Rather than despairing about the state of our planet, a small group of motivated runners with a deep passion for wild places have launched a new climate leadership camp in Australia – Co-founder Simon Harris explains their goal.


Initially developed and launched in the US by trail runner Dakota Jones, Footprints is making its way to Australia, in partnership with Patagonia.

The very first camp will be held from the 20th-25th of April, 2023 in Warburton, the lands of the Wurundjeri people, Victoria.

Footprints camp is dedicated to the idea that we all benefit from a healthy environment. We want to understand personal and external environmental impacts and find solutions through the context of the outdoor industry


– Dakota Jones

Camp Life at Footprints

The premise is simple: the camp brings together 20 exceptional people who love to run (or walk) for five days to bond, develop environmental knowledge and leadership skills, and connect with grassroots organisations that are active in conserving and protecting wild lands. The purpose for this camp will be supporting the creation of the Great Forest National Park.

Each morning campers go for group runs (or walks), then spend the afternoons and evenings workshopping their group projects through immersive, collaborative sessions.



Campers will be challenged, have fun, advance climate solutions, and eat delicious home-cooked food whilst working closely with world-class mentors and inspirational speakers such as Beau Miles.

The goal is for campers to be inspired by what they can do and to come away feeling prepared to take action on climate change.  The camps provide the inspiration, know-how, and confidence to be effective climate action leaders.

The Campaign for the Great Forest National Park

The Footprints team will be joined by Patagonia to support the creation of projects and initiatives for local environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth Melbourne and Wildlife of the Central Highlands, who have been advocating for the protection of the area for years through the creation of the Great Forest National Park.

‘We want runners to bring their ideas, initiatives, and projects to the camp for development to contribute to the ongoing campaigns to protect an additional 355,000 hectares of native forest through the Great Forest National Park Proposal said Majell Backhausen, Patagonia’s Community Sports Manager.


Footprints Running Camp Want to Create the Next Generation of Sports Climate Leaders, Simon Harris

@bryanhynes_ | Courtesy of Patagonia


‘As this community of runners and the sport of trail running grows, so too will the number of runners who, once they experience and understand our wild places, choose to act, give back, and protect them,’ continued Majell.

Last year, Majell decided to take on a 275km trail run through Victoria’s proposed Great Forest National Park. On the way, he learned all-too-well why this remarkable country deserves protection.

Applications Open Now

If that sounds interesting to you, applications for the first camp in Victoria are open from now until 22nd February 2023. Prospective campers submit an online application where they detail their ideas for a project that addresses a problem and supports the Great Forest National Park proposal.

The camp includes food, lodging, instruction, materials, and transportation during the camp. You can also apply for full or partial scholarships.

Inspired? Come up with an idea for a project, and get involved! As the tagline says: We all leave footprints; yours can change the world.

Feature image thanks to @kurtmatthewsphotography