Field Guide to Becoming a Successful Outdoor
Educator at the University of Minnesota Duluth
2006-07…identifying the elements of success!
Boulder Lake, Winter Outdoor Skills
Why professionalism expectations? When you are in class with your peers from other
majors and with instructors from a variety of departments and colleges and when you
are out in the community, you are representing the Recreation - Outdoor Education
Major and the profession of outdoor education; their impressions of the program and of
the field will be shaped by their impressions of YOU!
Professional Involvement: Knowledge of and participation within professional
organizations play an important role in your education and training. We encourage
you to join professional organizations at the state and national levels. Some relevant
professional organizations include the Association for Experiential Education,
National Association for Interpretation, North American Association for
Environmental Education, the National Student Recreation and Park Society,
Minnesota Association for Environmental Education, and Minnesota Naturalist's
Association. We also encourage you to attend seminars, workshops, and
conferences, such as the weekly environmental education seminar and the Student
Outdoor Educators Conference held in the northland each April. It is through
participation in these professional organizations and conferences that you'll be
exposed to the emerging trends and issues in our field and have the opportunity to
network with leaders and potential employers in the field.
Work Ethic and Commitment to the Program: While faculty share in the responsibility
for professionally preparing you for a career in outdoor education, it is ultimately your
responsibility to develop your potential as an outdoor educator. You'll get out of your
coursework and program requirements what you put into them! This means making
coursework and experiences in the outdoors a priority in your schedule, actively
participating in class, and learning from your peers. This also means seeking the
advisement and academic services you need. We also expect that you'll follow the
University's policies relating to academic integrity outlined in the student conduct
code. A strong work ethic also involves documenting your learning and skill
development, such as keeping track of the trainings and conferences you've
attended, your extra-curricular activities and community involvement, and samples of
your work, so that when you are preparing your resume or for an interview, you have
a record your work. Another key aspect is reflection. While our program is built on
experiential learning, you don't learn simply through experience or simply by doing,
you learn by reflecting on what you've experienced and what you've done! Challenge
yourself to be a self-reflective learner, thinking about how you can apply what you
are learning to other situations and on how you can improve as an educator.
Professional Presentation of Assignments and Professional Appearance: You are
expected to use correct and effective forms of oral and written communication.
Papers and projects should, unless otherwise stated, be typed and follow the form
and style documented in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association. Specific guidelines for written work will be provided in your classes, for
writing assistance please note the following UMD resource:
http://writing.umn.edu/docs/sws/swgpdf.pdf. Since much of what you do as an outdoor
educator involves verbal communication, the ability to communicate effectively and
to present yourself professionally is integral and will be evaluated throughout your
coursework. You will be treated as a pre-professional, as a student preparing to be a
professional outdoor educator. How you dress and the level of seriousness with
which you approach your assignments indicates your seriousness in pursuing this
field. When presenting or teaching in class or in the community, you are expected to
dress professionally; ripped or dirty jeans, athletic shorts, mini-skirts, sweat clothes,
short tops exposing midriffs, hats, lack of undergarments, etc. are not professional.
For teaching in the field, jeans may be appropriate, but ripped clothing, t-shirts with
slogans, and flip-flops are not.
Respect for the Formal Academic (University) Environment: This includes attending
classes, arriving to class on time and not leaving before the class has ended, making
sure your cell phone is off during class, and being open to the opinions and ideas of
others. This also means coming to class prepared, with readings and assignments
completed. It is your responsibility to follow the course syllabus; while instructors
may remind you of upcoming meeting locations or assignments, it is ultimately your
responsibility to follow the syllabus provided. It is also your responsibility to contact
another student for the material covered and/or assignments given in class when you
Integrity as an Educator: You are expected to carry out your program responsibilities,
whether in or out of class, with respect for the rights, dignity, and well-being of peers,
instructors, participants and others with whom you come in contact. You are also
expected to exhibit a willingness to serve diverse groups of people. While it is
expected that you model environmentally responsible behaviors and help the
participants you teach to develop skills for interacting in the outdoors in a minimum-
impact manner, it is important that you distinguish between being an outdoor
educator and being an environmental advocate. As an educator, you can help
participants develop the knowledge and skills to act responsibly regarding the
environment, but it is ultimately up to participants to make their own decisions
regarding what to think and do in specific situations, and to allow them to come to
their own conclusions and opinions. For example, you can personally believe hunting
is wrong and on your own time devote time to this issue, but to preach this view to
your participants as this is the only or correct belief, or making participants feel
uncomfortable if they hunt is not acting with integrity as an educator.
Eagle Lake, Winter Outdoor Skills
(See attached course progression sequence.)
For students committed to, or considering the recreation/outdoor education
major, the first coursework you want to schedule is Outdoor Skills I (PE1203) and
Introduction to Recreation (REC 1000); ideally, these are scheduled during your
first fall semester at UMD. In the spring of your first year, we recommend that
you take Outdoor Skills II (PE 1204) and Introduction to Recreation (REC 1000)
(if you did not take this course in the fall). Recreation Programming (REC 2300)
should be taken in the spring if you completed Rec 1000 in the fall.
Consider canoeing and cross country skiing (PE 1508 & PE 1500) for year one of
the program. These classes will help prepare you for the teaching canoeing and
teaching skiing courses; further, these classes will get you out and active!
One more first year program course to consider: Emergency Response and CPR
(HLTH 1700 & 1650). Many of our students have access to a Wilderness First
Responder course off campus; these are excellent courses and meet the
requirements of our program, talk to your advisor if you prefer to take this course
During this early phase of the program, you are working toward completion of
your Liberal Education requirements as well, a good guide to these courses is
available in the Student Affairs Office (SpHC 121).
You are encouraged to apply for the program by the end of your freshman year;
you can do this at the Student Affairs Office.
Once you are admitted you will be assigned an advisor—check in with your
advisor each semester during the advisement period; they will do their best to
guide you and answer your specific questions and concerns.
As a second year student in the program you will want to register for ENED3341
(fall) & ENED 3342 (spring), these courses are the Field Interpretation sequence.
You should also complete the Recreation Programming course (REC 2300) in
the spring if you were unable to do so in year one. Consider taking a May term
course after you complete your Field Interpretation sequence, ENED 4343 is a
field based May term course on Isle Royale.
Other courses to consider for year two: Outdoor Recreation (REC 3330) in the
fall and Foundation of Environmental Education (ENED 4555) & Large Events
Management (REC 3327) in the spring.
Continue efforts toward completion of your Liberal Education requirements.
The above recommendations will bring you into year three in great standing,
ready to dig into the upper division courses with a solid foundation. Your advisor
will work with you to create a course plan that meets both your needs and UMD
Please note that as you begin your upper division requirements you will begin to
discuss your internship with your advisor. Internship is your chance to apply
your new skills and knowledge in a professional setting while learning in the field;
internship is an essential component of our program. MANDATORY Internship
Meeting for all Juniors and Seniors, Monday Sept. 25, 2006, 4 PM in SpHC
With each class required for the major, select a piece of quality work that
represents your learning, your growth and your professional path. We will guide
you on this process to create an authentic record of your achievements.
As in any field there are certain tools that are necessary to properly perform the tasks or
skills required in the profession. The following lists outline the basic items that we expect
you to own. You should have these items by the end of your first year in the program:
Binoculars (8x20) Sleeping bag (rated to 30°F)
Hand lens (10-15x) Sleeping pad
Clipboard Backpack (internal frame)
Hiking boots Rubber boots or waders
Quality raingear Snowshoes
Outdoor active clothing Cross country skis
Hawk Ridge, Field Interpretive Techniques Boulder Lake, Winter Outdoor Skills
There are a number of forms of communication used around UMD, however, the primary
method for this program is email. We expect you to stay current with the emails sent
out. Communicate with us! Let us know about your successes and let us know when
you are struggling and need encouragement or support. The staff will do our best to be
available; if you wish to meet with one of us, check our office doors for a meeting time
sign-up or email us requesting a time to meet. We are here to help you with your
journey; let us know when you need our help!
Experience and skills are the key elements that will get you a job once you leave UMD.
We can only give you so much through your coursework. Thus, it is essential that you
get further experience on your own. There are a number of opportunities that can help
you along that have proven to be essential in success after UMD:
Get a job (paid or volunteer) in the outdoor field. Find something where you can
learn new skills and expand your abilities. Try to avoid ending up at jobs that are
easy money or just plain convenient. Hundreds of job opportunities are available
in outdoor education, many of which cross our desks. Most of these jobs are
posted through the Center for Outdoor and Environmental Education (COEE)
bulletin board (Second floor SpHC, just outside the COEE door) or are sent out
Get involved with the Outdoor Program. Here is a chance to practice concepts
and principles that you learn in your classes. The OP has a wide variety of
opportunities that help you grow in many ways. See Tim Bates or any of the
other OP professional staff or student staff for more info.
Fish Lake, Outdoor Education Methods
Student Support on Campus
UMD Website. This site provides links to all student support services on
Student Affairs. The staff at the Student Affairs Office (SpHC 121, new
office 2006/07) are key to your success at UMD. The office provides
forms, course planning information and other important references.
Advisement. Your advisor is an important support for you. Get to know your
advisor and check in with him/her each semester; the more your advisor
knows you, the more he/she can guide and support you.
Recreation Sports Outdoor Program. Staff in Recreation Sports Outdoor
Program (RSOP) provide professional resources right on campus, get to
know the paddling, climbing, fitness and environmental educators in
RSOP—they are here to provide you with opportunities!
UMD Library. Get to know your library! Check out the Outdoor Education
Resources in the UMD Library; this can be linked via the UMD Library
website, the COEE and the RSOP website.
Center for Outdoor and Environmental Education (COEE). You can
access quality environmental education resources via the COEE website:
Informational Technology Systems and Services. Technology assistance
and support.. See UMD homepage for link or 726-8847.
Health Services. The professionals at The UMD Health Services can help
you address physical and mental health concerns (726-8155).
Tutoring. The UMD Tutoring Center can assist you with course related
support needs (726-6248).
Gear. The Kirby Games Room rents a variety of outdoor recreation gear for
your outdoor pursuits (726-8734). Recreational Sports Outdoor Program
will open a gear rental program during the 2006/07 school year.
email@example.com , 726-8743; www.d.umn.edu/~tbates
firstname.lastname@example.org , 726-7333; www.d.umn.edu/~tbeery
email@example.com , 726-6761; www.d.umn.edu/~jernst
firstname.lastname@example.org , 726-6258; www.d.umn.edu/~kgilbert
Isle Royale, Advanced Field Interpretation
Outdoor Education Course Sequence for 2005-2007
Fall Cr. Spring Cr.
HLTH 3620 or HLTH 1700 &
REC 1000 4 1650 3/4
REC 1203 2 REC 1204 2
PE 1508 1 PSY 1003 4
BIOL 1011 5 lib. ed 3
COMP 1120 3 REC 2300 3
TOTAL 15 TOTAL 16
Fall Cr. Spring Cr.
ENED 3342 3
ENED 3341 3 REC 4320 3
REC 3330 3 lib. ed. 3
lib. ed. 3 lib ed. 3
lib. ed. 3 lib. ed. 3
lib. ed. 3 PE 1500 1
TOTAL 15 TOTAL 16
EnEd 5343 3
Fall Cr. Spring Cr.
ENED 4163 3 ENED 4555 2
COMP 3xxx 3 PEP 3507 2
HPER 3200 3 ENED 3309 1
PEP 3509 1 PEP 3501 1
Social Science 5 REC 3327 3
HPER 3100 2
TOTAL 15 Social Science 5
ENED 3310 2
Fall Cr. Spring Cr.
ENED 4315 4 ENED 4993 12
natural science 5
natural science 5
TOTAL 14 TOTAL 12
Total Credits: 120
NOTE: COURSES CANNOT BE TAKEN OUT OF SEQUENCE. MISSING COURSE
SEQUENCE CAN RESULT IN DELAYED GRADUATION AND/OR IMBALANCED CREDIT
Isle Royale, Advanced Field Interpretation