The need was identified through the Fermanagh and Omagh 2030 Community Plan under the Environment outcome - to promote positive action on climate change, sustainable management and enhancement of the natural, built and cultural environment.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council became Corporate Members of Leave No Trace Ireland in 2021. One of the benefits of membership is that the organisation offers a range of educational opportunities - through workshops, certified training courses, events and school programmes all based upon the Leave No Trace Seven Principles which will help to embed them in our communities for people of all ages.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles provide an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Although Leave No Trace has its roots in the countryside, the principles have been adapted so that they can be applied anywhere — from remote areas to local parks and residential areas. They also apply to almost every recreational activity.
Leave No Trace is an Outdoor Ethics Education Programme designed to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. As increasing numbers of people seek the beauty and exhilaration of outdoor travel and recreation, our collective mark on the environment and its natural processes increases. Litter, water pollution, disturbance of vegetation, wildlife, livestock and human behaviour are all indicators of the need to develop a national ethic that protects both natural and cultural heritage. Techniques designed to minimise the environmental and social impacts in these areas are incorporated in and promoted by the national Leave No Trace education programme as the following seven principles: plan ahead and prepare; travel and camp on durable surfaces; dispose of waste properly; leave what you find; minimise campfire impacts; respect wildlife; be considerate of other visitors.
Useful Learnings from LNT
Initially, the Council liaised with Leave No Trace (LNT) Ireland in relation to coach education. Council Officers undertook the LNT Awareness Course and Trainers Course. Fermanagh and Omagh District Council then became Corporate members of Leave No Trace Ireland. This partnership created stronger lines of communication and increased resources.
Council Officers then carried out in-house training with staff, with a view to delivering a pilot schools awareness programme, which took place in May 2021.
The programme is still in its infancy, however, feedback from schools to date is really positive. School children are really enjoying the content and method of the sessions. The sessions deliver clear insight into the Leave No Trace principles whilst endeavouring to deliver outside the classroom using a range of activities, resources and landscapes.