Rather than despairing about the state of our planet, a small group of motivated runners with a deep passion for wild places have launched a new climate leadership camp in Australia.
Initially developed and launched in the US by trail runner, Dakota Jones, Footprints is making its way to Australia, in partnership with Patagonia, with the very first camp being held April 20th-25th 2023 in Warburton, the lands of the Wurundjeri people, Victoria.
“Footprints camp is dedicated to the idea that we all benefit from a healthy environment. We want to understand personal and external environmental impacts and find solutions through the context of the outdoor industry.” Said Dakota.
The premise is simple: the camp brings together 20 exceptional people who love to run (or walk) for five days to bond, develop environmental knowledge and leadership skills, and connect with grassroots organisations that are active in conserving and protecting wild lands through the creation of the Great Forest National Park (enter film link).
Each morning campers go for group runs (or walk), then spend the afternoons and evenings workshopping their group projects through immersive, collaborative sessions.
Campers will be challenged, have fun, advance climate solutions, and eat delicious home-cooked food whilst working closely with world-class mentors and inspirational speakers such as Beau Miles.
Simon Harris, the Co-founder of Footprints Australia said ‘Campers will have a fun experience and be inspired by what others are doing, by what they can do, and come away feeling prepared to take action on climate change. We want to provide them with the inspiration, know-how and confidence to be effective climate action leaders.”
The Great Forest Case
The Footprints team will be joined by Patagonia to support the campers to create projects and initiatives for local environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth Melbourne and Wildlife of the Central Highlands, who have been advocating for the protection of the area for years through the creation of the Great Forest National Park.
We want runners to bring their ideas, initiatives, and projects to the camp for development to contribute to the ongoing campaigns to protect an additional 355,000 hectares of native forest through the Great Forest National Park Proposal” said Majell Backhausen, Patagonia’s Community Sports Manager.
“As this community of runners and the sport of trail running grows, so too will the number of runners who, once they experience and understand our wild places, choose to act, give back, and protect them.” continues Majell.
Applications for the first camp in Victoria are now open until February 22, 2023. Prospective campers submit an online application where they detail their ideas for a project that addresses a problem to support the Great Forest National Park proposal.
The camp includes food, lodging, instruction, materials, and transportation during the camp. Campers can apply for full or partial scholarships. Apply here.