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How to teach 'Leave No Trace" to your kids

April 16 2024 – Anne Brillet

How to teach 'Leave No Trace" to your kids
How to teach 'Leave No Trace" to your kids
The Leave No Trace principles provide a framework for outdoor ethics, guiding people on how to minimise their impact on the environment while enjoying outdoor activities. Here are the seven principles:
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Think ahead before heading out. Check the weather, pack the right gear, and know the rules of where you're going. It's like making sure you've got everything for a camping trip, so you don't end up needing stuff you forgot.

  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Stick to the beaten path, so to speak. Stay on trails and camp in designated areas to avoid trampling plants and messing up the ground. Think of it as giving nature a break from your footsteps.

  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack in, pack out. Whatever you bring with you, take it back when you leave. And when nature calls, find a spot away from water sources and dig a hole to do your business. It's all about leaving the place as clean as you found it.

  4. Leave What You Find: Take memories, leave everything else. Leave rocks, plants, and critters where they belong – in their natural habitat. Resist the urge to take home souvenirs or mess with the wildlife for a photo op.

  5. Minimise Campfire Impacts: Keep your fires small and contained, and only use existing fire rings if you can. When you're done roasting marshmallows, douse that fire completely. No one wants a surprise forest fire, right?

  6. Respect Wildlife: Give the animals their space. Admire them from afar and resist the urge to feed them or chase them around. Remember, they're the locals; we're just visiting.

  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Share the trail and be mindful of others enjoying the great outdoors. Keep the noise down, yield to folks passing by, and give everyone their space. It's like being a good neighbour but out in the wilderness.


Now how do you go about teaching this to your kids for a brighter and more sustainable future. 

Teaching kids about Leave No Trace is like passing on the secrets of being a superhero for nature! Here are some tips to make it fun and easy:

  1. Keep it Simple: Break down the Leave No Trace rules into kid-friendly language. Like, "Nature's treasures are for everyone, so leave them where you found them, just like a treasure hunter leaving a map behind!"

  2. Lead with Action: Show them how it's done! When you're out in nature, be the Leave No Trace superhero yourself. They'll follow your lead faster than a squirrel up a tree!

  3. Make a Game of It: Turn learning into an adventure! Have a scavenger hunt for Leave No Trace actions – like finding a hidden trash bag or spotting someone picking up litter. Whoever wins gets an extra marshmallow by the campfire!

  4. Tell Cool Stories: Share tales of Leave No Trace heroes and villains. They'll love hearing about the adventures of eco-friendly explorers and the mischief of litterbugs.

  5. Encourage Curiosity: Let them ask questions and share their own ideas. Kids have the wildest imaginations, so let them dream up ways to protect the planet like superheroes!

  6. Get Hands Dirty: Literally! Make Leave No Trace activities hands-on. Let them be nature detectives, searching for trash to pick up or building forts with fallen branches.

  7. Practice, Practice, Practice: Repetition is key! Keep reinforcing the Leave No Trace rules every time you're out exploring. Soon they'll be spouting eco-friendly wisdom like little nature gurus!

  8. Celebrate Success: Give them a high-five or a victory dance when they nail Leave No Trace actions. Positive vibes make them want to keep being awesome for nature!

  9. Pass the Torch: As they become Leave No Trace experts, let them take charge. They'll love being the nature guide and showing others how to be eco-warriors!

With these tricks up your sleeve, you'll raise a squad of Leave No Trace champions ready to save the planet, one adventure at a time!