As I have just finished up with an interview series with Ladies Get Outside, I would like to keep the theme of #trailtuesdays alive! Ladies Get Outside Ambassador, Delaney Forgette and her boyfriend Cody Soule just launched their own environmental conservation organization called Trash Free Trails Project. I thought it would be perfect to feature them on wholly nourished for Plastic Free July, my growing interest in waste and how it impacts the well-being of humans and the planet, in addition to my love for outdoor adventure. This organization combines them all! Without further adieu, let's turn it over to Delaney and Cody...
Tell us a little bit about the mission & vision behind the Trash Free Trails Project.
Our mission behind trash free trails project is simply not to see trash on the trails. We love hiking and spending our time outdoors, but it is not always so enjoyable when you are stumbling upon trash every couple of steps you take. Our vision is to show people that it can be something fun and easy to do! We chose to take it to social media because we know it has a lot of influence over people, especially people in the hiking and outdoor community. We want to spread awareness for the environment, as well as showing people it can be simple and fun to clean it up.
What was the biggest inspiration behind starting your organization?
Our biggest inspiration behind our project would be my (Delaney) little brother Micah. I started taking him hiking when he was younger and he would amaze me with how much determination he had to collect every single piece of trash he would see on the trail and I mean every single piece. He would try to climb up rocks, go down steep hills, and go waist deep into water just to retrieve the smallest piece of trash. As he got older he came up with ideas like bringing bags and gloves, so that he could be prepared for anything. It was crazy how fast he could fill up a bag of trash on the trail, but what was even better was his feeling of accomplishment after. We would drive home from our hike and he would talk the whole time about all of the things he collected and how he can’t believe people leave so much behind. Our other inspiration is just for our love of the outdoors. We would always try to collect as much trash as we could by stuffing it into our pockets or bags. We spend almost all of our free time outside exploring waterfalls, climbing mountains, or setting up awesome camp spots, so the least we could do is give back and clean it up!
How do you see outdoor adventure and environmental responsibility working together?
We see environmental responsibility and outdoor adventure working together very simply! To us if you are someone who enjoys the outdoors and like to go on adventures, than cleaning up and taking responsibility for the environment should be easy, especially when you are cleaning up after yourself. We think that it is important to bring out what you bring in, if you were able to carry it in there shouldn't be a reason why you can not carry it out. We like to follow the leave no trace ethics (https://lnt.org/ read more about it here). We first stumbled upon leave no trace a couple of years ago at an event the ADK mountain lodge was putting on. They showed us how simple it can be to help preserve the trails, and how easy it can be to keep the trails clean. As far as cleaning up from other on the trail, we like to bring some bags, and even grabbed a pair of waterproof gloves from Target to make sure our hands are don’t get dirty (who knows what you are going to find out there).
What can we do to play a role in keeping our trails trash free & clean?
There are a lot of things that everyone can do to help keep the nation's trails trash free. The simplest way is to just clean up after yourself, bring out what you bring in, and just double check to make sure you didn't leave anything behind. Also just taking a bag with you when you go outside and picking up things that you see along the way. We also feel that social media can play a big part in helping keep the trails trash free, especially instagram. If you post pictures and awareness for keeping the trails trash free and show that you're having fun doing it, other are going to want to do the same. We also feel that social media is a great way to spread the word and reach others from all around. So grab a bag, collect some trash, snap a picture, and use #trashfreetrailsproject to help spread the word!