Thursday, February 3, 2011
Principles, Powder, and a Porcupine
Nevada Outdoor School’s winter Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Course was filled with exciting adventures. Six participants joined us in the Sierra Nevadas to explore outdoor ethics and learn how to help spread the LNT message to others.
On Saturday, the first day of the two-day course, we ventured into the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe to snowshoe and take a closer look at a few of the LNT principles. Each course participant was responsible for presenting one of the LNT principles and for facilitating a hands-on activity with the group to reinforce what folks had learned. In addition to learning new information, a number of folks strapped on a pair of snowshoes for the first time; judging by the smiles on their faces, it won’t be their last!
The skies opened up Saturday night and dumped about nine inches of powder on us, making for great snowshoeing conditions. Sunday morning we finished the last of our principle presentations and went out for one more hike. While taking a break under a tree I noticed a pile of an animal’s business, (whatever had been there had not been disposing of their waste properly) I glanced and noticed an unidentifiable object nestled in the branches, I immediately tried to piece it all together… was it a birds nest? A clump of dirt with pine needles poking out of it? Whoa! It was a porcupine! My first encounter with a porcupine and it happened to be in dangerous canon-ball striking distance. I preferred to leave the hike quill-free so I checked to make sure we were following the LNT Rule of Thumb (remaining a respectful distance from wildlife), took a few quick snapshots, and moved on.
Leave No Trace Trainer Courses are great opportunities to delve into outdoor ethics while experiencing them first hand. If you are interested in joining us this summer for a trainer course e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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