December 18, 2020

SIU’s Touch of Nature offering Leave No Trace Master Educator Course in January

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Learn how to experience the great outdoors while having a minimal impact upon it and how to teach what you learn during the Leave No Trace Master Educator course at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center Jan. 12-16. 

Comprehensive course

The immersive experience takes place at Touch of Nature, a 3,100-acre site about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. Located along Little Grassy Lake, the experiential learning and nature facility is bordered by Giant City State Park and Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.

Throughout the course, participants will get hands-on experience putting into practice what they are learning. They will participate in onsite adventures and backcountry day outings. On the final day, each participant will present a 15- to 20-minute lesson on one of the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and how it relates to a specific activity.

Educators, naturalists, park rangers, recreation planners, Scout leaders and anyone who works in an outdoor setting or industry or who has an interest in the great outdoors will benefit from the class.

After successfully completing the class, participants will receive a certificate from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Education. They will then be qualified to teach the two-day Leave No Trace Trainer courses as well as shorter Leave No Trace awareness workshops.

Safe, appropriate setting

Touch of Nature’s outdoor learning laboratory will incorporate overnight camping and indoor lodging for the course, and enhanced safety measures, including social distancing, will be in place.  In order to comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines set forth by the state of Illinois and SIU, meals and lodging are not included in the registration and group sizes are limited, but the registration cost has been adjusted accordingly. Participants should bring all necessary equipment and food.

Arrangements for rental equipment, food purchases or lodging at Little Grassy Lodge can be made with Touch of Nature in advance for additional fees.

Sign up now

Register now for the course at The cost is $495, and space is limited. The deadline to register is Jan. 10. For more information, contact Erik Oberg at 618-453-3945 or