including Leave No Trace training and a conservation service project.
“It is our vision that youth introduced to Leave No Trace will want to take future action to protect our land, air, water, and wildlife,” said Hannah Barisonzi, the Green Crew Vice President of Training. Currently an 8th grader at The Blake School, Hannah will be joined by other members of the Green Crew to facilitate training at Blake in May, in addition to training multiple youth groups throughout the summer.
You can get involved in Leave No Trace and the Green Crew!
For more information about having the youth of the Green Crew introduce your organization, neighborhood, or community to the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace, please contact Hannah Barisonzi at LNT@greencrew.club. To learn more about the Green Crew and our programs, please visit GreenCrew.club.
Author: Rachel Stockert is the Green Crew Committee’s Parent liaison. She participated in the weekend training and is a proud member of the Izaak Walton League – Minnesota Valley Chapter and a certified Trainer for Leave No Trace.