July 21, 2020

Learn to teach Leave No Trace principles at SIU’s Touch of Nature

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center will be hosting three Leave No Trace Master Educator courses starting next month.

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics will conduct the courses, which kick off with an outdoors session Aug. 3-7. A second session is set for Oct. 20-24, with the final course Dec. 2-6. Social distancing guidelines will be in place.

Experienced instruction

Each of the courses are taught by experts who have extensive experience in Leave No Trace skills and ethics. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to participate.

The courses will take place at Touch of Nature’s 3,100-acre site located about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road.  With access to Little Grassy Lake and bordered by Giant City State Park and the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, the Touch of Nature setting works well as a locale to put into practice what participants will learn.

Prepare to teach

The August Frontcountry Leave No Trace Master Educator Course incorporates instruction and hands-on, practical experience in a backcountry setting. The courses will comply with current Illinois COVID-19 safety guidelines, so group sizes will be limited and registration will not include lodging and meals.

Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate and be qualified to teach the two-day Leave No Trace Trainer courses and the shorter Awareness Workshops. Organizers say the course will particularly be of interest to educators, naturalists, park rangers, recreation planners, and Scout leaders, in addition to anyone who works in an outdoors-related industry. The course is also beneficial to anyone who wants to enhance their knowledge about Leave No Trace skills while experiencing the beauty of Southern Illinois.

The first day will include classroom time featuring historical information about the program and an introduction to the seven principles in preparing for day outings along with a visit to Giant City State Park. On the final day, each participant will present a 15-20 minute lesson on one of the seven principles and its relationship to a specific activity. Participants will also lead a 5-10 minute outdoor activity pertaining to their teaching topic.

The instruction is subject to change based upon final enrollment and activities will depend on a variety of factors including weather and class size.

Sign up now

Registration is available online now for the August class. The cost is $465. To inquire about special arrangements for onsite lodging, if needed, call 618/453-1121.

Additional sessions planned

Another Master Educator course session is set for Oct. 20-24. Following a day of classroom instruction at Touch of Nature, participants will put their skills to the test in the Missouri Ozarks during a backcountry laboratory experience.

The final 2020 Leave No Trace course at Touch of Nature will be Dec. 2-6. It will follow the same general format as the August session.

To learn more

For additional information about any of the Leave No Trace Master Educator courses, visit ton.siu.edu or contact Erik Oberg at eriko@siu.edu or 618/453-3945.