Shawnee National Forest to Hold Leave No Trace Event

Release Date: Aug 20, 2014  

Contact(s): Kate Lessman


Special Weekend-Long Community Clean Up and Education Events August 23-24 at Shawnee National Forest with the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers to Help Preserve and Protect Natural Resources for Generations to Come

Leave No Trace Selected Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest as One of Its Eight Endangered ‘Hot Spots’ in the Nation and are Hosting Events to Help Raise Awareness about Natural Areas Around the Country Facing the Threat of Irreversible Environmental Damage.

August 18, 2014 (Boulder, CO) The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers Team are partnering with the Shawnee National Forest to host community clean up events and educational activities August 21-24, 2014.

All members of the southern Illinois community are encouraged to attend and learn about Leave No Trace principles to help protect and preserve the Shawnee National Forest for years to come.

Leave No Trace recently designated Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest as one of the nation’s eight ‘Hot Spots’ in the U.S. this year as part of the nonprofit organization’s campaign to address and help public lands that are facing the threat of irreversible environmental damage. The weekend long event conducted by the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers helps communities raise awareness and take action using Leave No Trace principles.

“Many outdoor areas across our nation, like the Shawnee National Forest, are negatively impacted by recreational use. We are literally loving the land to death,” according to Pat Beezley, Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer. “In most cases, the land impact isn’t due to a malicious intent to harm nature and wildlife. Instead, it’s simply lack of an understanding or know-how of ‘Leave No Trace’.”  

“The Shawnee National Forest experiences visitor-created impacts in many areas, especially in the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, which is our most highly visited recreation site. These impacts include littering, damage to vegetation and trees, trail erosion, walking in undesignated areas and vandalism,” said Tim Pohlman, District Ranger.  “We are thrilled to partner with the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers to help educate our community, raise awareness for future enjoyment and preserve these beautiful landscape.” 

The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers travel throughout the country providing public education about how to reduce impacts in the outdoors. The following is a list of events happening at the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area that are open to the public:

Saturday August 23: Trash Clean-Up – 9am-12pm. Join staff from Touch of Nature Environmental Center, SIU-Carbondale to clean up Garden of the Gods Recreation Area.

 

Saturday August 23: Meet the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers– 1pm-5pm. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will have a booth set up at the trailhead for the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. They will have free educational hangtags and fun educational activities for all ages.

 

Saturday August 23: Evening Program – 6pm-7pm. Join the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers for a fun and interactive educational program to learn how to minimize your impact when in the outdoors.

 

Sunday August 24: Meet the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers – 9am-5pm. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will have a booth set up at the trailhead for the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. They will have free educational hangtags and fun educational activities for all ages. They will be joined by the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest, a not-for-profit organization that supports and promotes land stewardship, responsible recreation, economic sustainability, and connecting people and communities to nature.

 

“Hot Spots sites, like theShawnee National Forest, are damaged but can recover and become healthy again after we spend a few days with the community focusing on specific Leave No Trace applications,” said Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Theresa Beezley. “By identifying and working with the community, Leave No Trace helps areas like the Shawnee National Forest heal, and ultimately aids in protecting and preserving the places we cherish for future generations.” 

In addition, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will be visiting with junior high students from Pope and Hardin counties, engaging them in activities designed to foster a sense of caring behaviors towards the outdoors and to empower them to protect their local outdoor spaces. They will also work with the Shawnee National Forest and other local public land managers, conservation education partners, Southern Illinois University (SIU) and volunteers to increase awareness and implement Leave No Trace at a workshop at SIU Touch of Nature Environmental Center. 

About The Leave No Trace Hot Spot Program
In its fourth year, the Leave No Trace Hot Spot programs raise awareness about natural areas around the country facing the threat of irreversible environmental damage. As part of the initiative, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a national organization that protects outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly, works with volunteers, nonprofit organizations, friends groups and governmental agencies to reduce the impact of recreational activities in the selected endangered area. This goal is achieved through community outreach, education, training, signage, educational materials and local collaboration.

About Leave No Trace
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in a national nonprofit organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly. Their Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are mobile teams educators that visit 48 states every year delivering Leave No Trace programs such as Hot Spots. For more information, visit: www.LNT.org.

About the Shawnee National Forest

Administered by the USDA Forest Service, the Shawnee National Forest is one of 155 national forests nationwide. As the only national forest in Illinois, the Shawnee offers numerous avenues for connecting with the natural world through its 280,000 acres of varied landscape. Whether your interests lie more in outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking or camping, or include learning about the unique natural and cultural heritage of southern Illinois, the fields, forests and streams of the Shawnee welcome you. To discover more about the Shawnee National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/shawneenfand Facebook via http://www.facebook.com/shawneenatlforest.  

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.   The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/.

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