Leave No Trace – Limiting Human Impact on Nature

In their science class, sixth-grade students met with Ranger Kate from Acadia National Park to discuss the Park’s problems and needs. Ranger Kate described how human traffic and waste was degrading the Park, especially on Schoodic Point. With Ranger Kate and their teachers, the students discussed what they could do to address the problem. The students decided to do a service-learning project encouraging Schoodic Point visitors to adopt a “leave no trace” ethic.

The students began by learning how humans can reduce their impact on the natural world when they hike and camp outdoors. The students invited in a Registered Maine Guide to discuss what it means to “leave no trace” and how best to achieve this goal. Using the Internet, they researched local, state and national examples of ways that people had inadvertently damaged parks and other natural settings. The students met with a local historian and staff from the Old Town Public Works Department to discuss how people have degraded the local waterway, the Penobscot River. To see the damage first-hand, the students joined Public Works staff in a river walk/cleanup.

Their research findings helped the students brainstorm how to educate Schoodic Point visitors. The students decided to create posters and a video for people to watch when they visit Schoodic Point. Working with the Schoodic Education Research Center the students determined what information and pictures to include in the posters and video. The Center now uses the students’ video and posters to educate Schoodic Point visitors about how to “leave no trace” while they enjoy the beauty of the Point.