top of page
TFT-Credit Joby Newson 4.jpg
CS_ICONS-02.png

Applications
Now Open

Join The Citizen Science Programme!

Citizen Science training programme (1).png
SP-Partner-Banner-2024.png

New for 2024, Trash Free Trails are inviting adult community groups of up to 10 based in the UK to apply to join their first of its kind Citizen Science research programme!

 

Undertaking research contributing to the State of Our Trails Report, 9 communities from across the UK will be selected to survey and monitor the levels of single-use pollution (litter!) in their local trails.

 

Whether you’re a local run club, a Trail Association, or simply a band of passionate hikers, become Citizen Scientists with us and contribute to ground-breaking research on the state of single-use pollution in the places we love.

Applications open January 25th and close 12pm March 8th. Successful applicants will be notified by March 15th.

TFT-Credit Joby Newson 1_edited.jpg

The unique Training and Research will consist of voluntary activities to gather data on the impacts of Single Use Pollution in wild places local to you by following our methodology. Participants will engage in a period of online learning through an e-course and online discussions, followed by an in person demonstration of the methodologies. After this, participants will schedule their monitoring and surveying for the following two years, contributing first-of-its-kind data.

CS_ICONS-04.png
TFT Credit Tom Laws.jpg

You’ll be learning state of the art surveyance and monitoring practices to learn more about the single-use pollution in the wild places that you love.

 

You’ll develop your confidence as Citizen Scientists, and discover how this voluntary contribution supports long-term positive change. The methods you learn are based on brand new scientific methods we have developed in partnership with Bangor University.

What You’ll Learn

CS_ICONS-07.png
CS_ICONS-06.png
CREDIT - Leigh Rose 3.jpg

The TFT Research Team will be coming to your trails for a day of in person training in May 2024 with your community group.

We'll go through the practicalities of Single-Use Pollution monitoring, explore what's already there, and celebrate the start of your 2-year research programme.

We're so excited to meet you and your trails, thanks to the support of The North Face and the European Outdoor Conservation Association.

In Person Training

CS_ICONS-06.png
CS_ICONS-12-02.png
CS_ICONS-03.png
TFT-Credit Joby Newson 2.jpg

As of 2021, there were less than 5 academic papers on single-use pollution on recreational trails. We are working to fill that knowledge gap, because without research we can’t pursue widespread system change.

 

This is the biggest research programme we’ve ever done, and will help expand our understanding of the single-use pollution issue to a national scale. The more we know, the more change we can make. All we need now is YOU to help us make it happen!

Why Is It Important

CS_ICONS-11.png
CS_ICONS-06.png

What is the programme for?

This programme is a development of our research into the causes, prevalence, composition and impacts of single-use pollution on recreational trails, under the title The State of Our Trails Report (SoOT). All data analysed as part of the Report is collected by volunteer ‘Citizen Scientists’. Data captured by the 9 communities will feed directly into the State of Our Trails Reports over the next 2 years.

82% of recreational trail pollution reported by our volunteers is classed as ‘single-use products’. The term ‘litter’ is riddled with negative connotations, many of which place emphasis on the consumer holding sole responsibility. We want to see societal change in the language we use. It’s pollution. Call it what it is.

The programme is open to community groups with members who are 16 years and upwards with an interest in or connection to their local trails, woodland, parks or path network.  You could be a run club, a college, a group of friends who regularly hike together, a Trail Association, or a kind of group not listed here; everyone is welcome. Applications are submitted by an individual on behalf of a group. You don't need to be a formal group or organisation to apply

 

This programme is open to anyone living in the UK for the project duration.

82% of recreational trail pollution reported by our volunteers is classed as ‘single-use products’. The term ‘litter’ is riddled with negative connotations, many of which place emphasis on the consumer holding sole responsibility. We want to see societal change in the language we use. It’s pollution. Call it what it is.

Who is it for?

What you’ll get out of it

If selected, we provide a full 3-months training programme which includes: 

  • e-Learning materials that enable to learn methodologies and approaches prior to the commencement of the programme 

  • In person training with the TFT Research team to put in practice the learned outputs of the e-Learning materials prior to the commencement of the programme

  • Online support and scheduled Q&A seminars with other participants and TFT Team. 

  • Toolkit of needed materials. 

  • Online access to a digital community of others engaging in the programme across the UK

  • Full support across the entirety of the 2 year long programme.

82% of recreational trail pollution reported by our volunteers is classed as ‘single-use products’. The term ‘litter’ is riddled with negative connotations, many of which place emphasis on the consumer holding sole responsibility. We want to see societal change in the language we use. It’s pollution. Call it what it is.

How do I apply? 

To apply, submit an application form by March 8th 2024 at the link below. You can apply with a group of up to 10 people. If you’d like to submit an application in an alternative format please contact PJ on pj@trashfreetrails.org

 

Successful applicants will be notified by email no later than March 15th 2024. 

82% of recreational trail pollution reported by our volunteers is classed as ‘single-use products’. The term ‘litter’ is riddled with negative connotations, many of which place emphasis on the consumer holding sole responsibility. We want to see societal change in the language we use. It’s pollution. Call it what it is.

CS_ICONS-10.png
CS_ICONS-10.png
CS_ICONS-10.png

FAQs

Why can group applications not exceed 10 people? For this year’s programme Trash Free Trails only has provision to train groups of 10 or less. If your community group membership exceeds this number, please don’t be discouraged! It does however mean that only 10 members of your community can receive the training. If you have further individuals who would like to participate in the two year monitoring study you are welcome to onboard them yourself, however TFT will not be able to provide resources or training to these individuals.

How is your methodology based on academic scientific processes? All our research into Single-Use Pollution has been supported by Bangor University, ensuring rigor and efficacy in all studies. The new methodologies that participants will learn have been developed through this partnership and in comparison to other studies on the topic. To learn more head to the State of Our Trails Report page.

What effect will our data have and what will it be used for? Data collected by participating Citizen Scientists is invaluable in not only helping to build the picture of the state of Single-Use Pollution, but to test and trial our methodologies on a national scale. Data captured will also be used for our annual State of Our Trail Reports, and forthcoming studies on nature connection and conservation efforts in the UK. We will use the data to bolster our activity in pushing for policy change on terrestrial pollution. Quite simply, data collected will be centrestage in the fight for our trails' futures.

I cannot commit to a 2 year project, what else can I do instead? Don’t worry! We have many other projects that anyone can get involved with, some of which are accessible 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Check out the 'Clean Trails' section of our website for more.

Is the application geographically constrained? E.g. I’m in a remote corner of the UK, can I still apply? This program is open to all and there is no restriction on location. If there is a recreational trail or green space near you that you feel a connection to, this is for you!

How long is the online training and how many people from the group are required to take it? The online training is composed of videos, activities and reading assets (such as our methodologies and extra reading) that would not take longer 7 hours to complete (one working day). Participants will have a month and a half to complete this training, so can go at their own pace. All individuals are required to take the e-learning course.

What is meant by a 'trail'? At Trash Free Trails we define a 'trail' as ‘recognised’ places where off road cycling, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, walking, playing, and nature connection takes place. This can include but is not limited to: riding, running and walking trails (official and unofficial), public rights of way, pump tracks, dirt jumps, outdoor skateparks and ramps, urban green spaces including parks and playgrounds, other green pathways such as canal towpaths, and access routes such as lanes, roads and footpaths.

What are the key dates I need to know? Applications open January 25th and close 12pm on March 8th. Successful applicants will be notified by March 15th. Participating gorups will be invited to an online seminar on April 17th. In person training will occur between May 16th - 27th; each group will need to be available for one day in this window.

What support will TFT give after the initial learning period throughout the 2 year project? Seminars will be held online periodically after our in person training period of May 2024. Other online resources, such as contact groups, will also be available.

What does the ‘Toolkit’ consist of? The Toolkit will be a fully equipped package that will help with the research process. It will contain essential tools such as tally counters, tally sheets and writing equipment as well as some special TFT goodies!

Will there be any follow up or continuation after the 2 year period? Yes, yes and yes! You will join and remain part of the Trash Free Trails ecosystem for long after the two year study ends. All of our resources are founded on our DIO (Do It Ourselves) ethos, so you can get involved at anytime!

I have never led a trail clean and don’t have any experience of this kind. Can I still apply? Of course! No experience is required as all learning assets will be provided and in person demonstration of these assets will also be provided.

We are not a sport/activity based organisation, can we still apply? Absolutely! This program is open to anyone with an interest and love for the outdoors. Whether you would like to ride, run or roam is your decision!

Why is the programme 16+? We believe education isn't just for kids, which is why we've designed this programme to be open to young adults and adults. If you're interested in a work with young people, head to the 'Education' tab in the website menu to learn more.

bottom of page