Educating young scouts on Leave No Trace principles



Project Status: 2013

The primary goal of Kandersteg International Scout Centre’s guided hiking programs are to provide safe and educational 1 or 2 day hiking trips around the Swiss Alps to Scouts from around the world. We aim to not only to get Scouts out and explore the majestic trails the mountains have to offer, but at the same time, educate them on local ecology and ethically sound practices through Leave No Trace (LNT) principles.   We hope that our impact is one that they will never forget and can take home with them to their home, be it in Switzerland or on the other side of the world. With our Scouts coming from all over the world, we have a unique opportunity to spread a positive impact to corners not thought of. If they can take in the Alps and learn about how the local ecology works, then they can be excited by their local ecology at home and look into what positive influences in which they can contribute.


For this project the Kandersteg International Scout Centre deals with many local communities in many of our activities. Using local facilities, the centre has a positive and prominent presence in our little Swiss village, The Centre has the unique added value that staff comes from around the world. Last summer alone, we had 7 hiking guides from 7 different countries around the world, including: Cyprus, Faeroe Islands, Brazil, United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, and Portugal. Proudly, we not only have these diverse cultural opportunities, but the guides are equally grateful to work in the Swiss Alps. They run hikes and are equipped with knowledge that they can return to their home countries, being able to run and teach their own scouts on mountains / ecology in their own country.

We organize all our guided hikes through our programme department. Along with our climbing and Snow and Ice trips, each guided activity is run by a previously trained staff guide, whom has done the guided hike at least 2 times before. The trips are organized with a maximum participant to guide ratio of 15:1, although some guided hikes take less people because of hike intensity. This is to keep the group easily and safely manageable but also educational interacting easier for the guide. The guides also go through certain checklists, not only in the terms of equipment but also a list of available topics of discussion while hiking.


We have a very through process of recycling here at KISC that encourage all our guests to think ecologically. On all floors of our chalet, including our 2 upper huts and over 1,000 person campsite, we have recycling centres (photos enclosed). Without rubbish bins in the rooms, this makes people to go to the centres and recycle. We recycle all sorts of paper, metal, aluminium cans, PETE bottles, PP2 and PP5 plastics, polystyrene, cardboard, different colours of glass, batteries, and most electronics here at the centre. Our catering and huts have a collection points for old cooking oil. In our admin offices, we recycle and print all paper we can on reused paper (as in if it has been printed on only one side, we put the paper back in to print on the unused side, photos also enclosed). We take most of this recyclable material to the village recycling centre every week, and are currently looking into way to even gain some profit from our aluminium recycling, from a aluminium recycling company in Thun, Switzerland.

As partners with Leave No Trace , we have been practicing all the principles naturally for a while now and hope to encourage our guests in many way to come. Currently we are looking at putting LNT informations in posters at our upper hut, our Eco Room Display Boards, easy to carry guide books for our hiking, climbing and Snow and Ice Guides. We also incorporate LNT into our award program. We have a number of awards where people can purchase badges after fulfilling certain requirements, which include our ECO Award and KISC Challenge award, which have LNT requirements in order to obtain the award. Lastly, along with our recycling programme and environmental policy, we have a specific part of our seasonal staff training (ever 3 months) devoted to LNT. For some, this is a brand new concept for them to implement while enjoying outdoor activities, while for others it is a reoccurring programme that they can use to help teach fellow staff members.

Volunteer opportunities are numerous. We require recycling of waste at all of our mountain huts we own. We also heavily emphasis clean up of rubbish on the trail if encountered. Back at our main campsite, we offer daily service projects that groups can sign up for in order to give back to the local environment.


Jonathan Morgan