Visit Mountaineer Country CVB to Present at Leave No Trace Global Summit in Colorado

Two destination development coordinators from Visit Mountaineer Country Convention Visitor Bureau (VMCCVB) will speak at the first-ever Leave No Trace (LNT) Global Summit in Boulder, Colo. this October.

VMCCVB’s Stella Hehnly and Kathryn Carter were selected to give a 30-minute presentation on the LNT workshops they led in 5th grade classrooms across Mountaineer Country over the last year.

“We had a goal of giving these kids a taste of outdoor responsibility while showing off the amazing job opportunities in tourism, and it was definitely a success,” Carter said. “Seeing the kids get excited about tourism and taking care of our outdoors was one of the most rewarding experiences yet.”

The LNT program involves educating students on the principles of being good stewards for the environment and gives the students an opportunity to earn a national LNT certification. Students are also educated on potential job opportunities in tourism.

Through the pilot program, and in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Tourism (WVDT), Hehnly and Carter trained more than 1,200 kids across nine schools in Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties, and the WVDT’s Destination Development Director Ennis Smith will join them at the Global Summit.

“Teaching these students about LNT has been one of my favorite projects as a Destination Development Coordinator,” Hehnly said. “As a Morgantown local, it was heartwarming to return to my elementary school and share ways to protect our homelands. West Virginia is a beautiful state bursting with outdoor gems, and our students are the gateway to preserving this natural beauty for generations to come.”

Their presentation at the LNT Global Summit will highlight the work they have done in Mountaineer Country to educate elementary schoolers on how to act responsibly in the outdoors and how that translates to the tourism industry. The summit is hosted by the Leave No Trace organization which has been researching and educating people on how to protect the natural world for 30 years. Carter, Hehnly and Smith will be representing Mountaineer Country and W. Va. alongside national and international leaders, researchers and advocates at the three-day conference from Oct. 7-9.