Quick Concept for Leave What You Find

Grabbing Your Group's Attention (15 minutes)

Ask participants how scientists know what dinosaurs looked like. (They find fossils and reconstruct the skeletons.) It is important for scientists to find the pieces in their original positions (relative to one another) so that they can see how the pieces fit together. The same is true for cultural—human-made—artifacts.

The Activity

Use three simple picture puzzles. Break the puzzles apart. In a yard, sandlot, or playground, scatter all the pieces of one puzzle in a small area. In another location scatter just two or three pieces, and in another location leave just one piece. Split the group into three teams and have one group at each location recover the pieces. Ask the groups to try reconstructing their puzzle or describe the picture based on the pieces they have found.

The Discussion

Ask each group how easy it was to reconstruct the puzzle. Discuss the following:

Although this Quick Concept deals with fossils and artifacts, the principle leave what you find applies to all things that should remain undisturbed in the backcountry. Wildflowers, petrified rock, and nests are examples of other discoveries to leave for others to enjoy.

Teaching Leave No Trace