True Blue Spotlight

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Alumnus Leads by Example in Removing Trash from Trails

In 2014, Seth Orme graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in recreation management. Months later, he was hiking across this country’s most popular scenic trails — but with a mission. Troubled by all the litter he noticed on the wild trails, Orme set out to remove the trash and inspire others to do the same.

He helped start the environmental initiative called “Packing It Out,” saying it was created to inspire a greater sense of environmental stewardship in communities by raising awareness of litter conditions along America’s trails. “Since our start in 2014, we have cleaned two of America’s most iconic and scenic trails — the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail —that’s almost 5,000 miles of scenic trail,” he said. “We’ve inspired thousands to become greater stewards of the land, and we’ve personally removed over 1,800 pounds of trash from those two trails alone.”

Set imageThe outdoor ambassador is a Statesboro native and credits his True Blue experiences at Georgia Southern for serving as “the building blocks for my career and the catalyst needed to advance in my field of study.” The “Packing It Out” project follows the principle that people should improve the conditions of the wilderness when backpacking, camping, climbing or hiking. The initiative has received widespread media coverage, including Gear, Outside magazine, Lonely Planet and more. A new film about the initiative, “Packing it Out: Five Minutes Five Thousand Miles” is an official selection to the 2017–18 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.

Orme returned to Georgia Southern in February. The Center for Sustainability invited him to discuss his conservation efforts while thru-hiking the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest trails. His next litter-clearing mission will start right here in Georgia and will cover the 2,500-mile trek from Cumberland Island to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. — Sandra Bennett