Beckwith Scholarship for Leave No Trace Master Educator
A Reflection on Landmark Learning's Leave No Trace Master Educator Course from Charley Aurelia
I began living with passion for professional education near 35 years ago. Interestingly, prior to that I was unaware of this passion within myself and was surprised that the mother of a neighborhood friend from my childhood expressed a few years back “I always knew you’d be a teacher”. Apparently, even though the extent of my recollection of our conversations was only saying ‘yes, ma'am” to her inquiries as to whether I’d like a cheese sandwich, she saw something in me I had not seen yet.
Teaching, or as I prefer: helping to create learning opportunities, helps meet my strong need to contribute to people’s lives. Another strong need of mine is sharing my love of wild and natural places. The Leave No Trace Master Educator program helped me combine the two in a way that integrates a sustainable and ethical approach in benefiting both the broader land community and the people who choose to spend their precious time there.
The Landmark Learning LNT Master Educator program exceeded my needs for a fun, engaging, informative, and inspiring program that would give me broad skillsets and resources for inspiring others. A learning opportunity was created that combined a relaxed atmosphere with a confident and empathetic ...a listening… facilitator. The experience, at times, seemed almost self/group guided, and was as if there was a trust and confidence that we already had what it takes. I was welcomed as a peer and it was refreshing to be a part of a group who shared both of my passions. There was a wonderful emphasis place on us, as we participated in the program, to be present to and enjoy the beautiful, powerful places we had the pleasure of learning in. Panthertown Valley, outside of Cashiers, was one of those places.
Leave No Trace helps me to more deeply live the life I love. It is truly good work. I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced and learned more that contributes to people’s lives and my own. It has been said, awareness of the impact on the land community leaves one living in a world of wounds. And it is true, as one’s heart breaks, it is a result of the love one has for a place.
Trail Crew Leader /Trail Steward
Friends of Panthertown
Panthertown Valley, Nantahala National Forest