This course provides participants with a comprehensive overview of Leave No Trace skills and ethics through practical application in a field-based setting. It is run as a combination of a one-day classroom component, three-day/two-night field component, and one-day community outreach opportunity. Students will practice Leave No Trace teaching strategies by delivering a planned lesson. The Master Educator course prepares students to deliver two-day Leave No Trace Trainer courses and one-day or shorter Awareness Workshops. Course completion results in Master Educator registration with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a Leave No Trace Master Educator certificate, and a one-year Leave No Trace membership.

General Information

Course Length

40 hours / 5 days


Comfort in the backcountry.

Certifications Received

Leave No Trace Master Educator

Continuing Education

Teachers in NC can receive continuing education hours.

Course Outline

This course will run rain or shine, so be prepared for whatever weather we could encounter. You will be responsible for providing your own camping gear. Landmark will provide group gear for cooking, a classroom shelter, and instructional gear. You will need to leave room to pack your share of the group gear and food.
  • Day 1: 8:30AM Course start at Base classroom. We’ll cover the foundations of the course in a variety of formats (lecture, discussions, group breakouts, practical workshops, etc). Trip packout and gear shakedown at the end of the day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are on your own.
  • Day 2: 8:00AM Class reconvenes, final packout, and travel to the trailhead. Meals are provided from lunch through the end of the course. Enter the backcountry portion of the course, and begin Teaching Topics. Setup camp. Evening activities.
  • Day 3: Pack up and move camp. Continue Teaching Topics.
  • Day 4: Pack up and prepare to return to Base. Finish Teaching Topics. Return to Base and break down gear, clean-up. Showers and preparation for Day 5. Bring “street clothes”, something tidy and clean for Day 5 activities.
  • Day 5: Pack up and drive to Oconaluftee Visitors’ Center in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Interface with visitors; provide demonstrations, literature, and activities for groups. Graduation and departure by 3PM.
This institution is operated under special use permit with the Nantahala National Forest.

Packing List

Backcountry Gear List

Course Expectations

Teaching Topics: The Teaching Topic is the cornerstone of the Master Educator experience. It provides the opportunity to prepare a lesson plan, deliver it, and receive immediate feedback from peers and instructors. Each Master Educator candidate is expected to teach one of the seven principles of Leave No Trace to the class, incorporating into their topic the content and style necessary to teach a group they may encounter as a Master after this course. For example, if the candidate will be working with school groups, s/he should address our class as school-aged students and prepare activities or discussion to fit that particular audience. Or, if the candidate will be working in general education at trailheads or on the trail, s/he should address our class as recreationists s/he might encounter. In preparing your topic, imagine that we (your classmates) know nothing about Leave No Trace. Each candidate will be evaluated through peer review and by course instructors for depth of content, appropriateness for the chosen audience, and instructional style. Sign up for your topic with your registration material, and get online to research:

Additional Details

Please Note: The Master Educator course is not designed to provide instruction on backcountry living skills. The backcountry aspect of the experience is meant to provide relevance to the curriculum, through practicing Leave No Trace techniques and methods, observing examples of impact, and creating an awareness of use and its purposes. The course itinerary is very full, and does not allow time for teaching how to light stoves, cook, purify water, and set up tents, for example. It is assumed that participants come with a level of comfort for living in a backcountry setting, and with all their own gear. If you feel that you would require instruction in any of these backcountry living skills, please contact our office to discuss your goals and alternatives available to you.