LEAP hosts trail mixer promoting environmental consciousness


Anna Drumm

Hosting a Trail Mixer was also one of LEAP’s first steps in incorporating fun, nature-related activities with volunteer work.

Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP) hosted a Trail Mixer Tuesday, Oct. 19 inviting members and non-members for a nature walk around campus. The club planned to walk the paths behind OU’s Nature Preserve while enjoying some trail mix.

LEAP is a student-run organization driven to promote environmental preservation through consciousness and collaborative action. All students with a passion for environmentalism and sustainability are welcome to join. The group emphasizes their goals of awareness and protection of the environment through volunteer opportunities and interactive events. It also serves as a way for like-minded students to meet and continue to build connections on and off campus.

Like some student organizations on campus, LEAP began to dwindle as the COVID-19 pandemic surged and in-person activities transitioned to a virtual setting. Sophomore and current president of the organization, Josie Kuhlman, searched for an outlet to share her dedication for protecting the environment. After gathering some friends who shared her passion, Kuhlman was able to restart LEAP along with Madelynn Tolan, Cheyenne Wilcox and Molly Stephenson.

Due to the organization’s renewed status, they have been working hard to spread their name around campus to encourage student participation and build relationships with other student organizations. Most of the group’s activities this semester have included volunteer work within the community. They frequently collaborate with ReRoot Pontiac to provide food scraps for composting and farming and clean-up other local areas such as Yates Cider Mill and the Clinton-River Watershed.

The executive board members of LEAP recognize the difficulty of virtual environmental learning but wanted to offer a mix of interactive activities that are fun and safe for all participants.

“So much of environmental science isn’t learning it, it’s doing it and we want to make our club about doing it,” said Wilcox, secretary, and Stepheson, treasurer.

Hosting a Trail Mixer was also one of the group’s first steps in incorporating fun, nature-related activities with volunteer work. Members brought along some bags to pick up any garbage they may have spotted along the way. Kuhlman hopes that by demonstrating simple actions like this, students will be more conscious of small changes they are able to make in their lives to help the environment.

“I feel like it’s just [about] being mindful in general. I know a lot of the time it’s tough to make giant changes in your life. It’s tiny changes, that’s what’s really important,” Kuhlman said.

The organization is continuing their theme of combining fun and nature with a Pumpkin Carving event on Thursday, Oct. 28. LEAP’s executive board invites all students to participate and look out for future events posted on their Instagram.