SELFLESS ISOLATION 

SPRING TRAIL CLEAN - DIY ACTION PLANNER

GROUNDHOG DAY

It's Easter Monday and for the 17th day in a row I'm walking my buddies' dog Monty up into a stunning Redwood forest. How I came to be here is a long story ('Stranded by Corona' would probably be the title of the book!) but that's not what you're here for, so I'll get back on track.

I have found myself treasuring this time and place and after my initial, futile, attempts to 'solve' the problems that 'lockdown' was causing Trash Free Trails I began to feel myself slowing down. Not only did this easing of spirit feel incredible it also sparked one of the most enjoyable periods of natural connection and creative thinking in my life, and pretty soon I had an 'idea'. 

 

You see today was meant to be the final day of our 2020 Spring Trail Clean Tour. We were supposed to be in Hamsterley Woods with Danny Hart and British Cycling. But instead I'm stood staring out at the Mid Wales floodplain with an unruly mutt at my heel and...................I'm smiling.

 

I'm smiling because I have remembered why I feel compelled to do what I do. Why I love this forest that I now know like the back of my hand. Why I'm happy to hand count 244 full dog poo bags in a Sheffield carpark. Why the best night of 2019 was sleeping in a pop up Gazebo with Ben and Ellie ahead of the Dalby Forest trail clean. Why, despite being mildly homeless and magnificently poor, I'm proud of myself and excited for the future of Trash Free Trails.

JUST WANT TO GET STARTED?! - No worries, just scroll down until you see the box titled 'NOTICE' and drop straight in :)

WHAT'S YOUR WHY?

I'm so tempted to try and tell you what my 'why' is but that would be defeating the very heart of that 'idea' I mentioned. So, instead I've tried to describe some of the unconscious steps that I have taken on this last 17 days and how they helped me get to know every inch of 'my home patch' and begin to understand what I can do to protect it.  

 

I hope that they help you connect with the wonderful wild places that exist under our very noses and can't wait to hear what your 'whys' are too :) 

"People protect what they love, but love only what they know" Jacques Cousteau

 

The following text outlines the principles of 'Selfless Isolation' and provides guidance on planning your own 'purposeful adventure, but if you'd just like to get cracking simply scroll down to the box titled; 'NOTICE' :) 

 

Thanks for joining in,

Dom 

 

MAPS, MAPS, MAPS!

Is there a cooler feeling than spreading a map out on a table and planning an adventure? Sure, there are defined tracks, trails and boundaries but you get to decide your route. You get to start from anywhere, go as far as you like as fast as you like. 

 

It is this freedom to interpret things in your own way that makes maps, and the adventures they take us on so incredibly exciting. The experiences are totally ours, they’re our successes and (perhaps more memorably) our failures too!

We aim to make all of our projects feel like this. Yes, there’s a map and some big old mountains that we’d like people to help us conquer but there’s so much more to explore along the way and so many uncharted ways to get there…

 

...enter our 'Selfless Isolation - Spring Trail Clean Action Planner!'

D.I.Y. ACTION.

Because we really wanted to get communicate that you can take part in way and at any time you like, we haven't just labelled each element of as; 'Day 1' or 'Step 2' or something equally prescriptive. We were also thinking about maps so much that we wanted to try and make it feel like you were entering your own giant map.

We have also deliberately steered clear of using words like; aim, objective, achieve, stage, phase (you get the gist) as we believe that we, all too often, lose sight of WHY it is we're doing things in the endless pursuit of bigger and better 'RESULTS'! Instead I have really just tried to describe the way that I felt myself gently connecting with my small home patch and provide some simple prompts to maybe nudge you on a purposeful adventure of your own. 

 

THE KEY.

A map key or legend is included with a map to unlock it. It gives you the information needed for the map to make sense. Maps often use symbols or colours to represent things, and the map key explains what they mean. The 'unlocking' of a map is an incredibly exciting and empowering thing, so again rather than 'instructing' you, we have created our own key for you to use a bit like a trail of breadcrumbs.

OUR KEY.

The dictionary defines a ‘landmark’ as; an object or feature of a landscape that is easily seen and recognized from a distance, especially one that enables someone to establish their location.

 

We have borrowed this term to describe the 'landmarks' that punctuated Dom's 'Selfless Isolation' experience in the Redwood forest to create 9 individual activity 'prompt boxes' (BELOW) for you to use like an expedition 'crib sheet'. Please feel free to use them in any way you like as we have just laid them out in the order that works for us :)

NO GUILT.

Before you get started, please try your best to REMEMBER the TFT ‘no guilt rule’! Whatever you are able to do, whenever you are able to do it is ENOUGH! In fact, it’s wayyyyyyyy more than enough, it’s incredible and you will have helped us make a MASSIVE difference to the health of our trails and wild places and the people who use them. This quote by the American environmental essayist, Edward Abbey sums up our thoughts on 'eco-guilt' pretty perfectly. 

 

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here…”Edward Abbey

 

LET US KNOW.

OK, so this kind of goes against the principles of 'Selfless Isolation' but as a small organisation with big ambitions the more positive 'noise' we can generate the better. The best kind of noises are inspiring stories of people donating their time, talent and passion to connect with and protect the places that they love!

 

So, if you felt able to share your 'Selfless Isolation - DIY Spring Trail Clean' stories with us we promise we'll make use of them to protect our trails and wild places for everyone!

 

Connect with us at; trashfreetrails@outlook.com / @trashfreetrails / #selfLESSisolation / #DIYspringtrailclean / #trashfreetrails 

 

GOOD LUCK.

Dom, Ben and the A-TEAM.

*STAY SAFE - Please read the 'COVID 19 SAFETY GUIDANCE' at the foot of this page before beginning.

 1. NOTICE.

If there’s one thing we have loads of right now it’s time and that Lucozade bottle in the hedgerow is going nowhere (for about 450 years!) so the first thing to do is, well actually, is absolutely nothing at all. 

 

That's it! For at least one of your #1adayactions all we're going to do is set out with the intention of truly 'noticing' our surroundings. Nothing more, nothing less. 

INTENTION - Mindfulness in nature. 

 

WORD TRAIL -  present / see / prints / nests / feel / smell / hear / meander / pause / breathe / sun / wind / temperature / water / tired /  connection / pet your dog :)

 

INTENTION 

 

WORD TRAIL

EXAMPLE - FE Forest mindfulness LINK 

 

WORD OF THE DAY - 

MINI REPORT - 3 THOUGHTS - 

 OBSERVE.

 

If the act of noticing means that things come to you as you ride, run or roam then this task is about deliberately paying attention. Hopefully you will have remembered some of the things that you noticed (both good and bad, beautiful and sad) on your previous #1adayadventures, now is the time to take note of the things that you find particularly striking or interesting. 

INTENTION - Paying attention to points of interest, identification of flora, fauna and 'non-natural' occurrences, analytical thinking.

 

WORD TRAIL  - Natural / flora / fauna / plants / foliage / animals / weather / climate / seasons / effort / non-natural / what? / litter / plastic pollution / types / materials / brands / sources / amounts / locations / how? / why? / who?

INTENTION

 

WORD TRAIL  - 

 

EXAMPLE - 

WORD OF THE DAY - 

 

MINI REPORT-  bBird net 

 KNOW. 

We YOU WONT FINISH UNTIL

INTENTION - Knowing and understanding your local geography. Plastic pollution.

 

WORD TRAIL - map making / distances / gradient / position / directions /  terrain / land use / plant growth / litter locations / hot-spots / beautiful moments / funny moments / favourite trails / plastic pollution

EXAMPLE - Rosie Holdsworth map

 

WORD OF THE DAY - ordnance survey LINK

 EXPEDITION PLANNING.

Slow is fast 

To tackle it.

INTENTION

 

WORD TRAIL  - Expedition planning / plan / kit list / route / time / distance / route card / maximise effort / biggest impact / UPDATE MAP :)

 

EXAMPLE - Photo of someone taking a photo

WORD OF THE DAY

MINI REPORT- 

RESOURCES -Ordnance survey link 

DOCUMENT. 

 

Now this is where the ‘project’ will diverge. Litter pick or litter document).

INTENTION -  make a documentary / photography / art / english / biology

 

WORD TRAIL - style / light / timing / story / litter / flora / fauna / thoughts / ideas / plans / UPDATE MAP :)

EXAMPLE - 

 

WORD OF THE DAY - 

GATHER.

 

We this could take days, weeks even if you get obsessed!

Gather (litter and/or evidence). (multiple days!)

INTENTION -Reduce litter pollution, gather evidence, protect your trails and wild places.

 

WORD TRAIL - recyclable items / hotspots first / clean plastic and cans only / no rush / no sharps / no hazardous materials / not before you’ve been past it 4 days in a row! / natural stuff too / sticks / leaves / stones UPDATE MAP :)

 

EXAMPLE - Photo of someone taking a photo

WORD OF THE DAY

WRAP-UP ACTION -UPDATE MAP :)

MINI REPORT -

 RECORD.

 

Now 

INTENTION 

 

WORD TRAIL - sort litter collected at home / create / graphs / charts / lists / artwork /  time spent / distance travelled / numbers of / amounts of / natural / non natural / things / seen / collected / identified / types / materials / brands / sources / condition / UPDATE MAP :)

EXAMPLE - Birdseye Whale or mountain and a bottle bar chart

 

WORD OF THE DAY - 

Charlotte and Evan. PR Ninjas - trash your time is up. We've gathered some facts about the PR Ninjas:
• Ninja don't eat or drink very much, and they never have to go to the bathroom.

• Go anywhere they want instantly
• Catch bullets in their teeth
• Can run 100 miles on their hands
• Train 20 hours/day starting from age 2
• Can hover for hours

 WHAT IS A TRAIL CLEAN? 

 REACT. 

Request (help). BOOSTER POINTS!

INTENTION Letter writing. Positive letters.

 

WORD TRAIL  letter / positive / thanks / recognition / issue / solution ideas / campaign / value of our trails and wild places / polluters / industry / Government / request for positive change /

 

EXAMPLE - Llandegla.

WORD OF THE DAY

MINI REPORT - 

REPORT

Now 

 

UPLOAD IT / POST IT / TAG US / SEND IT TO US PLEEEEASE :)

INTENTION - Presenting your findings. Letter writing. Thank you but…. Ask for/final push for a Deposit Return Scheme (reference SAS) or better recognition of the value of our trails and wild places. Release your documentary and final map.

 

WORD TRAIL - Your map is perfect! / write a mini-report  / include / photos / illustrations / diagrams / stories / evidence / calculations / stats / methods / findings / recommendations / ideas / solutions / outputs / documentary / screencast / Teddy talks / presentation FINISH YOUR MAP

EXAMPLE - 

 

WORD OF THE DAY - 

 REWARD

INTENTION - Recognising and celebrating good work. 

 

WORD TRAIL  - Remember / pausing to reflect / proud / you made a difference / you are awesome / tell someone else they are awesome / community / reset / reward / switch off / play /

 

EXAMPLE

WORD OF THE DAY

MINI REPORT - 

COVID 19 SAFETY GUIDANCE

GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE

  1. Before doing anything check the latest Government advice HERE

  2. For outdoor sports specific guidance check Government advice HERE and British Cycling guidance HERE

  3. Only go outside your home boundaries once a day for exercise #1aday

  4. Does your planned activity fit with the simple; 'NO CAR, NO GNAR, NOT FAR' rule?

If what you would like to do doesn’t contravene these the here are some of the ways that we are staying safe during our own #selfLESSisolation DIY Spring Trail Cleans.

COVID 19 SAFE TRAIL CLEANING  

  1. DO NOT touch any litter that you have not walked past on at least 4 consecutive days. Coronaviurs COVID 19 remains active and infectious on surfaces/things for up to 72 hrs.

  2. It is NOT necessary to collect the litter to make a difference. Simply documenting, recording and reporting your Selfless Isolation experience and making a plan to collect it after this crisis has passed is an amazing and impactful thing to do!

  3. If you do feel comfortable collecting the litter ONLY gather clean plastic and cans (recyclable stuff is the most impactful!).

  4. There is NO NEED to collect huge amounts in one go, if there’s one thing we’ve got loads of it’s TIME! 

  5. DO NOT collect any sharp, heavy and/or hazardous items/materials. Once again, documenting and reporting these is a much more effective and sustainable solution.

  6. Just like any litter pick, keep everyone safe, be sensible and look after each other at all times.

  7. THANK YOU :) 

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