Two Organizations Pair Trail Running with Environmental Science

Starting in the final week of July, 2021, two prominent organizations are rising to meet environmental challenges. Footprints Running Camp and the Athlete Climate Academy are pairing running with environmental science through a series of workshops with expert speakers. Each group is showing participants the environmental challenges of the places they run, and also showing them how to take direct action that will rise to those challenges.

Let’s take a closer look at how each program plans to closely connect trail runners with the issues facing their beloved running terrain.

Footprints Running Camp

Founded by ultrarunner Dakota Jones, Footprints Running Camp is hosting this summer’s in-person program in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains from July 25 through August 1. Camp organizers worked in tandem with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to give participants week-long access to rarely experienced wilderness.

Footprints selected a small group of runners from a pool of applicants for in-person attendance. To obtain a spot in the program, Footprints required applicants to present “a possible solution to an environmental problem” in their community.

According to Jones and his Footprints crew, the Footprints Running Camp gives participants access to “some of the smartest people in the industry about how to maximize [their] positive impact” by giving each person knowledge and tools to implement what they learn for the long haul. Furthermore, the Footprints team promises to disseminate successful strategies: “We tell the world about it, so other people can create their own solutions.”

Footprints Running Camp works in partnership with the brand Salomon.

The Athlete Climate Academy

The Athlete Climate Academy is a virtual platform based out of the United Kingdom that kicks off live on Tuesday, July 27 at 11 a.m. U.S. Mountain Time. The Academy is a partnership between Kilian Jornet, the Kilian Jornet Foundation, and the science-based education organization Anturus Education.

The Academy offers students live sessions, recorded content, and a Climate Toolkit that is “designed to give outdoor athletes the background they need to discuss climate change and environmental issues with confidence.”

The sessions will bring in various scientists and specialized speakers to host discussions around environmental issues. Topics will center on how climate change affects not only the outdoor industry, but the world at large.

Ultimately, the Athlete Climate Academy looks to shape participants into civic instructors qualified to educate the public on current and ongoing climate issues. The Academy’s first session (embedded below) will focus on humanity’s contribution to global warming and give an assessment of the current situation.

Two Approaches, One Mission: Environmental Education for Trail Runners

To learn more about how the two organizations plan to take bigger strides with environmental science, and to join their shared mission, check out the links below:

Jilli Cluff

writes and edits for iRunFar and other outdoor-driven outlets. Those closest to her might say she's an avid climber, middling longboarder, and slow (but optimistic!) trail runner. Jilli is based out of Austin, Texas, where she takes up residence with her one-eared blue heeler, George. Follow her on Instagram.