Welcome fellow citizen scientists!
We're proud to be able to make our full (22 page) State of Our Trails (SoOT) Report - Baseline Study available for everyone to download. reaching the first stage of this 5 year project is an incredible moment and we thank each and every citizen scientist who helped us do it.
Dom, Rich and the A-TEAM.
Read on for some background then download the full report HERE.
THE WHAT & WHY
Trash Free Trails C.I.C. is a community focussed, not for profit organisation. Always positive and solution focussed we are an inclusive call to arms for riders, runners and roamers alike. Our mission is to reduce single use pollution (aka; Litter!) on our trails and wild places by 75% by 2025 and (re)connect people with nature through purposeful adventure.
We will achieve this by;
Empowering and enabling community led environmental stewardship.
Removing ecologically, socially and economically significant amounts of single use pollution.
Establishing a scientific understanding of the causes and impacts of single use pollution
Inspiring people to find connection with the natural world and improve wellbeing.
Using the issue of single use pollution as an educational tool
Developing a long term advocacy plan and supporting other, intersecting movements.
That’s a big ask; especially when you consider that when we started and set
our mission statement we had no idea how much SUP – formally known as litter – there is out there.
The State of Our Trails (SoOT) Report - Baseline Study seeks to set a baseline. Something by which we can measure ourselves against in the future. In many ways the report represents the “end of the beginning” for us as an organisation. It is the culmination of the first years of us as an organisation; forming, finding direction and growing. This report summarises our baseline understanding of “the problem” as we currently see it; based on the citizen science of over 300 of our members and we're proud to present it to you here for download (let us know what you think @trashfreetrails please).
We undertook the study primarily because there was nothing already out there that told us what we wanted to find out: how much SUP are we removing from the trails and – just as importantly – what impact is that having? How are our actions benefiting the environment, those who volunteer, and the wider community?
Now our SoOT Report project moves into a new phase, which will see us working in partnership with Bangor University until 2023. Our volunteer driven data collection will now synchronise with a robust academic process to create a pioneering Masters Research project paper that aims to establish a baseline understanding of the causes and impacts of single use pollution on on our trails and terrestrial ecosystems, with the purpose of informing a sustainable plan to reduce litter and increase stewardship of the natural world through citizen science.
In short, we will do more of what we are doing now, but better. We will be able to achieve some of the things we could only dream of even a year ago. And we will do this while acting as a massive, small organisation.
That’s not an oxymoron. There are, and will remain, relatively few people who are full time employees of Trash Free Trails. But, we will make the most of our growing volunteer base, and the power of citizen science where we can. As more and more people reconnect with their wild places, they will become natural custodians and we will give them the tools, guidance and support to facilitate this stewardship.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
We’ve explained what we’ll be doing next, but what will you do next? (after reading all 22 pages of the report of course!).
If you’ve got this far, you have probably realised that the success of Trash Free Trails in meeting our aims is dependent on you. How can you help?
“I love this, but I want to geek out more!”- You can also see and analyse the data for yourself. It’s held here [link]. We’d love to hear what findings your DIO analysis throws up!
“I’m interested in the background to Trash Free Trail’s approach”- You can read more about our values and history HERE. We stand on the shoulders of giants when it comes to much of what we do, learning from organisations like OSPAR (named after the Oslo and Paris Environmental conventions), Surfers Against Sewage (where our Managing Director, Dom, worked for 9 years) and academic studies around the world. We look forward to adding to that body of evidence, with a specific focus on the trail environment.
“I want to take part”- You can be a citizen scientist anytime you like. Our Do It Ourselves Toolkit gives you guidance on how to conduct a trail clean and report your findings to us online. We will keep track of incoming data and publish an updated report tracking our progress each year on World Environment Day, June 5th at our State of Our Trails Summit.
Thank you for your interest in our work, together we will protect and enhance our trails and wild places.
Dom, Rich and the A-TEAM.