March feels like it was the month of shaking off the last of winter and welcoming back the sunshine, with the promise of a beautiful summer just around the corner. 

This month we have our usual great project updates and opportunities - divided into nine points to share with you. So find a nice spot in the shade to sit, and let's once again head off on a hyperlink adventure...


The March Round-up

Our New Online Course!

As the sun warms the ground, and long weekends start to roll around, the urge to pack the bags and head to the hills, the waterways, the forests - anywhere outdoors - starts to set in. Before long lunch breaks are spent researching new swimming spots, or maybe making lists of all the places that we love to visit.  And just in time to catch you on the way out the door - our new online course has launched! 

The Online Introduction to Leave No Trace launched this month, and is our first every online educational programme available to the general public. The course is designed to raise awareness and give a better understanding of recreation related impacts, the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, and how Leave No Trace skills and ethics can help protect the outdoor places that we love.

The course is self-directed, it takes approx. 40 mins and is suitable for anyone who enjoys being outdoors and who would like to learn more about how to Leave No Trace. 

Read more about the launch here! 


The Nature Animation Course 2022

After the fantastic success in 2021, the Nature Animation Course for 2022 has kicked off once more - the applications were processed, the interviews conducted, and the induction of this years class to the course took place at the end of March.

This course is delivered by Munster Technological University, in collaboration with The National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Leave No Trace Ireland. We wish all of the 2022 class the very best of luck as they set off to learn all about nature conservation and all the amazing opportunities that await them.

In case you missed it previously, here's our video about the course. 

The 2022 Training & Events Calendar

Now that we've done our online course, and now that the next batch of conservationists and trainers are on their way - it's time to head outside!

Our Training & Events Calendar for 2022 is filling up!
Visit the calendar to register for our awareness courses, as well as find information about our Marine Explorers Programmes that we run with the Marine Institute in schools across Ireland. 

The Marine Explorers Education Programme 

The Explorers Education programme has launched the "We Are Ocean Champions School Project" module and awards! 

The Explorers new school project module adopts an all-school approach where the Explorers outreach teams around Ireland will work with teachers and children, developing their own healthy ocean project to inspire and engage their school and community to become ocean champions.

The project and awards focus on the concept of healthy oceans and marine environmental care, with the aim that children will identify issues or challenges that affect the ocean and then develop a project to explore solutions.

Throughout the project the children will work together with the Explorers outreach teams, their school, friends, family, and local community, helping to raise awareness and engagement about the ocean. This may include organising community beach cleans, development of science projects and artwork, to organising school drama, songs or public speaking competitions about the ocean. 

Updates: The Knocksink Community Engagement Project 

Our work in Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve continues!

Our video from our first event is now live. In this video, we walk through the different processes we conducted on that impact day, as well as short interviews from our partners and locals who are involved in the project.

Since then, we had a fantastic day with local residents, visitors and the NPWS carrying out a BioBlitz. We spent the day learning how to identify different species of the vast flora that call this area home. Logging all our findings, these were then sent into the National Biodiversity Data Centre database. With this data, both the Biodiversity Data Centre and the National Parks and Wildlife Service can make more accurate predictions and conclusions on the woodland, helping to inform what future work is carried out there. 

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part so far! We can't wait for our next impact day in Knocksink Woods on April 1st. Click here to see the events link 


6. Our Responsibilities to Our Furry Best Friends 

Back in our February Newsletter, we shared Minister Humphrey & McConalogue’s message on the responsibility of dog owners ahead of the lambing season.

Since then, we’ve read of a study into our collective understanding of dog owners responsibilities, published in the Irish Veterinary Journal this year. The study focused on the eight legal responsibilities of dog owners.  The study’s lead author, Laura Keogh, outlined her findings to The Irish Times: “Across all the groups investigated – 327 dog owners (66% female), 352 non-dog owners (64% female) – only 17.9% were aware of all eight responsibilities for dog owners that are prescribed by law.” An interesting note was that there were no substantial differences in knowledge between those who owned dogs, and those who didn’t.

In the study, three of the eight legal requirements were well known to the participants (exceeding 80%). These three are that:
  • owners can be fined if their dog fouls in a public place; 
  • all dog owners must have a licence for their dog(s); 
  • and certain breeds must be muzzled & on a leash in a public place.
The lesser known requirements are:
  • all owners must keep their animal in a way that safeguards its health and welfare; 
  • it’s unlawful for an owner to abandon their dog; 
  • tail docking is only legal in exceptional circumstances and on condition that it’s performed by a vet; 
  • it’s unlawful for an owner to let their dog stray; 
  • and dogs must always wear a collar bearing the owner’s name and address inscribed on a plate, badge or disc.
Laura Keogh says that, “if the legislation were better known, it might trigger a societal discussion," leading to different practices being “less socially acceptable, and thus improve animal welfare. In this way, the awareness that certain responsibilities are prescribed” could have a positive effect in shaping our human behaviours. 

We at Leave No Trace know the power of discussion leading to wider public conversations and understanding, and so hope that such information becomes part of our everyday - for the safety and enjoyment of people, dogs, farm animals, and wildlife.  

Read the full Irish Times interview here

7. Go Green Project Update: Erasmus+ Exchange in Westport

In mid-March we were thrilled to host the first Go Green Erasmus Exchange in Westport.
During the two-day exchange we saw the launch of the project, which aims to educate local decision-makers, public officers and consultants on how to improve their environmental performance, and align their policies with EU Green Deal targets. Our thanks to Cllr Peter Flynn for joining us on our first day.

8. The SEE Project Update: The French Exchange

The SEE Project completed its third Erasmus exchange in the Vallon Pont d'Arc region in France.

This exchange took place in the scenic Ardèche mountains, and focused on Mountain Biking, Caving and Rock Climbing. While taking part in these activities, the emphasis was placed on understanding our impacts on the environment when we engage in different outdoor sports and recreation. Thanks to all our partners for making this an enjoyable and educational exchange.

9. Save the Date! The Leave No Trace Annual General Meeting 
26th May 2022

A reminder that all Leave No Trace members are invited to the Annual General Meeting. It will be held on Thursday 26th May, from 11am to 1pm, online from Westport via Zoom. Click here to register.

Leave No Trace Annual General Meeting 2022:
  • Date:  Tuesday – 26th of April 2022,
  • Time: 11:00 - 13:00 (GMT)
  • Location: Online via Zoom (Hosted from Westport, Co. Mayo)
  • Link: Available upon registration.


As always, thank you all for your continued support and interest in our work and ethos. Here's to us all getting outside more and more as spring rolls on, and to our collective impact becoming less and less! 

Leave No Trace Ireland 

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