Justin and I have thoroughly loved working at Fenton Ranch teaching kids K-5 about nature. We try our darnedest to impart everlasting knowledge, particularly Leave No Trace lessons on the young minds. Maybe out of the 50+ kids in every grade level, 3-5 learn something. Maybe they don’t retain the facts, but I am comforted that they at least fall in love with the outdoors a little.
As much as we love it, we’ve been thinking for awhile how we wanted to do more with our knowledge and passion, and challenge ourselves a little more.
We’ve become more and more active with Leave No Trace, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching outdoor ethics. So when an opportunity came up to work with them in conjunction with our National Parks, we knew we hit the lotto on a job.
Okay, that was a a lot of preface. Time to get to the point.
Let me introduce you to the “Leave No Trace Zero Landfill Initiative Traveling Team.”
As the ZLI team, we will travel to 3 national parks that are participating in the initiative this year:
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Denali National Park in Alaska
Yosemite National Park in California
What is the Zero Landfill Initiative mean, you ask?
In 2014, more than 100 million pounds of waste was thrown away by visitors to America’s national parks.
Collectively, Grand Tetons, Denali & Yosemite generated 16.6 million pounds of visitor waste in 2013. These parks are actively taking steps to divert the amount of waste from landfills. Of that waste, 41 percent (6.9 million pounds) were kept out of landfills through recycling, composting, and reusing.
Justin and I are going to do all sorts of outreach in and around these parks (i.e., campground programs, presentations in retail stores in the surrounding communities, festivals, meeting with volunteer groups one-on-one) from mid June until the end of September. As Leave No Trace employees, we are partnering with the National Park Service (and brother/sister organizations) and Subaru.
Dates and details are still in the works, so I know you have questions (WE still have questions), but I hope to share more as we go. I do know we will be mostly camping for the 3+ months and living out of a eye-catching, brand-new Subaru! All 3 parks are pretty awesome, so we are looking forward to returning and exploring so more!
If you know Justin, you know how much he loves Alaska, ever since his first visit there in 2003.
Our first trip to Yosemite was in 2005!
The bottom line is with thousands of people visiting these parks every summer, we hope to be part of the solution and continue to make an impact.