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A nationally prominent conservation organization has selected an Eastern Kentucky University professor as its representative for the entire state of Kentucky.

Dr. Brian Clark was recently appointed by the Center for Outdoor Ethics to be the Kentucky State Advocate for Leave No Trace. In the role, he will facilitate programming and education on Leave No Trace, a set of ethical guidelines for campers, hikers and others that helps them minimize their impact on natural environments. The guidelines encourage outdoor enthusiasts to leave natural areas so undisturbed it's as if they were never there.

“The mission of Leave No Trace is more important now than ever before,” Dr. Clark said. “I look forward to helping the state of Kentucky educate and inspire those who come here to enjoy our wonderful natural areas.”

Dr. Clark, an assistant professor in the Department of Recreation and Park Administration, has dedicated his career to the outdoors and the advancement of Leave No Trace ethics, including his doctoral dissertation on Leave No Trace Ethics Awareness among rock climbers in Red River Gorge.

He was first introduced to Leave No Trace as an undergraduate student at EKU. He participated in an Outdoor Educator course with the National Outdoor Leadership School, a month-long mountaineering course in the North Cascades of Washington state. After graduating with a degree in outdoor recreation and natural resources, Dr. Clark directed EKU Adventure Programs for Campus Recreation for 8 years, during which time he earned his Leave No Trace Master Educator certification.

As the state advocate, Dr. Clark will:

  • Provide support for local groups, individuals, businesses and organizations looking for Leave No Trace education, training or outreach.
  • Respond to local Leave No Trace inquiries.
  • Build and coordinate a network of volunteers to support statewide Leave No Trace efforts.
  • Provide local support for Center initiatives, including Leave No Trace for Every Kid and Leave No Trace in Every Park.
  • Track and communicate Leave No Trace education in Kentucky through quarterly reporting.
  • Manage a small annual budget and distribute education materials.

Clark said the position will also allow him to provide more learning opportunities for EKU students, and the ability for them to get involved with the organization as he did.

“Kentucky has a tremendous amount of outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Dr. Clark, “and with that comes an importance to enjoy our natural areas responsibly, so that these opportunities can be there for our future generations.”