The Biome Line

Strategic redesign of education materials and distribution for exponential increase in market accessibility

Company: NOLS, The National Outdoor Leadership School

Project Outcome: New education strategy for "Leave No Trace (LNT)" camping practices to accommodate in-field and self-teaching applications.

Team: Malory Johnson


Initial Research

Exploratory Interviews
interviewed all levels of backpackers about LNT awareness, experiences and practices
Impact Analysis
reviewed NOLS departmental publications and research
In-depth Field Testing
assessed LNT curriculum with new backpackers

interview subjects were sampled from key locations across the country

interview subjects were sampled from key locations across the country

Education Retention Research

Observed 5 pairs of entry level campers. Each pair was given LNT literature in advance, but would not refer to the materials during the exercise. Teams were tasked to walk though the main decisions points of a backpacking trip. For example: identifying a campsite, and establishing sleep, food and bathroom locations. Campers were interviewed during the exercise about their decision making process, and then afterwards about confidence in their ability to correctly implement "Leave no Trace" camping practices. This framed an understanding of the effectiveness of existing self-teaching applications for LNT.

Co-creation brainstorming session with a a group of entry level campers.

Co-creation brainstorming session with a a group of entry level campers.

Education Need

The current Leave No Trace curriculum was designed to be taught by an educator. 

Teachers carry the entire textbook in their heads. Their classroom is outdoors and lessons are in real-time.

As a result:
self-teaching applications of leave No trace are challenging

The Solution

An environment specific Field reference guide. Each guide outlines the fundamental Leave no Trace principles and environmental protection priorities. 

The guide equips the backpacker to make informed decisions during the trip with a quick review of the materials and reference along the way. 

Education Distribution Through Retail

The traditional distribution model of community educator to student only reaches a portion of the backpacking community. If LNT education is distributed through a product, it has the potential to reach everyone! A tent is the most fundamental piece of gear a new backpacker will purchase, making it the ideal product for education distribution.

4 tents were designed, one for each biome of the United States. Each is designed to reduce impact on it's environment, and protect the backpacker from it's unique conditions.

The Biome Membership

Since each tent is designed for a specific environment and new backpackers want the flexibility to travel, a rental system is an ideal solution. 

Each tent comes with: 
Field Reference
Information on how to practice LNT for that environment. 
Membership Card
Ability to rent the appropriate tent per part of the country.

Benefits for Each Stakeholder


Prarie Tent Prototype