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Leave No Trace in Your Outdoor Adventures

July 8, 2014

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

Outdoor Education in Girl Scouts - NC Coastal PinesOne of my favorite Girl Scout – NC Coastal Pines experiences is the weekend I spent camping to earn my Outdoor Skills certification in the Fall of 2012.  During that October weekend, I experienced both fair weather and foul, bonded with my patrol mates and an amazing band of volunteer facilitators, and learned new skills I would never have attempted otherwise!  I still enjoy tossing out tidbits of my training when meeting new people.  For instance, you’d be surprised at the reaction you’ll get when telling people a Dorito chip makes an excellent firestarter!

The most important lessons I learned were those of observing, admiring and respecting nature. My training included not just setting up and breaking down my campsite, but minimizing the impact of my adventures on the environment.  As we work together to provide fun, unique and memorable outdoor experiences for our girls, let’s remember to share with them as well as model these important practices of “leave no trace.”  These principles uphold many parts of our Girl Scout Law, from using resources wisely, to being responsible for what we say and do and making the world a better place.

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles have been a part of Girl Scout outdoor education for many years. Summarized here, they ask us to:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Our Founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was an avid outdoors adventurer and her stories are legendary, including one hilarious fishing expedition with poet Rudyard Kipling in formal wear during a party.  Our outdoor programs in Girl Scouts not only connect girls’ experience to her, they enrich us as parents, staff and mentors as we teach them how to be good stewards of our environment; to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

How do you and your Girl Scouts support the Leave No Trace Behind? 

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