Be as quiet as mice and you might see something nice”, “Don’t pick the flowers, increase the world’s hours”, “If you leave what you find, you have a good mind” or “ Don’t litter and the world will be fitter”. If only we all adopted these simple, yet strong messages. These quotes are just a small sample of some of the powereful messages delivered to us during a Leave No Trace schools visit given to the Third Class students in Knock National School in County Mayo, who all took the Leave No Trace message very serious indeed. It was a pleasure for us to visit this class, one of several classes we visited in Mayo in a collaborative approach with Coillte to introduce Leave No Trace to National School children across Ireland.
Leave No Trace promotes responsible use of the outdoors through education, research and partnerships. We are all aware of the huge increase in outdoor activity, be it cycling, walking, canoeing, hill climbing or horse riding and each of these activities have the potential to leave a mark on our landscape if not carried out in a responsible and caring manner. Given the importance of outdoor activities to our own wellbeing and indeed to our nation’s economy, it is crucial that we protect this fantastic canvas we have been given here in Ireland. We are just custodians of our landscape and environment and we owe it to future generations to pass it on in good condition so they too can enjoy it at its best. That is precisley what Leave No trace Ireland is all about! It is about educating and promoting the right way to do things, not by lecturing us or ordering us about, but instead- encouraging us and showing us what can be achieved if we all work together through partnerships.
This was most evident in the Knock school visits where the appetite to do the “right thing” was oozing out of each and every student, their enthusiasm to learn and participate in the activities was so encouraging to see. We firmly believe to get a message across while having fun is the way forward. These students will remember the activities and associate the Leave No Trace message with their experience, thus the information is retained and passed on.
The schools visits are definitely a great place to start to sew the Leave No Trace seed. Students encourage other students, their families and their communities to act in a responsible manner while involved in outdoor activity, whatever form it takes. What a wonderful way to get people thinking about their actions and taking some simple steps to reduce their impact.
This initiative to spread the Leave No Trace message in collaboration with the Leave No Trace Schools online resource is an exciting adventure that will reap rewards for many generations to come, so come on everyone, “Don’t litter and the world will be fitter”.
Leave No Trace Ireland wish to extend a special thanks to John Carney and Susan Calphin, core partners from the Department of Envirnoment, Community and Local Government for visiting the local schools and delivering the workshops.
For further information, please visit www.leavenotraceschools.org