Blog 18 April 2024 By Lauren, 2023-24 UK Youth Ambassador

Making your DofE expedition sustainable

2023-24 UK Youth Ambassador Lauren. She is standing on the edge of a rock smiling to camera, in the background we can see green grass and hills.

We’re sharing our top tips to help you have a sustainable expedition!

During your expedition, whether you’re walking, canoeing, cycling, or even on horseback, you are fully immersed in the beautiful natural world around us: the grazing sheep on the mountainside; the summery smell of wildflowers; the picturesque mountaintop views; the rhythmic chirping of crickets and the golden morning sunrise (or often, torrential rain).

Throughout the DofE programme, there are many opportunities to help protect nature. By volunteering as a litter picker, supporting nature community groups, developing your skill in environmental awareness, or advocating for positive sustainable changes.

However, you may be wondering, how can I make my expedition more sustainable?

1. Preparing for your expedition

Let’s take this step-by-step. First, we need to prepare for the expedition which will probably include sourcing a rucksack, walking boots, waterproof clothing and maybe some other clothes or handy gadgets. Initially, you might want to run to the shops (if you do, make sure to take advantage of your DofE Card for fantastic discounts!) but the more sustainable option is to ask your family and friends to borrow any items they might have!

Not only is this better for the environment as you’re reducing your carbon footprint, but you will be saving money too!

2. Plan your routes

We know from the Countryside Code that respect is a key part to exploring the outdoors. When you’re on your expedition, it’s important to stick to footpaths and trails which have been mapped out. Not only do the designated paths help explorers, like yourself, find their way, but it protects the wildlife too. Trailing off course can damage natural habitats as it may disturb nests, plants, or burrows where animals live.

Your expedition shouldn’t be an obstacle course! Avoid risky hurdles such as jumping over stiles into farmers’ fields or plunging down some water rapids. Understanding the routes on your journey leads to a more enjoyable expedition for both you and the wildlife around you.

3. Leave no trace

On your expeditions, you’ll be passing many beautiful landscapes in which animals and other people also explore and enjoy. It’s vital that you take all your rubbish and items with you – maybe consider taking all the food for your expedition in reusable containers to cut back on single-use plastic and reduce the rubbish you need to carry home!

4. Learn about nature

A large part of the expedition is completing your expedition team goal. Perhaps you could take this opportunity to learn about the fauna and flora you discover as a team? Or even better, make a vlog showcasing the beautiful nature and your newfound knowledge!

Our actions are driven by awareness so teaching yourself and the people around you about nature and the biodiversity that exists will help and motivate more people to protect it!

Be sure to take in any wildlife from a safe distance. Although it may make entertaining content for a vlog, you should always ensure you always keep yourself and the wildlife safe.

5. Using a Stove

The iconic expedition item – it wouldn’t be DofE without one!

A variety of fuels can be used with camping stove. However, in the past toxic chemicals were used which were harmful for humans and the environment! The good news is the use of bioethanol is on the rise, so we have a cheaper, less harmful alternative available meaning you can cook your pasta after a long day’s expedition extra-eco!

Talking of food, why not have a go at meat-free meal options! Pasta or rice, with some beans, veg or even protein-balls are perfect to fill you up during your adventure!

Finally, make sure to bring the right amount. It’s important to eat lots of carbs to give you plenty of energy for the expedition but aim to portion your food to avoid wastage.

The Expedition, and your DofE Award as a whole, is a wonderful opportunity to embrace nature and learn more about the wildlife that surrounds us. Sadly, the environment is in danger and therefore we need to take responsibility for our actions to help protect the beautiful world around us – ensuring it remains accessible for future generations to enjoy.


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