Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Leave No Trace

I absolutely LOVE scouting! The scouting program teaches boys how to become men. How to serve others and learn new skills. And it teaches them to in return help younger boys.

One special award you can receive is the Leave No Trace badge. I know cub scouting is coming up on some exciting changes, but I wanted to share this great principal because it can bless us all. In order to earn your award you have to learn the principals and practice them, along with fulfilling requirements for your age.

Leave No Trace Basic Principals

Plan Ahead and Prepare:

Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you visit. Information is key. Bring a map and compass if possible. Prepare for weather conditions and emergencies. 

Travel & Camp on Durable surfaces:

Durable surfaces include establish trails, campsites, rock, & gravel. Earlier this month we visited Sedona. They had a great sign explaining why we shouldn't step on the "crust". It had great visual aids. My boys already know and practice this principal, but I loved the information. It's crucial we stick to the trails so we don't ruin habitats for bugs and animals. Killing vegetation has impact on everything from bugs, birds, small animals which also impacts larger animals. I did let them explore rocks and climb around, but other than that we stuck to the trails. 

Dispose of Waste Properly

"Pack it in, pack it out" When preparing for a hike or camping consider how you are going to dispose of trash. I love packing an extra trash bag. Help teach your kids to be mindful of sandwich bags and water bottle lids. If you need to dispose of human waste do so properly, in a hole dug 6- 8 inches deep at least 200 feet away from water, trails, & camp.

Leave What you Found:

This is a great one to teach if you don't want treasures to come home with you. But it's also important to teach our kids why we don't bring home rocks, shells, or plants. Preserve the past. Examine, but don't touch cultural or historic structures. Teaching them early is so important. I love how this principal helps us think of others and the future.

Minimize Campfire Impact:

Where fires are allowed use established fire rings. Keep fires small. And burn all wood and coals down to ash. Completely put out fire and scatter cooled ashes. When possible use light weight stove for cooking and lantern for light.

Respect Wildlife:

Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other danger. Store your food securely.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors:

"Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience." Be courteous and yield to others on the trail. I have learned those going up have the right of way. Avoid loud voices and noises including music. 

Wishing you a Happy Earth Day. Plant some flowers, pick up trash, or enjoy nature. I hope these principals of Leave No Trace bless your family. I am so thankful for teaching opportunities.

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