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Part I. Forward and Instructor Resources
        Inside Cover: Emergency Reference Numbers
        Table of Contents                                  1
        Forward                                            3
        Instructor History Forms                           3
        Notes Pages                                        5

Part II. Program Philosophy, History, and Staff Handbook
         Mission Statement                                 9
         Program Principles                                10
         Program History                                   14
         Hiring and personnel procedures                   16

Part III. General Program Policies and Procedures
         Emergency Policies                                21
         Frontcountry Policies                             27
         Backcountry Policies                              31

Part IV. General Teaching and Instructional Resources      44
        Teaching Methods and Tools                         47
        Trip Planning and Preparation                      86
        First 72 hour Lessons                              95
        Outdoor Living Skills                              126
        First Aid Skills                                   148
        Leadership Skills                                  154
        Challenge Education Skills                         161

Part V. Appendices
        Notes                                              172
        SOAP Note Form                                     176
        EVAC Form                                          177
        Index                                              178

Welcome to the new staff manual of the Earlham College Wilderness Program! This
version of the staff manual was produced in 2006. A lot of work was put into it so we
hope you will spend the time to read it (or at least some/most of it!). A staff manual
such as this is really a social contract of sorts. You should know that staff will be held
responsible for knowing or understanding most of the items discussed here. It is the
clearest explanation of who we are, what we are about, and what standards we expect
that we have for the program. It is intended to be a working manual. That is, staff
should have this manual with them (ideally in their walkabout/prisma) on every trip
they lead. It should not be shelved and forgotten about.

It is divided into several sections. The most important sections for staff in the field are
the ―Policies and Guidelines‖ sections. For new staff, you‘ll want to check out the
―Staff Handbook‖ section. And, for you ―seasoned‖ veterans, you can use the
―Teaching Resources‖ section to bone up on lesson plans or skills you may be a little
rusty on.

As is always the case with a work in progress such as this, you will find errors and
perhaps even fallacies. In the true spirit of the Quaker approach to life, know that even
though this manual has ―that of God‖ in it, it is also imperfect. Love it anyway. And,
while you are at it, let the office staff know so we can change it the next time around.

May the trails rise to meet you…

I am being driven forward
Into an unknown land.
The pass grows steeper,
The air colder and sharper.
A wind from my unknown goal
Stirs the strings
Of Expectation.

Still the question:
Shall I ever get there?
There where life resounds,
A clear pure note
In the silence.
           ~ Dag Hammarskjold

INSTRUCTOR HISTORY FORM- Keep track of your work here:

Courses Worked
Dates Course/Program                Role    Field Days

Trainings Attended/Certifications
Dates Course/Program                Hours   Date of Exp.

INSTRUCTOR HISTORY FORM- Keep track of your work here:

Courses Worked
Dates Course/Program                Role    Field Days

Trainings Attended/Certifications
Dates Course/Program                Hours   Date of Exp.




Promoting the Adventuresome Spirit
Founded in 1970, the Wilderness Program at Earlham College is comprised of five
core areas—August Wilderness, AWPE courses, Southwest Field Studies, Challenge
Education, and the Outdoor Education Minor. With these emphases, the Wilderness
Program helps promote the adventuresome spirit through safe, high quality
experiential and outdoor education.

By fostering the development of technical and interpersonal skills, students gain
confidence through increasing competence. Our programs aim ultimately to develop
strong leaders who can flexibly apply their skills and knowledge to a variety of

Core Principles:
   1. Extended, in-depth, inquiry and practice through expeditionary learning, field
        study, and on-campus classroom environments.

    2.   Educational excellence through skillful instruction, impeccable program
         logistics, care of equipment, and engaged group leadership.

    3.   Personal responsibility, self-reliance, and initiative towards the awakening of
         the ―teacher within.‖

    4.   Compassion for ourselves, others, and our environment.

In order to create more meaning on courses (frames create meaning), there are several,
core principles that we believe resonate throughout all wilderness experiences. These
can be framed perhaps as queries or as actual principles or learning objectives in the
more traditional sense. These five areas, combined with the required ―First 72-hour‖
lessons become core objectives for the experience. Instructors are encouraged to
deliberate and plan on how curriculum meets these objectives or learning goals.

1. Adventuresome Spirit
This principle is comprised of three main areas: 1.) Viewing obstacles as challenges to
be overcome. 2.) Actively seeking out opportunities to learn and to push oneself
outside the "comfort zone." 3.) Living life in a "positive state of non-expectancy"-
allowing for appreciation of the "trail magic" that can come from being present and
aware of the adventuresome potential of each moment.

Taking the time to learn how to build a fire in the rain can be seen as living out this
principle. So can pushing yourself to hike further or paddle longer than you thought
you could. Having a difficult and uncomfortable talk with a tent or tarp mate can be
seen as practicing the adventuresome spirit as can keeping a natural history journal of
the wildflowers you see.

Queries: How do I approach challenges in my life? What resources and support do I
draw from? What have I learned about myself that will help me as I approach future
challenges and obstacles? What gives me energy in my life? What takes it away? How
can I take charge of my own learning and engagement?

2. Sense of Place
A connection to the land we are traveling through such that we are not just tourists or
passersby but, rather, we become changed by our relationship with the land and its
stories. As modern life increasingly separates us from such relationships, the principle
of gaining a "sense of place" on wilderness courses reminds us that this value is
critical toward the creation of a personal and a larger community-based environmental

Learning about the flora, fauna, and ecology of the natural areas you travel through
can help gain a deeper sense of place as can reading about and listening to the cultural
histories, narratives, and stories of the region. Aldo Leopold called this type of
educational practice a pedagogy of place (see article in instructor resources section).

Queries: How am I acting respectfully in this place? Am I doing all that I can to
preserve the natural environment? Am I conscious of my impact on this place both
ecologically and aesthetically? In what ways am I giving back to this place? Am I
attentive to, and respectful of, the variety of people and cultures that live in and travel
through this place? Are there things that I can learn from them and the way that they
view and interact with this place?

3.Servant Leadership
We often think of leadership as "leading from the front." This is called Directive
Leadership. Yet, on this course, you'll learn about the multiple ways we lead beyond
Directive. We will also explore the idea of Servant Leadership. Servant leadership is
defined as the ability to think of others through the acquired skills of listening,
observation, awareness, empathy, acceptance, and foresight. It is the difference
between caring "about" something or someone and "caring for" it. It is an active
behavior that happens in lots of little ways. A servant leader constantly thinks of ways
to help his or her group in small and big ways. A servant leader is also aware of
"giving back" in small and big ways to the people and the places he or she
experiences. Finally, a servant leader understands that knowledge and experiences
acquired have moral consequences and leaves changed as well as committed to
working toward putting that change into service.

This course is not a guided experience (and nor, for that matter, is your life). Kurt
Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound and one of the central figures in the field of
outdoor and experiential education, once wrote "You are crew, not passengers. Let the
responsible boys and girls shoulder duties big enough, when negligently preformed, to
wreck the State." In order for us to make the most out of the experience both
individually and collectively, we must see our roles on the journey as an active crew
members and not as a passive passengers. What is the difference? Crew members see
themselves as integral to the functioning of the "ship" and actively fill a variety of
roles to help sustain the group and give it energy to press on. This positive stance is
sometimes called expeditionary behavior. Passengers do not contribute much, waiting
for others to tell them what to do and expecting "someone else" to meet their needs.
Crew members understand that they have both rights and responsibilities within the
group and actively communicate their feelings to others to help in the decision making
processes. Passengers tend to only think about their "rights" and assume "someone
else" will take up the needed responsibilities.

Finally, crew members recognize that there are a variety of roles to play on the "ship"
and they appreciate the diverse talents, skills, and abilities of each member of the crew
for what they bring and how they help keep the ship "afloat." Passengers believe they
are entitled to being comfortable and are not interested in reaching out to learn from
and better understand their fellow travellers.

We often think of the servant in a negative light in the same way we think of the word
"surrender" in a negative light. But, how can we "surrender to win"? How can we lead
by being of service? How can we let go of outcomes and the expectation that someone
is "supposed" to lead? Perhaps it is only when we let ourselves be "lost" that we find
ourselves. This is at the heart of the Quaker process of consensus (see article in the
instructional resources section).

Waking up early and making everyone breakfast even though it is not your turn or job
is an act of servant leadership. Thinking about being a good "follower" and what that
entails is an act of servant leadership. Speaking up when you don't feel comfortable
about what is happening is an act of servant leadership. Being aware of the personality
you bring to the group- your strengths, challenges, and areas for improvement is an act
of servant leadership. Finally, thinking about how you might put your learnings and
experiences from this course into action is an act of servant leadership.

Queries: What have I done today to make this experience better for my fellow crew?
Have I viewed my fellow travelers in the best possible light, seeking to appreciate
their unique talents, skills, and abilities? Do I tend to act as a crew member or a
passenger in other areas of my life? What new attitudes can I practice here that may
help me as I transition into college? How can I be of service today? What does the
group need from me today to function in the best way we can? What styles of
leadership am I most comfortable with? Which styles do I need to practice more? How
can I be a good follower? How can I put what I am learning on this course into action
in my life?

4. The Contemplative Spirit
Kurt Hahn created the 7 Laws of Salem which were his goals for operating his first
school in England. One of his 7 laws was to "provide periods of silence, following the
great precedent of the Quakers. Unless the present day generation acquires early habits
of quiet and reflection, it will be speedily and prematurely used up by the nerve-
exhausting and distracting civilization of today." Hahn wrote that in the 1920's. The art
of contemplation and reflection is what brings meaning to our lives. It is also
fundamental to the kind of deep and rigorous observation and scholarship we value at

On course, there will be many opportunities to practice the contemplative spirit. There
will be "small" moments, for example, it is common to begin major meals with a
moment of silence. There will also be "larger" ones like silent paddles and hikes,
reflective solo's, and observation activities. Earlham Wilderness courses are an
opportunity to delve deeper into the spirit of contemplation to see what it may bring to
your life back at college.

Queries: How much time do we dedicate to reflection, contemplation, and purposive
observation in the "frontcountry"? What gets in the way? How can I make the most of
opportunities while on course? What role does quiet and silence play in my life now?
What role would I like it to play?

5. Simplicity
Simplicity and simple living is comprised of two parts: inward simplicity and outward
simplicity. The two are, of course, connected. Inward simplicity can be defined by the
priorities and goals that you have in your life and how you make decisions about them.
Outward simplicity is how you manifest those priorities and goals to the world. This
course is all about simple living- both inwardly and outwardly. You will carry
everything you need on your back or in your canoe. You will eat simply but heartily.
You will have a minimum of possessions and "modern" distractions. This outward
simplicity, we hope, will encourage inward simplicity- allowing you to reflect on what
is truly important to you and how you want to go about "walking joyfully on this
earth" as George Fox, founder of the Religious Society of Friends" once famously

On course, you can practice outward simplicity by minimizing your reliance on
"extraneous" things such as watches, fancy gear and gizmos, and expensive
possessions. You can also practice inward simplicity by narrowing your focus and
attention to the things that are most important and of value to you. Learn how to
perform the perfect "J-Stroke" or for baking bread. Slow down. Take your time. Make
sure that whatever you do, you do it well (what we call in "good style"). Practicing
these skills of simplicity can help you re-calibrate what you spend your time on and
what is most important to you.

Queries: What are the three most important "things" in my life? What are my
priorities? How do I want to live? What does it mean to me to "live simply"? Is this
something that I want to value in the frontcountry? If so, why? If not, why not?

The Wilderness Program at Earlham is one of the oldest and most respected programs
of its kind in the United States. Earlham was among a handful of colleges to begin a
wilderness orientation program for incoming students in the early 1970‘s. The length
of the program (30 days) combined with the close, interdisciplinary connections to
academic disciplines (particularly the natural sciences) made August Wilderness and
Southwest Field Studies a model program in the country.

          ―Nevertheless, Earlham‘s Southwest Field Studies, along with the
          rest of its Wilderness Program, was a significant chapter in the story
          of Outward Bound, for it shed considerable light on a question that,
          while not quite a mystery, is nevertheless difficult to explain: How
          did Outward Bound become a spearhead of the experiential
          movement in U.S. education. The phenomenon is best elucidated by
          the case method, and the Earlham story is among the most cogent of
          the case histories‖ (Josh Minor and Joe Boldt, Outward Bound USA,


1847         Earlham College founded to train Quaker teachers for frontier towns.

1968-70      Discussion about the idea of a Wilderness Program by faculty members
             Doug Steeples (History), Cam Gifford (Biology), Dick Rodgers (Math),
             and Chuck Martin (Geology). Grant proposals are written.

1970         $100,000 grant is received from DeWitt Wallace (Reader‘s Digest) for
             staff training and the purchase of equipment

1971         Mountain Wilderness began as an annual offering. The Uinta Mountain
             Primitive Area (later Wilderness) is chosen for a combination of
             instructional merit (natural and human history), relative proximity to
             Indiana, and low usage by other groups.

1972         Water Wilderness began as an annual offering. The International
             Falls/Dryden area of SW Ontario is chosen as the course area.

1973-74      Winter Wilderness began as an annual offering: renamed Field Studies in
1977   Bicycling Wilderness is offered. 4 students participate. The course is not
       offered again.

1977   Water Wilderness is moved to a new course area in Armstrong, Ontario
       due to the construction of a new logging road in Dryden that reduced the
       wilderness quality of that area.

1984   Rocks & Ropes AWPE course offering started by students- this is the
       beginning of the Wilderness AWPE program

1996   Earlham changes to semesters. Southwest Field Studies becomes a 16-
       credit semester long course.

1998   Whitewater Kayaking AWPE offered for the first time

1998   Challenge education low ropes course built in cooperation with the Dunn
       Mental Health Center of Richmond.

1999   Challenge Education high ropes course built with the support of a Lilly
       Foundation grant.

1999   Earlham constructs the new Athletics and Wellness Center. The Solomon
       Indoor Climbing Wall is built in the new facility.

2000   Little House becomes the new office space for Wilderness Programs

2001   The academic minor in Outdoor Education is approved by CPC.

2002   The Wilderness Instructors Course- a 24 day May Term course designed
       to prepare outdoor leaders- is offered. The course takes place in
       Minnesota on the Border Route Trail and Wabikimi, Ontario.

2003   Wilderness Program offices move to the new Landrum Boling Center

2006   Bundy basement is renovated to create the new Outdoor Education
       Center. Little House is raised.


We aim to make working for the Wilderness Program to be as transparent a process as
possible. Below are some useful bits of information about how to get work with us and
how to continue to learn and grow while you are an instructor.

Job opportunities available with the Earlham College Wilderness Program (ECWP)
are varied. We have both work-study and non-work study positions available. Weekly,
scheduled positions include Climbing Wall Supervisor, Office Assistant, and Outdoor
Education Center positions. Contract-based employment includes AWPE Instructors,
August Wilderness, and Challenge Education Facilitators.

Applications are available on-line ( through the program
website (follow links to staff page) and in the office (LBC third floor). Applications
are accepted on a rolling basis and interviews are scheduled as needed. The application
process is the same for ALL positions with ECWP (with the exception of August
Wilderness). We highly recommend attending our Introductory Field Practicum
weekend designed to introduce potential new staff to the program PRIOR to applying.
This trip occurs early in the semester each fall (and possibly spring if numbers

Once hired, you will go through a training phase. This time may be longer or shorter
depending on the program area. AWPE field staff and Challenge Education staff will
be asked to ―apprentice‖ a course (unpaid) before instructing in that area. You will
also be expected to attend monthly ECWP staff meetings and maintain proper
certifications and employment paperwork while on staff. In order to move-up to a paid
position (Assistant Instructor), you must have the proper certifications and have taken
the Outdoor Trip Leader course in the Spring.

For AWPE instructors, we hold a ―Dream Sheet‖ meeting each semester for all current
staff members. Staff rate courses they would like to work and, depending on
certifications, experience, and other factors, we will do our best to place staff on a
course of their choice. Outdoor Education Center, Climbing Wall, and Office Staff
must also put requests in each semester during Dream Sheet meeting-time. Challenge
Education staff are on-call (that is, staff are given work opportunities as programs are
booked-announcements of up-coming programs go out over the staff list-serve).

Staff are designated as Apprentice, Assistant Instructors, and Lead Instructors for each
course area (someone may be a lead on the Challenge Education low ropes course but
an Apprentice in whitewater kayaking). Movement depends on qualification levels
(first aid, field experience, and other courses/trainings). See the ECWP staff manual
for the minimum requirements for each position and course area. Once staff have
achieved the minimum requirements to promotion, they may request a evaluation
meeting with program administrators to discuss moving up in responsibility and pay.

The hiring process for August Wilderness is distinct (but related) from the process
detailed above. It is strongly recommended that students interested in leading August
Wilderness familiarize themselves with the requirements and recommended
preparation steps well before applying (see separate FAQ sheet for August Wilderness

All ECWP staff are eligible to apply for Staff Development Fund mini-grants to fund
trips of their own (see SDF information and application on the website). Discounts on
outdoor gear are also available to staff depending on what level you are designated
(assistant, lead, etc.). Course-specific trainings (climbing, paddling, etc.) are also
provided occasionally at a highly subsidized rate (sometimes free). Finally, all staff are
able to rent gear from the program free of charge.

Step One:
Interested student applies to be an instructor in the program. Student either completes
a ―traditional‖ interview or goes on our Beginning Field Practicum course in Fall or

Step Two:
Student is hired and becomes designated as an ―Apprentice.‖ Able to work any course
in this role but does not include any paying positions. Students must apprentice before
leading a course.

Step Three:
Student enrolls in the Outdoor Trip Leadership course in the Spring and has an
evaluation meeting with Wilderness senior staff.
Step Four:
Student moves from Apprentice to Co-Instructor status in a particular area based upon
previous experience, demonstrated skills, and reliability. Student is now eligible to
work courses for pay.

Step Five:
After leading course as a Co-Instructor, student may continue to advance based upon
demonstrated skills and abilities. Taking additional trainings including the Advanced
Field Practicum May Term or other summer employment is highly recommended for
continued advancement. Students may become a Lead Instructor and, ultimately a
Teaching Assistant or Program Coordinator which could involve training others.

A couple of hints to help you succeed in the hiring process:

1. Don‘t expect to show up and lead a big program if we have never seen you before.
Be prepared to apprentice or observe a course prior to working it.

2. The more you work for us, the more we know your knowledge, skills, and
experience. This sets you up for more opportunities to work ―bigger‖ programs like
August Wilderness.

3. Reliability counts.

4. Appearance and professionalism count.

5. Attend as many trainings as you can. Be willing to be involved in more than one
program area. Be a lifelong learner.

6. Go out and get experience on your own. Take personal trips, go on a NOLS or OB
course. There is no substitute for experience.


Training Requirements:
All positions have training requirements. Some are more extensive than others. Below
is a list of requirements for each area:

All Staff……………..            First Aid and CPR (Adult)
Climbing Wall …… ..         All of the above, plus belay certification
AWPE ………………                 All of the above, plus Outdoor Trip Leadership
Challenge Ed………..           All of the above, plus low and high ropes
                            Qualification trainings.
August Wilderness….         Outdoor Trip Leadership, Wilderness First Responder

All staff have several additional benefits associated with working for the Wilderness
Program. The Staff Development Fund (SDF) is open to all staff and is designed
toward getting staff more experience in the field. Staff can apply for small grants to
take additional trainings, go on personal trips, or attend conferences. Staff are also
permitted to ―rent‖ equipment from the Outdoor Education Center free of charge
(following normal procedures and equipment use guidelines). Finally, staff have the
opportunity to buy outdoor gear through our program pro-deals with a variety of
outdoor companies at the discretion of the senior staff.

As a staff member for the Wilderness Program you are a professional educator. You
carry the burden and honor of being a role model. You are responsible for the care and
safety of your students—sometimes in remote, wilderness settings. Your actions
reflect on your own abilities as a teacher/leader, the Wilderness Program, and Earlham
College. This is a fun job, but one that carries with it enormous responsibility and high

TEACHING: Many courses (August Wilderness, AWPE‘s) are college-approved
courses. Other program areas (Challenge Ed., Climbing Wall) also involve significant
teaching and student interaction. As such, staff are expected to prepare and deliver
educational materials and content in a professional manner. Objectives must be clear,
written lesson plans should be developed, and student work should be properly
assessed and graded.

EQUIPMENT: Equipment must be organized, used, and maintained in impeccable
fashion. Attention must also be paid to effective course logistics and organization.
How we use and care for equipment sends a message about how we operate as a
program. Staff are expected to be role models to their students in this regard.

COMMUNITY: Staff are expected to be exceptional role models in every regard. You
are in a servant role, doing everything possible to care for and assist with the student
experience. This is not your experience. Staff are also expected to model effective and
healthy communication skills, and put the team above individual interests. Finally,
staff are expected to work actively to create safe, inclusive environments free from
gender, racial, or other forms of negative stereotyping.

SAFETY: Staff must maintain the highest standards of safety, judgment, and decision-
making. Staff should lead only to the level that they have been trained and have
experience with. Staff should strictly observe all emergency and safety protocols and
adhere to proper documentation guidelines.

LEADERSHIP: Staff are also expected to practice rotational and situational
leadership—allowing their co-leaders (and students) to lead when appropriate. Finally,
staff are not expected to be super-leaders—learning from mistakes, dealing with
personal limitations, and receiving feedback are all part of being an effective leader.

EMPLOYMENT: Staff are expected to attend all required meetings—or, in the case of
off-campus staff—staff are expected to maintain regular communication by phone or
email. Every effort must be made to keep deadlines and deliver promised work on
time. Finally, as a staff member for Earlham College, staff should to adhere to the
rules and regulations of the College as it relates to employment.

Policy- A set of rules, standards, and/or protocols that instructors are expected to
follow while leading courses for the ECWP.

Guidelines- Suggestions, outlines, or best practices listed to assist instructors in
implementing policies.

Earlham College Wilderness Programs have established a set of policies and best
practices for various areas as it relates to working with students in the field. Each of
these areas is broken down into policies (things instructors are expected to do in the
field) and guidelines (suggestions or best practices to assist with stated policies). As
with all things in the outdoor field, there is more than one way to do something. Stated
policies may not be the only way to approach an issue, but they are OUR WAY to
approach the issue and we expect instructors to adhere to stated policies. That being
said, policies are no substitute for sound judgment and decision making in the field.
Instructors always have the prerogative to ignore or modify a policy based on what is
happening in the field. Any modification or change in policy practice in the field must
be justified by sound, clearly articulated reasoning (i.e. ―I didn‘t like the policy‖ is
NOT an sound, clearly articulated reasoning). You can expect to be questioned about
any policy changes or oversights made in the field.

General policy and guidelines are broken into three main areas-
1. Emergency -policies of special importance or urgency
2. Frontcountry -driving, administrative, and pre-trip policies
3. Backcountry -all field-based policies

The EMERGENCY SECTION is divided into five sections, arranged alphabetically:

    1. Communication- Expectations regarding communicating with ECWP during
         field emergencies
    2. Documentation- Requirements for documenting emergency events
    3. Evacuations- Policies and guidelines regarding field evacuations
    4. Major Injury/Death- Expectations and policies regarding the handling of
         severe emergencies
    5. Search and Rescue- Policies and guidelines regarding search and rescue in the

Definitions An ―emergency‖ is any event that has significant consequences for an
individual or group of individuals. Major medical issues that threaten life or limb, all
field evacuations, serious behavioral issues, and any other event that requires
significant modification of trip or course implementation should be considered an
emergency. When in doubt, err on the side of over-communication.

Communication During Emergencies

1. Communication during emergencies should be in order or importance. Contact
rescue personnel/law enforcement first, the ECWP on-call number second. If the on-
call person cannot be reached, contact EC Safety and Security (see your field
emergency contact sheet for current numbers and information).
2. Instructors should not contact second parties (friends, family, etc) of involved
persons until communication has been established with ECWP.
3. Instructors must notify the ECWP on-call staff member as soon as possible when
there is an emergency in the field. Instructors are expected to stay in regular
communication regarding any emergency or evacuation from the field.

1. Communication may need to be made with other brigades/groups in the field.
2. If significant changes are made to your itinerary (date changes, trailheads, route,
etc.), the Wilderness Program office should be notified.
3. If you must leave a message for the Wilderness Program office, be specific. Leave a
detailed message that includes date and time that you called, a date and time that you
will call back, or specific instructions for us to call you back. State your location, what
the incident or reason for calling is, and what your plan of action is.
Documentation During Emergencies

1. Staff members should document emergencies by utilizing ECWP forms and systems
including: incident/accident report form, daily log, SOAP note(s), and an Evacuation
2. In addition, after any major emergencies, staff should independently record their
memory of the incident/accident as soon as possible afterwards. When appropriate,
staff should have trip participants and any other witnesses do the same.

1. Documentation is very important in any emergency situation, if you don‘t write it
down, it didn‘t happen.
2. When appropriate, assign one person to record notes as the situation unfolds.
3. When appropriate, add as many details to your notes as possible.
4. See the appendix for details on the use of specific forms listed above.

Field Evacuations

Medical Evacuation
A full listing of ―automatic‖ medical evacuations is not feasible in a manual of this
scope. Staff are expected to assess medical situations to the level of their training
(WFA, WFR). Generally speaking, medical evacuations are called for when the
medical condition is a significant threat to the participant or group and is unlikely to
be resolved in the field.

Non-Medical Evacuation
If a student does not respect and abide by the behavioral standards of Earlham College
and the Wilderness course, and the situation is not able to be resolved in the field, the
student must be evacuated for non-medical reasons. In addition, a student who
voluntarily wishes to leave a course must be allowed to do so at the earliest and safest

1. Evacuations occur in either a medical instance or a non-medical instance. Students
who are designated by staff to be evacuated must be escorted out of the field as soon
as is safely possible.
2. Staff and participants are expected to initiate self-evacuations when feasible and
safe- even if that means significant re-routing. Additional outside assistance should be
utilized when necessary but not frivolously.
3. An evacuation form and all other relevant documentation (incident/accident, etc)
should be completed for all evacuations. Copies should be left with group in the field
while the evacuation party retains originals.
4. Contact ECWP on-call person as soon as possible (see communication policies for
more information).
5. In most cases, students should be evacuated under the care of one staff member and
at least two other trip participants.
6. In some instances, evacuations by a single staff member, or a staff member and
other trip participant are appropriate- use your best judgment.
7. The participant should be assisted to medical treatment and/or public transportation.
Pay expenses as needed with field money and collect receipts for later billing

1. The following steps should be followed to ensure a smooth evacuation process.
2. Once an evacuation is decided upon- STOP. Take the time you need to plan and
organize yourselves.
3. Use the field evacuation form (see appendix) to develop your plan. Your written
plan should include consideration of the what follows below.
4. Arrange supplies for evacuation team. Generally this will consist of SOAP for
evacuee, 2 copies; one for evac team and one for the group remaining behind; Written
plans through the return of the evacuators; 2 copies of map marked with relevant
locations and compass bearings; Bivouac gear: food, water purification, shelter,
matches/lighter, flashlight, first aid kit, warm clothing, rain gear, etc. ; Evacuee‘s
Medical form, (Water – citizenship papers, park permits etc.); Evacuees personal
items; Money, van keys, phone numbers
5. Notify Wilderness Office as soon as evacuators reach phone.
6. Assess if there are realistic ways in which the student could complete the course, or
explore other options. Any questions on receiving credit and refunds of tuition should
be referred to the Wilderness Office.

Major Injury / Death

1. Give first aid as needed and to one‘s training. Plan and execute evacuation. In case
of death do not move the body until legal authorities authorize you to do so.
2. Notify the Wilderness Office (or College President, Provost, or Dean) of the
situation. The family of the injured party will be notified by the College.
3. In the case of death, notify the nearest Police Department and/or the land manager
for where you are traveling. (USFS, BLM etc...) and cooperate fully with them.
4. Do not discuss the accident with anyone except police and medical personnel. Refer
questions by all others to the Earlham College Public Relations Office.
5. As soon as is feasible all staff and participants present at the accident should
independently record their impressions of what happened.
6. Instructors should be in contact with the Wilderness Program office to determine
whether the trip will continue with the program and what additional staffing or
resources may be needed.

Search and Rescue

Separated Participant- an unscheduled loss of contact with a group member or
member(s) for less than 12 hours.
Lost Participant-an unscheduled loss of contact with a group member or members for
longer than 12 hours.
Hasty Search- a search protocol completed by group participants with a separated

1. Begin documentation of incident as soon as participant(s) is known to be separated
from group. Note, in writing, the time and place that this occurred. The entire brigade
should be grouped up and planning on the immediate course of action should be
2. If less than 12 hours, perform ―Hasty Search‖ as outlined below in guidelines.
3. If over 12 hours, initiate emergency communication procedures including
contacting the ECWP on-call person and local law enforcement.

1. Instructors who have an unscheduled loss of contact with a group of participants (
i.e. students who miss a checkpoint on final) must call the Wilderness Office if efforts
to find them in the next 12 hours are unsuccessful.
2. In the event of a missing person(s), the following Search and Rescue (SAR)
sequence of performing a Hasty Search should be adapted to fit your need and
3. Assign individual(s) to record all information and events.
4. Gather available information including Last Seen Point.
5. Divide available people into Hasty Search Teams (HST‘s).
6. Brief team leaders regarding search details and send HST‘s to assigned locations
with assigned return times.
7. Gather more information from instructors and HST‘s 8. Monitor entire process from
a central location
9. After 12 hours notify the forest service or next appropriate contact.
10. The individual that is assigned to record all information and events can be an
instructor or a student. This information should be clear and concise and the record is
to be maintained until the missing person(s) is found.
11. Information related to the last seen point of the missing person(s) should include
the location and time that the last person was seen.
12. When dividing people into Hasty Search Teams use only reliable people.
13. The objective of the Hasty Search team is to figure out the subject‘s direction of
travel. Start with the Last seen point and gather evidence without destroying it. Using
natural barriers to travel such as cliff lines and trails can aid in this process. Also areas
of special interest such as buildings, caves, streams, etc should be noted for more
detailed searches much later. An effort should also be made to attract the attention of
the lost person/s by using voices, whistles, lights, etc.
14. Interviewing people can be an invaluable source of information. It is most helpful
when the interviews are conducted when the event is still fresh in the memories of the
people being interviewed and before the opportunity to collaborate with others has
taken place. Some tips include interviewing people separately. Not forming your own
conclusions prior to the interview. Evaluate the differences in the presence of
conflicting information.
15. Some considerations in monitoring the search from a central location are to stay
where you are so that the lost individual/s may return to you. The task of monitoring
extends beyond providing direction for the actual search process to gauging the levels
of stress and emotion of the group members and offering support. Monitor your own
16. If possible keep the Wilderness Office notified of the search process as it plays
This section describes policies and guidelines for the following activities associated
with Wilderness Program courses:

1. Pre-Trip Policies and Guidelines
2. Post-Trip Policies and Guidelines
3. Frontcountry Camping (―Car Camping‖)
4. Driving and Trailer Policies and Guidelines

Pre-Trip activities include required program paperwork to be on file prior to departure,
gear check-out, and program pre-trip meetings.
Post-Trip activities include evaluations and other program paperwork, gear check-in,
and course de-brief(s).
Frontcountry camping includes any overnight stays on program. This includes private
campgrounds, motels, and public lands.
Driving. These policies and guidelines apply to all drivers of vehicles on ECWP
business. This includes emergency procedures when vehicles are involved, airport
shuttles, trailhead shuttles, and use of personal vehicles for ECWP programs.

Pre-Trip Policies and Guidelines

1. A Pre-Trip Meeting (PTM) must be held prior to all ECWP courses.
2. As part of the PTM, participants should receive a ―safety talk‖ prior to the
completion of the assumption of risk forms (see Pre-Trip Meeting format in instructor
resources section).
3. A waiver and assumption of risk form must be completed by each participant before
they leave Earlham College on their course.
4. Instructors should medically ―screen‖ participants by looking at waiver forms and
verbally confirming any issues to help insure the safety of the group. Questions
regarding trip fitness of any participant should be addressed with the ECWP
5. Every field course should have the following paperwork on file prior to departure:
off-campus trip info sheet, trip logistics sheet, trip itinerary/calendar, group gear sheet,
and individual gear check-out sheets.

1. The logistics of the course should be explained in detail during the pre-trip meeting.
2. A course info sheet (syllabus), detailing the logistics and components of a course
should be handed out to students.
3. An itinerary should also be given to students
4. Instructors are ultimately responsible for the food and its packing on every course.
5. Likewise, instructors are ultimately responsible for the equipment packed for their
6. It is the instructors responsibility to obtain a cash advance from the Wilderness
Program Office if one is needed for your course.

Post-Trip Policies and Guidelines

1. Instructors should contact the on-call person from ECWP as soon as possible after
group is out of the backcountry.
2. Instructors are expected to facilitate the cleaning and returning of group gear in
coordination with the Outdoor Ed Center manager. Any damaged or lost gear must be
noted and appropriate charges attributed (see equipment section in backcountry
3. A trip de-brief is often scheduled with the ECWP administrative staff.
4. The following paperwork must be completed as soon as possible after the trip (prior
to trip de-brief): cash reconciliation form, group gear check-in, completed daily logs,
any incident/accident documentation, actual itinerary/trip calendar, changes to trip
logistics form/road log, post-program assessment form, and any/all evaluations.
5. It is expected that vans and trailers are left in reasonable state of cleanliness and that
any and all maintenance issues are reported to ECWP.

1. Have students complete evaluations prior to departing from vans- it is difficult to
retrieve forms after everyone has left.
2. Make it clear that group gear clean-up is everyone‘s responsibility and schedule
time into your return schedule to facilitate this process.
3. Make notes throughout the trip to bring up at the de-brief or on the post-program
form. If we don‘t know about it, we can‘t change it.
4. It is helpful if instructors take the time to transfer route notations onto program
―Master Maps.‖

Frontcountry Camping

1. ―Lost and Alone‖ policies apply in the frontcountry. Group participants should wear
whistles when away from their tents.
2. It is recommended that close-toed shoes be worn at all times campsites- they must
be worn while cooking.
3. The stove and kitchen area should be set up in a safe zone away from the main
traffic areas in camp.
4. It is expected that ECWP groups adhere to the posted rules and regulations of
campgrounds and public areas where we camp.
5. It is expected that ECWP campsite locations are ―dry‖ locations. That is, no alcohol
or other illegal substances are permitted on-site.

1. In general, backcountry policies apply in the frontcountry (e.g. lightning
procedures). Use your judgment and err on the side of safety. Most accidents occur in
the frontcountry and are the result of carelessness and/or roughhousing.
2. Keep track of people. Create a sign-out list if folks want to explore with estimated
time of return and locations.
3. In general, solo travel should be discouraged (e.g jogging). When feasible, have
participants travel in at least pairs.
4. Food should be stored with local wildlife in mind. If in Bear-problem areas, food
should be hung away from camp. Mice, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels etc. are
prevalent in most areas. Inside a closed vehicle is often a good place to store food
when problem bears are not present.

Driving is statistically the most dangerous aspect of outdoor programs nationally.
Maintain a responsible, serious and professional attitude while in the driver‘s seat.
You are expected to hold other drivers of your vehicle to these same standards.

1. Observe the speed limit.
2. Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt at all times. It is the driver‘s
responsibility to ensure that everyone wears a seat belt.
3. Always drive with headlights on.
4. Driver should maintain two hands on the wheel in the 10 and 2 O‘clock position.
5. Drivers should not eat food and should be cautious while drinking water etc.
6. Arrange gear and people in the van to maintain clear sight-lines to the rear and the
7. Do not drive between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM (make sure you are well rested).
8. Drivers should not drive for more than 3-4 hours at a stretch and no more than 8
hours a day.
9. Drivers must complete the appropriate driver training before driving a vehicle for
the Wilderness Program. If towing a trailer, Trailer Training must be completed.
10. A safety check, utilizing the safety check form, is to be conducted daily before
11. Roof Racks are never to be used on Earlham vehicles
12. The number of people in a vehicle should never exceed the number of seats with
seatbelts in the vehicle, nor exceed the number of passengers that the vehicle
manufacturer designed for its use.
13. 12 passenger vans may have 12 passengers but should not exceed load limits of the
vehicle including gear.
14. Co-pilots should be awake and alert to assist the driver as needed.

Vehicle Accidents
1. If you are involved in a vehicle/trailer accident, first make sure that everyone
involved is okay, and treat for medical injuries as needed and to level of your training.
2. Never admit guilt in a vehicle accident. Often, specifics that led to the accident are
hidden, even from those involved. It may not be your fault, even when it appears so.
3. Contact local authorities as well as the Wilderness Program office and or security,
following the protocol on the information sheet located in your vehicle.

1. Reduce speed if driving in poor conditions (wet roads, foggy, cross winds, winding
roads, steep grades). Stop driving if you feel that the conditions are too inclement. We
will happily pay for a hotel room or two!
2. Leave radio controls and navigation to the co-pilot.
3. Maintain a ―cushion of safety‖ (4 secs. or greater depending on conditions)
following distance between your vehicle and the vehicles around you.
4. On divided highways, drive in the right lane using the left lane only as a passing
lane. (It is a traffic violation to exceed the speed limit even while passing.)
5. When passing a vehicle make sure you can see the vehicle fully in the rear view
mirror before pulling in front if it. 8. Make full use of rear view and side view mirrors.
6. If traveling in more than one vehicle, each vehicle should be clear on directions etc.
In case of separation, specific locations should be planned to rejoin (rest stops etc.)
7. If vehicle are unable to rejoin, the on-call contact can be used as a resource to help
relocate the other vehicle(s). This is a last resort
8. When driving in hilly or mountainous terrain: Turn off the overdrive. This is better
for the engine (in many of our vans overdrive is always on unless turned off). Do not
ride the brakes! This will overheat them and potentially cause them to malfunction.
Slow the vehicle by braking firmly and then releasing and then braking firmly again
(pulse braking). This allows the brakes to cool. Shift down to a lower gear (usually
second gear) for steep grade descents. This uses the engine to slow the vehicle and
prevents over use of the brakes. In general, 2nd gear is safe to use if traveling at or
under 45 mp.

This is probably the most significant section of ECWP's policies and procedures. It is
important that instructors familiarize themselves with all the policies listed below as
you will be expected to adhere to these in the field (barring unusual circumstances- see
introduction to the policies and guidelines section for a discussion of instructor
judgment vs. policies).
Policies and procedures listed below are for all courses. See separate publications for
Course Specific Policies and Procedures (e.g. whitewater kayaking, climbing,
canoeing, Challenge Education, etc.).

Backcountry designation applies when the group is more than two hours from
definitive care (includes transportation time!).

  1 Behavior-Staff
  2 Behavior-Student
  3 Campfires
  4 Campsite Selection
  5 Equipment
  6 Evaluations
  7 First Aid Kits
  8 Footwear
  9 Forest Fires
  10 Group Size/Permits
  11 Headlamps/Watches
  12 Lightning
  13 Lost and Alone/Compass & Whistle
  14 Paperwork- Documentation on trail
  15 Private Property
  16 Small Group Travel
  17 Stove Use
  18 SOLO‘s
  19 Supervised Independent Travel (SIT)
  20 Swimming (Backcountry)
  21 Weight Limits

1. Staff are expected to adhere to the stated guidelines in the College‘s Principles and
Practices document at all times when on course (including travel to and from course
2. Staff are not to engage in exclusive or sexual relationships with participants while
on any course.

1. Staff are strongly discouraged (particularly on August Wilderness) in engaging in
exclusive or sexual relationships with other staff members while on course.
2. Staff who are uncomfortable with observed behavior of other staff members are
encouraged to communicate with the other staff member. After this, staff are also
welcome to follow-up concerns with a member of the ECWP office staff.


1. Students/participants are expected to adhere to the stated guidelines in the
[College‘s Principles and Practices] document at all times when on
course (including travel to and from course area).
2. Students may be removed from a program if behavior standards are not being met
(see Emergency section- ―Evacuations‖ for more information).

1. Staff should clearly state behavioral expectations and guidelines prior to trip
departure and should review them as necessary throughout the course
2. Staff should document any and all behavioral issues on the appropriate form (see
Paperwork section for more information).
3. Students are discouraged from creating exclusive and/or sexual relationships with
other students while on course.


1. Unless under emergency situations, no campfires should be attempted if a fire ban
or posted restriction is in place.
2. Campfires should only be made in previously established fire rings using low
impact methods (see LNT guidelines in teaching resources section).
3. Proper safety procedures should be taught and followed including fire rings, wind,
clothing and equipment cautions, and proper extinguishing of fires.

Campsite Selection

1. Campsites selected should adhere to posted or printed regulations of the wilderness
area you are traveling through.
2. Selected campsites should be scouted for safety including potential deadfall, flood
zones, lightning hazard, and other environmental or objective hazards.

1. Staff should adhere to (and teach) LNT principles regarding campsite selection
including the proper positioning of kitchen, food bags, waste disposal, and travel


1. All equipment for ECWP programs must be properly checked out using posted
procedures and guidelines. This includes equipment for personal use.
2. Items lost or damaged that cannot be attributed to individuals or groups of
individuals will be billed to the entire course (including instructors).
3. Final decisions regarding normal wear and tear vs. negligence will be made by
ECWP office staff when needed.

1. Staff are expected to monitor equipment usage throughout the course and note
damage or loss charges as needed.
2. Staff should emphasize, model, and teach proper equipment care, storage, and
cleaning at all times.
3. Staff should be particularly vigilant during transition periods (e.g. course
beginning/end, trailhead, etc.) as many items are left or improperly stored during these

see Giving Evaluations on the staff website for suggestions on how best to complete
these in the field.

1. All backcountry courses should complete student evaluations. This can take the
form of verbal feedback or more formal written feedback.
2. For August Wilderness, staff are expected to utilize the field evaluation form with
students and submit these forms with your course folder at the conclusion of the
3. Students on courses that use the field evaluation form should be evaluated twice
using the written format.

1. For longer courses, staff may divide up students into smaller ―advisee‖ groups to
facilitate more personal and efficient feedback.
2. It can be less intimidating to meet with students one-on-one than as an instructor
3. Having the student self-evaluate with you first can also help break the ice and make
the session feel less intimidating.
4. Keep in mind that the evaluation form you complete may be used to determine a
students‘ candidacy for a position with ECWP or another organization- be specific,
fair, and honest.

First Aid Kits

1. All courses must have first aid kits appropriate to the activity site and duration.
2. Off-campus courses must utilize the ―expedition‖ first aid kits
3. On-campus courses may use the ―weekend‖ first aid kits
4. All courses must include epinephrine kits with their first aid supplies
5. All first aid kits should be inventoried BEFORE and AFTER courses using the
inventory check-sheets.

1. Other first aid items may be useful depending on your course such as foot kits.
2. For longer courses, remember to take a re-supply of commonly used items.
3. If you are re-stocking a kit and you take the last of some item, be sure to
communicate with the gear room manager to re-stock the item or re-order it.
4. Remember that courses that plan independent travel must have adequate kits for
EACH group.


1. Participants and staff must have appropriate footwear for the activity of the course.
This should be checked by staff prior to trip departure during a ―duffle shuffle.‖
2. Close-toed shoes must be worn on all courses all of the time. Exceptions- while in a
kayak, while in a canoe, while in tent/tarp, and while seated (away from kitchen or
1. To avoid controversy and confusion, it is often advisable to simply forbid sandals
on courses.
2. Be particularly vigilant about this policy around camp- it is tempting for students
(and staff) to get lazy and go barefoot. Remind everyone that foot injuries around
camp are one of the most common injuries and, at least for backpacking courses,
might necessitate an evacuation.

Forest Fires

1. Staff should monitor fire conditions prior to leaving for trips- this often done in
conjunction with the ECWP office
2. Trips may not proceed (or must immediately evacuate) if the relevant
state/government authorities close areas due to fire hazards.
3. Trips may be altered or postponed in the event of severe fire hazards based on the
judgment of the ECWP office staff.
4. Independent travel should not take place if there is reason to believe severe fire
hazards exist.
5. Trips that encounter forest fires should re-route immediately along the safest terrain
possible even if it deviates from approved permits.
6. In the event of a forest fire encounter, notify the proper authorities as soon as
possible and gather information to ensure the groups safety.

1. Wind direction may determine the direction of travel for a fire as well as the
presence of smoke. Plan alternate routes according to wind direction and the proximity
of the fire. Be aware that embers are able to blow over a mile and may start new fires.
2. Humidity in the evening and early morning are often higher than during the day.
This may make travel safer during these times due to decreased fire activity.
3. Be aware of indication as to how close or severe the fire may be. Tall smoke plumes
indicate a very hot fire. If a tall smoke plume is seen upwind of you, seek a point of
refuge or find an alternative route.
4. Identify alternative routes and plans.
5. Maintain a close proximity to a large body of water as much as possible.
6. If traveling through a burned area is a necessity, be aware of burned stump holes,
hot embers, and burned but standing trees that may fall easily.
7. Stay upwind and downslope of a fire if at all possible. A large fire tends to burn
unpredictably and being upwind does not guarantee that it will not come your way. Be
aware at all times.
8. In the event of close proximity to a serious fire: Water Courses: Put your PFD on
and paddle out into the middle of a lake. Overturn the canoe and submerge yourself
under it so that you can breathe the cool trapped air until the fire passes.
Mountain/Backpacking Courses: Pack your pack so that it is air/water tight. Swim out
into the center of a lake/stream and use your pack as floatation. Wet a bandanna or
some other cloth and tie it around your mouth and nose so that you breathe as little of
the smoke as possible. Wait until the fire passes.

Group Size/Permits

1. All ECWP groups (including outdoors club trips and staff development fund trips)
are expected to adhere to the group size limits and permit restrictions in the public
areas through which they travel.
2. It is permitted to ―divide‖ a single group into two permits. That is, areas with small
group size limits often allow groups to travel together while camping separately
(usually at least 1-2 miles apart).
3. Size limits and permit restrictions may be broken during emergency situations.

1. Staff should work closely with the ECWP office staff well before trips and courses
to ensure that proper permits and size limits are being adhered to.
2. Remember to budget permits into course fees and costs as necessary.
3. In new course areas, staff should be particularly vigilant of educating themselves on
permits and group limits. Ignorance is no excuse for failure to follow the law.

Headlamps/Watche s

1. Staff on all courses should each carry personal headlamps and watches for safety
and emergency purposes.
2. In addition, no fewer than 1 headlamp per 2 participants should be carried into the
field and participants should know where to find them in an emergency.
3. It is up to instructor discretion as to whether participants are permitted to carry
personal watches or headlamps. It is expected, however, that such decisions remain
consistent across multiple groups/brigades on the same course.

1. Staff should be wary and conscious of dictating personal wilderness ethics and
beliefs on other participants.
2. Staff should consider alternate ways to minimize the emphasis on ―frontcountry‖
technology without necessarily banning watches and headlamps. Rules are more
powerful if decided upon by consensus.

1. Staff should instruct students on the hazards of lightning and what precautions to
take to avoid them. The students should be educated on the lightning positions and are
not to partake in independent travel until they have demonstrated ability in lightning
2. When the lightning is close enough for a 20-30 count the group should begin to look
for an area to settle into lightning drill.
3. The lightning position is simply to get low to the ground in a comfortable position
(research has shown no difference in safety potential in the variety of lightning
positions: squatting on pads, sitting, kneeling, etc.)
4. At a 15-20 count the group should cease activity and settle into lightning drill.
5. While in the drill members of the group should be spread out so that there is at least
30 feet of distance between each other. It is permitted for students to pair up.
6. If a storm arises while the brigade is in camp members should get in lightning
position under the shelters, providing you have chosen a safe campsite, with shelters
properly spaced.
7. Stay in lightning mode until it has been 15 minutes since the last 15-20 count.
8. Staff are expected to determine each situation individually and determine if it is
wise to be in a lightning drill or not.

1. Areas and objects to avoid in the event or immanence of a storm are; high ground,
cliffs, tall trees, open spaces, waterways, metal objects and ridges. Your first priority is
to identify and get into a lightning ―safe‖ area- all other protocols are secondary!
2. Planning the days travel to avoid such areas during times of high lightning potential
(afternoons) is recommended.
3. Be prepared for lightning drills by having items such as raincoats and warm layers
to prevent hypothermia while waiting out a storm. Be prepared for the event of
4. Be observant about the weather in order to be proactive.
5. When strikes are noticed or inclement weather seems imminent be aware of your
surroundings and try to think of where might be the best place to be if the storm
should come upon you.
6. Be prepared to travel to a safer area to get into lightning drill if the area you are in is
not ideal. Be certain to travel spread out in the event that this is necessary.
7. Check on students periodically through a lightning drill to assess their condition
both emotionally and physically. Encourage them to snack.

Lost and Alone/Compass & Whistle
1. Once on course, staff and students are expected to wear their compass and whistle
lanyards at all times. While in tents/tarps, students/staff are permitted to remove their
lanyards but should keep them easily accessible for late night trips out of the tent.

1. Staff are expected to explain the purpose of the compass/whistle lanyards and the
procedures for lost and alone situations within the first day of the course (see
emergency section for more information).
2. Maintain vigilance with this policy-particularly during independent travel portions
of courses.
3. A compass is useless unless students understand how to use it. At the beginning of
courses, emphasize whistle use first.

Paperwork- Documentation on trail

1. All overnight backcountry courses must complete the following paperwork while on
course (including travel days).
2. Daily Log Sheets. Daily logs should be completed by one of the instructors at the
conclusion of each travel day. Observations should be detailed, complete, and legible.
3. Incident/Accident Forms. As needed, incident and/or accident forms should be
completed as soon after the event as possible (see emergency section for more details).
4. SOAP and EVAC Forms. Same as above.

Private Property

1. Except certain emergencies, ECWP courses are not to trespass on private property
unless permission is granted (either in writing or verbally) from the land owner.

1. Be sure to scout your route well ahead of time. Ignorance is no excuse. Remember
that your behavior potentially impacts other ECWP courses as well as the perception
of outdoor recreation in general.

Small Group Travel

1. Small Group Travel occurs when sub-groups of brigades travel separately during
the day but camp together at night. Instructors travel with the smaller sub-groups
during small group travel but may limit their visible leadership.

1. Small group travel should only be attempted after the first 72 hours on course.
2. Each small group should have all the equipment needed to survive a night out or an
emergency (first aid, shelter, food, etc.).
3. Proper documentation should be completed prior to small group travel and
communicated amongst staff (TCP‘s and verified campsite locations).

1. Small group travel is an excellent way to break the monotony of group travel during
the middle (main) portion of the course as well as a way to prepare a group for
supervised independent travel.
2. Small group travel is also helpful as an LNT procedure- it reduces impact both
physically and visually.
3. During small group travel, staff should split themselves between groups and either
travel with (or shadow closely behind) the student group.
4. Having the leader of the day of each small group complete a TCP prior to the day of
small group travel is an excellent training tool and a way to double check details and
logistics of the planned route.
5. Be firm and clear on contingency plans (what happens if groups get separated,
delayed, etc.) during small group travel.

Stove Use

1. Staff should teach a stove lesson prior to students using stoves on course.
2. Stoves should be lit in a safety position- kneeling or squatting (not sitting) so a
person may move quickly away in the event of a flare up.
3. Stoves should only be lit in a designated kitchen area away from main travel ways
through camp and other combustibles.
4. Stoves may not be operated in tents or vestibules. It is permissible to operate a stove
under a tarp or other open-air shelter using appropriate caution.
5. One extra stove per brigade should be carried into the field.

1. Staff should inform students of the extreme flammability of certain materials
(nylon, fleece, etc.) that may come in to contact with stoves.
2. Setting up clear kitchen areas away from heavy camp travel is an important part of
stove/fire safety.
3. ―De-pressurizing‖ MSR whisperlites for a simmer effect is permissible but should
be exercised with appropriate caution.
4. Stove care: have students place stoves on lids in sandy areas to minimize fuel line
5. Stove care: teach students how to properly prime the stove to prevent excess carbon
build-up (another cause of fuel line blockage).
6. Stoves are notoriously finicky in the field- familiarize yourself with the most
common repair and maintenance checks BEFORE going into the field.


A SOLO is defined as a 24 hour or more period of time where a student is placed in a
location (stationary) under indirect supervision.

1. A SOLO briefing/framing should be done prior to the activity. A ―challenge by
choice‖ philosophy must be emphasized.
2. Staff should cover SOLO rules which frequently include: boundaries, permissible
activities (e.g. reading, etc.), what to do in case of emergency, communication
procedures, etc.
3. Students should be placed within whistle distance of each other and easily
accessible by staff.
4. Each student should be given adequate equipment and resources for solo. This
includes nutritious food, clothing, shelter, and water.
5. Students are not permitted to fast on solo. They may simplify their food choices but
they may not avoid eating altogether.
6. No swimming, bouldering, or fire building is permitted on any ECWP solo.
7. Communication Procedures: Students should knot a bandanna twice a day at
selected times. Staff will follow and unknot it. A note may be left with the bandanna if
the student has a minor emergency, which does not require the use of a whistle.
8. Establish an emergency call system: 3 blasts on a whistle followed by announcing
the name of the person in need of assistance. Those close to base camp pass on the
signal and the name.
9. Students returning from solo sites on water (e.g. in a canoe) must be in PFD‘s.

1. Solo does not have to be a two and a half day event but should be determined by
circumstances such as preparedness of students, available time, resources and location.
2. Typically, solo sites should be selected in terms of safety of location (objective
hazards), ease of supervision, appropriate spacing of students, and aesthetics factors.
3. Students are often intimidated or, at least, very curious about solos. Proper framing
of the event is critical to its success (see teaching resources for more information).
4. Staff are permitted to camp together during solo and is often a relaxing time .
However, care should be taken to ensure proper supervision of students at all times.
5. Care should be taken in planning mileage for the immediate day following solo as
some students may be less strong from lower caloric intakes.

Supervised Independent Travel (SIT)

SIT‘s are defined as times during the course when groups of students travel
independently of instructors (usually camping independently as well). This is different
from ―Small Group Travel‖ where instructors may travel with the group and DO camp
with the whole group at the end of the day.

1. SIT sections on ECWP courses are not required. It is up to the judgment of the
instructors on a given course as to the length and nature of an SIT.
2. It is expected that instructors follow the same route as their participants on SIT.
3. A SIT briefing/framing of the activity should be given to students prior to an SIT
explaining rules, options, and the ―challenge by choice‖ philosophy.
4. Students on SIT must submit TCP‘s of their entire route to their instructors prior to
beginning the SIT. Duplicate copies should also be made for the group.
5. Information concerning all of the student groups and their respective instructor
―shadows‖ should be shared among instructor teams and noted on the appropriate
6. Leaders will shadow their group of students at an appropriate distance given terrain,
potential hazards, and group ability levels.
7. Communication: Each evening students will leave a bandanna with a knot tied in it
off the trail where they are camping. The leaders should find this bandanna and untie it
to let the students know that they are still together. Messages and adjustments to
TCP‘s should also be passed at this time.

1. In dividing up the students, gear and supplies for S.I.T. consider aspects such as the
ability level of the students, what their personal goals may be, how they will interact
socially, etc. Divisions can be homogeneous by ability level or personal goals (e.g.
push route/easy route), or heterogeneous by personality, ability, or other factors.
2. Make certain that all instructor shadow teams are clued into the routes and
itineraries of the other S.I.T. groups. This is so that in the event of an emergency or if
all groups do not make it out to the trailhead by the appointed time there will be
specific information on which to base a search. Make contingencies for contingencies!
3. Judging the appropriate distance to shadow is subjective to each instructor team and
depends largely on the assessment of the ability level of the group. Give the
appropriate level of freedom. Be especially vigilant on crossing passes, long portages,
rapids, and other known terrain difficulties or objective hazards.

Swimming (Backcountry)

1. Students are permitted to swim only if they have passed a swim test under the
supervision of ECWP instructors. On water courses, students who have not passed or
completed a swim test may ―swim‖ with an appropriate PFD.
2. Wading (up to waist) is permitted on all courses.
3. Students and staff must wear proper footwear while swimming (closed heel and toe
4. A proper safe zone should be made for swimming. This includes proper scouting of
any hazards and ease of supervision.
5. Students must be supervised while swimming by an instructor with a whistle.
6. No swimming between sunset and sunrise.
7. No diving (head first) on an ECWP course at any time for any reason.
8. ―Gunwale Pumping‖ and ―Gunwale Wars‖ are not permitted on ECWP courses due
to the risk of head and neck injuries.
9. Intentional swimming of rapids or whitewater is not permitted.

1. Decisions regarding skinny dipping and group comfort with nudity should be
addressed as needed. Be particularly sensitive to other (non ECWP) groups in this

Trail Etiquette

1. ECWP groups are expected to model exceptional on-trail behavior including safe
practices, courteous behavior, and appropriate travel and camping procedures (see
Group Size/Permits section and LNT section in Teaching Resources).
2. For safety reasons, staff or students should be cautious about giving out detailed
information about routes and dates to strangers met on the trail unless state,
government, or law enforcement personnel.

1. Emphasize the importance of keeping Earlham‘s good name when teaching students
about trail etiquette.
2. Be conscious and considerate of other groups you interact with on courses-
particularly when your group may infringe on their enjoyment (noise levels, hogging a
climbing spot, creating a mess on a portage trail, nudity, etc.).
3. Yield to horses on trail. This is usually on the downhill slope but the rider will often
direct you to where he/she would like you to go.
4. Make a game out of ―hiding‖ your camp sites (and break sites) off trail to
emphasize good LNT practices.

Weight Limits

1. Weights of packs (backpacks) should not exceed approximately 40 percent of an
individuals body weight.
2. Weight of portage packs should not exceed approximately 70 pounds total.
3. Packs (backpack and portage) should be weighed prior to going into the field to
ensure adherence to weight restrictions.

This section of the manual gives ECWP instructors ideas, helpful hints, and
suggestions for how to teach specific course content. It is important to recognize that
information contained here is only that- information. You may find certain things
contradict what you know or how you like to present material. While we believe the
information below is solid and useful, instructors should always check such
suggestions against what they have learned in other contexts and what they have seen
work in the past. What follows is the culmination of many peoples‘ efforts including
material from previous August Wilderness manuals, NOLS and Outward Bound Staff
Handbooks, student submissions from Wilderness Leadership and Southwest Field
Studies, and the efforts of the Wilderness staff.

It is organized into the following major subjects and lessons:

A.       Teaching Methods
         Teaching in the Outdoors- by Jay Roberts
         Brain-Based Learning in Experiential Ed- by Jay Roberts
         The Experiential Lesson Plan Design Frame- a reference handout
         Facilitation- Processing the Experience- a reference handout
         The Art of Journaling in Experiential Ed- by Dyment and O‘Connell
         Improving Women‘s Learning at NOLS- by Missy White
         Place Based Learning and Outdoor Education- by Clifford Knapp
         The Process of Consensus- by Margaret Lechner

B.       Trip Planning and Preparation-Creating Stylish Courses
         Course Planning Guide
         Instructor Alignment
         Pre-Trip Meeting Outline
         Pre-Course Checklist
         Course Pacing and Facilitation

C.       First 72 hours lessons
         On-Campus lessons
                  Course Objectives and Expectations
                  Clothing and Gear Check
                  Pack Packing
                  1st Aid/CPR
         On-the-road lessons
                  Kitchen and Stove safety
               Tent and Fly Pitching
               Lightning Procedures
               Body Climate Control (Warm and Dry)
               Personal Hygiene and Water Treatment
               Lost and Alone
     In-the-field lessons
               Sanitation and Waste Disposal
               Campsite selection
               Basic Cooking and Food ID

D.   General Outdoor Skills
     Leave No Trace
     Map Reading
     Time Control Plans
     Compass Use
     River Crossing

E.   Safety and First Aid
     How Accidents Happen
     Soft Tissue Injuries
     Hot/Cold Injuries
     Altitude Physiology
     Athletic Injury

F.   Leadership Skills
     Decision Making
     Communication Skills
     Group Development

G.   Challenge Education Skills
     New Games
     Trust Activities
     Simple/Mobile Initiatives
     Metaphoric Processes and Tools
The part of the manual is broken into broad sections (see above). Each section has a
number of topics related to that area. Within each topic, the information is usually
broken into 5 units:

I. Educational Goals
An overview of the key educational outcomes from the lesson. These are not written
in stone but rather included to encourage you, as an instructor, to consider what you
hope your students will get out of the lesson.

II. Key Points
This basically summarizes the salient points around the particular topic and offers a
brief overview of the lesson for those unfamiliar with the area.

III. Teaching Considerations
Notes about how to teach the topic. Suggestions might include the best time to teach
the subject, best ways to organize the material, and helpful hints in making the lesson
more interactive and fun. If you have ―winners‖ that you have tried, be sure to let us
know so we can include them in next edition of this manual.

IV. Leadership Opportunities
Comments about how you might involve your students in the leading of the lesson or
in applying the skills after the lesson.

V. References
If you want to learn more about a specific topic several books or articles are often

“Teaching in the Outdoors”

―Teaching in general can be a scary thing. We are put in a position of authority and
knowledge whether or not we feel like an expert in the particular area. We can feel
pressure to know ―everything‖ and be able to answer all questions. We want our
students to have confidence in our ability to lead them through new experiences. This
is all compounded by the fact that we don‘t teach in a nice, organized classroom
environment. Instead, we teach outside—with all the good and bad that can come with
that. Sometimes we are given ―teachable moments‖ that make it easy to educate.
Other times, despite our best lesson plans, our students are too bored, too hungry, too
scared, or just plain too distracted to pay attention. Teaching outdoors is definitely a
challenge and there is no one way to do it right. But there are a few things that might
help you along the way…

      I. TIMING
When you teach a lesson and for how long can make a huge difference between
success and failure with your students. Consider carefully the timing of your lesson.
Will it be immediately useful? Is it a snack break lesson, a before dinner lesson, and
after dinner lesson, a morning lesson, or a layover day lesson? Each time frame
presents challenges and opportunities. Match your content and your objectives with
your timing. Generally speaking, mornings are better for intellectual topics,
afternoons are better for hands-on activities, and evenings are better for interpersonal
discussions. Think AM-Brain, PM-Body, and Evening-Heart.

Almost every teacher that ever stood in front of students has made the mistake of
trying to do too much. This is especially true in outdoor contexts. Your students will
be easily distracted and many factors will influence their attention spans from
temperature fluctuations, to bug bites, to hunger pains, to homesickness. Less is more.
Chunk your information into 25-30 minute units maximum. Break up longer lessons
with active movement and reflection. Think of your content as gum and your students
processing, practicing, and reflecting as the chewing. You want less gum and more

Know your stuff. As an old prof. of mine used to say, ―worry about what you know,
not what you don‘t know!‖ Spend the time to develop a strong lesson plan—use
EELDRC or some other frame to help you hit all the important stages of an effective
lesson. Write it down—maybe even show it to your co-instructors and get their
feedback. The more comfortable you are with your design the more you can teach
people and not content. Finally, be in a ―positive state of non-expectancy.‖ That is,
once you have a bomber lesson plan, be prepared to throw it all out based on how you
are relating to your students and how your students are relating to the content.

You can‘t sell the steak without the sizzle! How do you ―fire up‖ your lesson to
encourage maximum attention and retention? Here are a few quick tips: 1.) Use visual
aids. Portable flip charts are the best for this and be sure to include different colors on
your visuals. Pre-made flips are the most effective as presentations can be sloppy
written in the moment. 2.) Think about where you are presenting. Are your students
facing into the sun? Are you in the middle of a mosquito-infested swamp? Is it too
windy? Look for great teachable moment sites like a high point for map and compass
or glaciology or a mood inspiring campfire for a more introspective talk. 3.) Get good
coaching. Have your co-instructors give you feedback on your presentation style.
Have them focus on how you are presenting—not your content. Are you mumbling?
Do you do annoying motions with your hands? Do you establish good eye contact? 4.)
Classroom design. Horseshoes work best for lecture style; circles for more
cooperative discussions. The more scattered people are the more scattered the class
environment will feel.

Too many times this is missed and current brain research is affirming the absolute
necessity of this step in the learning process. Give your students multiple
opportunities to reflect on your lesson. The general rule of thumb is 10-24-7. You
should reflect/review material every 10 minutes, every 24 hours, and every 7 days. A
few ways to make this happen: 1.) During the lesson, use the ―turn to your neighbor‖
tool. Part way through the lesson have students turn to a neighbor and review what
was just delivered. This can be done creatively with good questions (e.g ―turn to your
neighbor and tell them one thing you really understand from the last 20 minutes and
one thing you have a question about…‖). 2.) Use large group de-briefs to cement the
learning. At the end of your lesson, do a go-around where everyone shares one thing
they will take away from the lesson. 3.) Give them skill practice in the middle of the
lesson. 4.) Give them immediate opportunities to apply skills just learned (e.g. teach a
river crossing lesson ―dry‖ knowing that you will have one to do the next day. When
that moment comes the next day, sit back and watch them perform without your
assistance). 5.) Journaling on what they have learned on the course so far in a list to
help them realize what they have accomplished so far. There are many, many ways to
reflect. Honor the learning by allowing adequate time for this.

There are many other tools that can be useful to sharpen your lesson plans. Feel free to
ask me and I can point you in some good directions. The most important thing of all?
You guessed it, AUTHENTICITY. Be yourself, know your limits, and be honest with
yourself, your co-instructors, and your students. No one expects you to be a know-it-
all (and how annoying would you be if you were!). Model the principle of life-long
learning by being willing to change, adapt, adjust, and be vulnerable to your group.
That will go much farther than any esoteric piece of trivia you pull out of your… eh,
em… pocket.‖

Jay Roberts. Originally published in the Association of Outdoor Recreation and
Education Newsletter, Fall 2002.
Experiential Lesson Plan Design Frame: a reference handout

ENROLL                                             What’s In It For Me?
                                                   Invitation,hook, intrigue. Connect to
                                                   personal, tell story, open loops,
                                                   relevance or practical connections.

EXPERIENCE                                         Touching the stove…Immersive
                                                   activity, taps curiosity and prior
                                                   knowledge, experiential. Paired
                                                   shares, games, team activities,

LABEL                                              Content, concepts, definitions,
                                                   Lecturette, flip charts, discussions.

DEMONSTRATE                                        Students demonstrate competency,
                                                   translate information. Skill
                                                   practice, group work, report outs.

REVIEW                                             Strengthens neural connections—“I
                                                   know I know.” Teach someone else,
                                                   testing, boxes of understanding,
                                                   paired reviews, journaling

CELEBRATE                                          Provides closure, honors learning,
                                                   cements joy of learning. Peak
                                                   experiences, rituals,
                                                   acknowledgements, feedback,
                                                   applications, and symbols.
* From Deporter, Reardon, and Singer, Quantum Teaching
“Beyond Learning By Doing: The Brain Compatible Approach and
Experiential Education”    - Excerpt

 ―…In July of 1989, President George Bush declared the 1990s the ―Decade of the
Brain.‖ What followed was a revolution in research, articles, books, and television
specials on what we know about how the brain functions and learns. The medical
advances in particular have been many and remarkable. We have learned more about
the brain in the past five years than the previous one hundred. Additionally, nearly 90
percent of all neuroscientists who have ever lived are alive today (Brandt and Wolfe,

While still relatively new as a field of inquiry, the Brain Compatible Approach has
yielded several intriguing findings:

   Neuroplasticity. The brain changes physiologically as a result of experience and
    it happens much quicker than originally thought. The environment in which the
    brain operates determines to a large degree the functioning ability of the brain
    (Brandt and Wolfe, 1998).

   The brain is complex and interconnected. Just as a city or jazz quartet has many
    levels of interaction and connectedness, the brain has an infinite number of
    possible interconnections. In essence, there are no isolated, specialized areas but
    rather the brain is simultaneously processing a wide variety of information all at
    once (Caine and Caine, 1994).

   Every brain is unique. Our brains are far more individualized in terms of
    physiology, neural wiring, bio-chemical balance, and developmental stage than
    previously thought (Jensen, 2000).

Each of these findings suggest re-consideration of the way we currently educate.
Caution must also be practiced. Much of the current research is new, and steps from
research to application are inherently complex and difficult. Already, several
researchers have questioned the validity of educational applications of brain research
(Bruer, 1997). If nothing else, the sheer volume of new information about how the
brain functions and learns forces us to question what we truly ―know‖ about learning
and educational practice.

Principles of Brain Based Learning
Drawing from the findings above, several intriguing principles and practical
implications have emerged. The following principles are of particular interest to
experiential educators as they support some long-standing practices within experiential
education and also push the envelope of what may be possible in the future.

Principle # 1: Pattern and Meaning Making
Research supports the claim that the search for meaning is innate and occurs through
patterning (Caine and Caine, 1994). Patterning refers to the meaningful organization
and categorization of information (Nummela and Rosegren, 1986). The brain is
designed to search for and integrate new information into existing structures and
actively resists ―meaningless‖ patterns (Caine and Caine, 1994). The process is
constant and does not stop—regardless of whether or not we have stopped teaching!
This principle reinforces many of the practices we attribute to experiential learning
including emphasis on context and framing, learner involvement in the teaching of the
material, alternating between details and big picture (whole/part), reflection
components, and relevancy (i.e., relating information to students‘ previous experience
and learning).

Quick Tip #1: Chunking can be an effective tool for presenting the learner with
information in an organized, meaningful way. Look at the following list of letters:
IBFVTNOJBLKFJ. Try to memorize them as presented. Now look at the next list of
letters: JFK, LBJ, ON, TV, FBI. The second list is much easier to memorize even
though they are the same letters. They have simply been chunked and arranged in a
meaningful way that draws on previous experience and information. Consider how
you might chunk small activities (lessons or even directions) and large, multi-day
experiences. How can you arrange the information in a more meaningful, patterned

Quick Tip #2: Use a ―Big Picture.‖ Remember that your students do not have the
same view of the course, lesson, or program that you do. Provide them with a big
picture as soon as possible at the beginning of the experience. Rather than an
exhaustive outline or itinerary, the big picture gives your students a taste of what‘s
coming and allows them to begin making patterns, connections, and frames for the
experience. Re-visit the big picture a few times throughout the experience to further
solidify the link. In this regard, it is helpful to have it on a flip chart or other visual
aid. Try using a ―you are here‖ map with a movable arrow.

Principle #2: The Brain as a Parallel Processor
The human brain is the ultimate, multi-tasking machine, constantly doing many things
at once. This is because the brain is geared toward survival and is, in actuality, poorly
designed for linear, lock-step instruction (Jensen, 2000). Consider how you learned to
ride a bicycle. Did you learn through reading a book or hearing a lecture on the
separate topics of bike parts, safety, and operation? No. It is more likely you learned
through a more dynamic and complex series of experiences. Current research supports
the notion that the brain learns best through rich, complex, and multi-sensory
environments (Jensen, 2000). In this sense, the teacher is seen more as an orchestrator
of learning environments rather than an instructor of linear lesson plans or even a
facilitator of experiences (Deporter, B., Reardon, M.,, and S. Singer-Nourie, 1999).
Practical applications for parallel processing include the use of multi-modal
instructional techniques (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and multiple intelligence
activities (Gardner, 1985). Simulations and role-plays mimic our natural learning
environment and encourage complex processing. Lastly, enriched learning
environments can be orchestrated through the components of challenge, novelty,
choice, high feedback, social interaction, and active participation (Diamond and
Hopson, 1998). If the benefits of enriched, multi-sensory, complex learning
environments continue to be supported by the research, experiential theory and
practice can and must play a larger role in the classroom of the future.

Quick Tip #3: Use the EELDRC (Enroll, Experience, Label, Demonstrate, Review,
Celebrate) design frame (Deporter, B., Reardon, M., and S. Singer-Nourie, 1999) to
create a dynamic, complex, multi-sensory lesson plan. In the Enroll segment, seek to
engage students in the material through intrigue and answering the learner question
―What‘s In It For Me?‖ Give them a brief Experience to immerse students in the new
information. Use the Label segment to punctuate the most salient points with a
―lecturette‖ or de-brief. Provide an opportunity for the participants to Demonstrate
with the new information to encourage connections and personalization of the
material. Review the material to cement the big picture and, finally, find a way to
Celebrate the experience to reinforce positive associations with the learning.

Principle # 3: Stress and Threat
Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat (Jensen, 2000). Paul
MacLean offers a model for considering this principle through his Triune Brain theory
(1978). MacLean categorizes the brain into three main regions or separate brains—the
Reptilian (or R-complex), the Mammalian (or Limbic), and the Neo-Mammalian (or
Neo-Cortex). The reptilian brain controls physical survival and basic needs (flight or
fight responses). This is our most primitive ―brain.‖ The second brain—the
Mammalian—houses both the hippocampus and amygdala—the primary centers for
emotion and memory. Lastly, the most advanced part of our brains, according to
MacLean, is our Neo-Cortex. It is here where we use higher order thinking skills—
synthesizing, logical and operational thinking, speech, and planning for the future
(Caine and Caine, 1994).

In this model, the brain has the capacity to ―shift‖ up or down depending on perception
of the immediate environment. Perceived threat can force the brain to ―downshift‖ to
lower order thinking (Hart, 1983). Yet, heightened challenge and stress, referred to as
eustress, can invite an up-shift response into higher order thinking skills in the neo-
cortex. Recent research has suggested that the chemical and physiological responses
to stress and threat are radically different (Caine and Caine, 1994). Psychological
models also support a difference between perceived challenge and threat
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1991). This idea is expressed in experiential pedagogy through the
concepts of adaptive dissonance and the ―comfort zone.‖ In both cases, the facilitator
or teacher intentionally places the learner in stressful situations to encourage and invite
new adaptive behaviors and mental models that may be more successful or effective
for the learner.

Caine and Caine suggest that specific learning conditions can create situations of
upshifting or downshifting. Downshifting can occur when ―prespecified ‗correct‘
outcomes have been established by an external agent; personal meaning is limited;
rewards and punishments are externally controlled; restrictive time lines are given; and
the work to be done is relatively unfamiliar with little support available‖(Caine and
Caine, 1994, p. 84). By contrast, to create upshifting conditions ―outcomes should be
relatively open ended; personal meaning should be maximized; emphasis should be on
intrinsic motivation; tasks should have relatively open-ended time lines; and should be
manageable and supported‖ (Caine and Caine, 1994, p. 85). Emotions also play a
critical role in both memory encoding and threat perception (LeDoux, 1996). Too
little emotion and the brain has a difficult time ―tagging‖ the material for long term
memory. Too much emotion and the situation may be perceived as threatening,
causing a downshift in mental functions (Brandt and Wolfe, 1998).

Practical applications of the stress/threat principle are numerous and exciting for the
experiential field. Experiential pedagogy, with its emphasis on novelty, interpersonal
interaction, challenge by choice, and the use of emotions such as play, fear, and
humor, is uniquely suited to address stress/threat balances. Understanding how these
brain compatible principles can be strengthened by experiential learning opens the
possibility for meaningful dialogue with mainstream education.

Quick Tip #4: To lower threat levels early in your program, make a strong emphasis
on relationship building both peer-peer and teacher-student. Work the group from the
―inside-out‖ by making a conscious effort to spend personal time with as many
students as possible, either on the trail or at water breaks. Work the group ―outside-in‖
by facilitating highly interactive experiences like paired shares, new games, or trust

Quick Tip #5: Use the 60/40 rule for planning your lesson plans. Sixty percent of
your experiences should be ritual based activities that are repetitive (like morning
check-ins, skill progressions, warm-ups, or post-activity debriefs) to allow your
participants to experience known activities in an unknown environment. But be sure
to make approximately 40 percent of activities novel. The introduction of elements of
suspense, surprise, and disorder keep learners engaged and can be an effective way to
manage attention spans. Instead of circling up every time, ―rhombus-up‖ with your
group every so often. Mix-up de-briefs by using paired shares, group reports, or silent
journaling instead of large group discussion. Introduce skill sections playfully with
characters and costumes (knots with Ivana Climbalot, or baking with Chef

By Jay Roberts. Originally published in the Journal of Experiential Education, 2003.
Facilitation Skills: Processing the Experience- a reference handout

What Is It?
De-briefing, reflection, and processing of the experience involve guided discussion
and/or reflection of an event or learning experience. It can be done individually, in
small groups, or in a large group. Consider processing like starting a fire. You need 3
things: appropriate conditions, a spark or fire source, and oxygen to keep it going. The
combination of the frame and the experience provides us with the appropriate
conditions, the questions you ask provide the “spark,” and the act of processing gives
us the “oxygen” to keep that experience alive and growing.

            OR FRAME                 EXPERIENCE



                                                                “THE SPARK”


Why Do We Do It?
Consider again how to light a fire. Processing or de-briefing the experience is the
“spark” in the experiential learning cycle. Without the steps of reflection and
synthesis, activities become mere in-the-moment exercises with no impact on future
change in values or behavior. The conditions will not catch fire. The best experience
can become almost meaningless without appropriate processing. On the other hand, a
sub-par or less engaging experience can be brought to life with an insightful
discussion. With the appropriate amount of processing, the fire may grow through the
“oxygen” of transferring or applying the new knowledge towards further growth and

When Do We Do It?
 During and/or after events or experiences
 Interventions (in the middle of an experience) to shift attitude/behavior
 Teachable/Learnable Moments during an experience to highlight or emphasize the
   Incubation vs. de-briefing (sometimes its OK to not process something)

How Do You Process?
Whole Group
Small Group Break-outs
Paired Shares (2-3) and Solo reflections (journaling, “think and ink”, etc.)

Do not speak unless…you can improve upon the silence (wait for them to speak!)
Ask don’t tell (open ended questions)
Model active listening
Start small (kindling before logs)
Be Inclusive (language, atmosphere, tone)
Obtain permission (do not go where participants do not want to)
Know you own limits (do not go where you are not trained or have experience)
Find a balance between Ritual (things you always do) and Novelty (new ways) (60:40)

What (review) So What (Integrate) Now What (Continuation/Transfer)
Note critical incidents (I noticed today that folks seemed a little testy on the portage-
did anyone else notice that?)
Paraphrasing and re-directs (that’s interesting Sara…what do others think?)
Sum up lessons learned (It seems as if we learned something today about trust and
building relationships…)
Ask them to transfer the metaphor (what else might be a “”nasty bushwack” in your
life right now?).

Open discussions:
   Seminars style/format (plan chewy question(s) to get them started- Example:
    “what do you think makes something “wilderness”?

  Gems and Opportunities (what did you do well, what can you improve on?)
  Continue-Start-Stop (what would you continue to do, stop doing, start?)
  One thing I will put in my backpack /toolbox from this is…

Individual “Fire-starters”
   One Word Whips (surprisingly…)
   Postcards (if this experience was a postcard- what is the picture? What is the
    statement summarizing it on the back?)
   Movie Titles/Headlines (pick a movie title, real or made up that best summarizes
    the eperience…)

Structured Thematic:
   Walk and Talks (go walk with a partner and discuss…)
   Report Backs (in small group discuss…then report back…)
   Journaling (important to give them structure here but also choice)
   Snapshots (have group create a “snapshot” with body poses of key events or
    learnings. Have a narrator.

From Luckner & Nadler, Processing the Experience, 1997; Priest and Gass,
Adventure Programming, 2001; and Jay Roberts, personal notes.
“Journal Writing in Experiential Education: Possibilities, Problems, and
Recommendations”- Excerpt

―The recording of daily events, personal reflections, questions about the environment,
and reactions to experiences has been an enduring human practice. Some of the
earliest journal writers included the Greeks and Romans, women of 10th-century
Japan, and ―enlightened‖ individuals during the Renaissance. Among the greatest
historical influences on contemporary journal writing in North America have been the
recorded accounts of explorers such as Lewis and Clark and John Wesley Powell.
Writers such as Gilbert White, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Anne Frank,
Margaret Mead, and Aldo Leopold have also impacted modern journal writing. It was
not until the early 1960s that researchers recognized the value of journal writing in
educational settings. Since then, the use of journal writing as a learning exercise has
flourished (Janesick, 1998; Moutoux, 2002; Raffan & Barrett, 1989). Instructors from
a wide range of disciplines have used journal writing in various contexts. English and
literature teachers often ask students to record their thoughts and feelings about stories
or to deconstruct what the author is saying (Cole, 1994). Instructors in teacher
education programs and psychology require students to write about how they connect
course content to practice (Anderson, 1993; Hettich, 1990). Researchers have
examined how journal writing impacted business students‘ listening behaviors and
related thoughts about how they could improve those skills (Johnson & Barker, 1995).
Journal writing has been used with nontraditional students and women who have
returned to school in adult degree programs (Walden, 1995). While many instructors
ask individual students to keep journals, some teachers have found group journals to
be an effective exercise as well (Kohut, 1998).

Outdoor and experiential educators also have used journal writing in a variety of ways.
Natural science and environmental educators who work in the field of experiential
education often encourage or require their students to keep journals. Journals are a
time-honored venue to assist students in deepening their observations about their
surroundings (Hammond, 2002). Perhaps one of the most popular uses of journals is to
reflect on experiences that occur outside the traditional classroom, such as internships,
student teaching, field trips, and expeditionary learning activities (Raffan & Barrett,
1989). Instructors also use journal writing to help students reflect on self-discovery,
group dynamics, professional development, sense of place, and academic theory, as
well as to record such factual information as weather conditions, activities of group
members, flora, fauna, times, and locations.

Possible Benefits
It is not surprising that journals are used so often in experiential education, given their
generally recognized benefits. One of the most recognized uses is to help facilitate
reflection, a critical component of the experiential education cycle. Through journals,
students can record a concrete experience, reflect on and record their observations
about the experience, integrate the observation into abstract concepts or theories, and
use the theories to make decisions or solve problems. Writing helps students to
construct their own knowledge by allowing them to express connections between new
information and knowledge they already have. Journal writing also can improve
students‘ writing, enhance critical thinking skills, encourage observational skills, and
develop creative skills. Journal writing helps students develop their writing skills as
they are encouraged to ―experiment with writing, to experience, perhaps for the first
time, writing that may be highly personal, relatively unstructured, speculative,
uninhibited, tentative, in process, in flux‖ (Anderson, 1993, p. 305). As a result of this
freedom and success, students often take pride in their journals. From an
environmental perspective, journals can help students develop intimate connections
with the more-than human world as they learn to observe and record patterns and
processes in the natural world.

Despite the numerous benefits associated with journal writing, several problems
should be mentioned. Major concerns identified in the literature include (1) the
overuse of journals, which results in students feeling ―journaled to death‖ (Anderson,
1993, p. 306) and that journals are ―a pointless ritual wrapped in meaningless words‖
(Shor, 1992, p. 83); (2) students writing ―whatever pleases the instructor‖ (Anderson,
1993, p. 305) in order to get a good grade; (3) students writing purely descriptive
entries, with limited reflection (Kerka, 1996); (4) misuse of journals, in which students
attack other students or make inappropriate comments about other students (Anderson,
1993); (5) limited training opportunities for students to learn more about journal
writing (Dyment & O‘Connell, in press-b); (6) the overreliance on journals as a
reflective tool; as well as (7) the challenges associated with evaluating journals
(Chandler, 1997; Moutoux, 2002).

Recommendations for Educators Who Want to Use Journals
The literature about journal writing offers several recommendations.

1. Offer thorough and detailed feedback. Educators who want to capitalize on the
potential of journal writing must be willing to spend the time and effort to offer
students feedback on the substance of their journal entries (Anderson, 1993). Feedback
will also help students identify their own areas of strengths and weaknesses in journal
writing (e.g., writing technique, making connections to theory).

2. Improve students‘ journal writing skills by offering workshops. Educators who
include journals in the curriculum would be wise to offer students formal and informal
training in journal writing (Dyment & O‘Connell, 2003). Educators may also consider
giving students loose guidelines to help focus their writing. For example, students may
be asked to write a poem or draw a concept map that explains their understanding of
the subject of study, or write from the perspective of another person or object involved
in an experience.

 3. Recognize that students will have varying interests in journal writing. While many
students will be generally supportive of journal writing, it is important to remember
that some students may dislike journal writing (Shor, 1992). Educators should
consider offering alternative means of facilitating reflection (e.g., video journals, focus
group debriefing sessions, Web pages).

4. Recognize the different ways that males and females perceive journal writing. It
appears that males and females have different perceptions of journal writing. Females
often are more open and receptive to the journal writing process (Burt, 1994; Dyment
& O‘Connell, in press-a). Some males may need additional training to feel
comfortable with journal writing as a reflective technique. Positive, constructive
feedback from educators may influence how males perceive their journals and may
lead to a more powerful reflective experience (Dyment & O‘Connell, in press-a).

5. Set aside semi-structured time for journal writing. If educators truly value journals,
they must remember to provide adequate time for reflection and writing (Dyment &
O‘Connell, in press-b).

6. Model good journal writing behavior. In addition to providing time for journal
writing, educators should model good journal writing behaviors. If an educator is
supportive of the journal writing process, keeps a daily journal, and helps to facilitate
reflective activities, then students may have more positive experiences with journal
writing (Dyment & O‘Connell, in press-b).

7. Consider alternative models for evaluating journals. Educators should explore
multiple ways of evaluating journal writing, including selfevaluation, peer evaluation,
and coevaluation (i.e., student and teacher) as alternative methods (Chandler, 1997;
Moutoux, 2002). Educators also might consider allowing students to choose the
percentage of the final grade that their journal is worth. to develop trusting
relationships with their students to maximize the potential of journal writing (Dyment
& O‘Connell, in press-b).

8. Establish a trusting relationship between the journal writer and the journal reader. It
appears that trust is a critical factor that influences student perceptions and behaviors
of journal writing. Educators must work hard,
9. Avoid journal writing students ―to death.‖ Educators must coordinate journal
writing assignments with other instructors who ask students to write journals to ensure
they are not overused. Instructors within the same department or institution may
consider allowing students to keep a single journal for a number of classes, or ask
students to reflect in other ways (Anderson, 1993). While journal writing holds great
potential for enhancing learning in experiential education, for this potential to be fully
realized, educators must recognize potential pitfalls and develop effective strategies
for avoiding them.‖

By Janet E. Dyment and Timothy S. O’Connell in ERIC Digest EDO-RC-03-5,
September 2003.
“Improving Women's Learning and Leading at NOLS-Excerpt

―This article is for people who want to recognize and empower women's learning and
leading styles. As a school, NOLS has an imperative to improve the educational
quality of courses. Being better educated about behavioral patterns related to gender
will help improve students' performance. There are three things we can do to affect
change for ourselves, our students and co-workers:

    • We can learn about differences between the genders
    • We can change our own behaviors
    • We can change our interpretation and evaluation of others' behaviors

Part One: Learning About Differences Between the Genders
… ―Discussing masculine and feminine traits can be tricky. No one wants to be
pigeon-holed into one style. A more realistic view is that each person occupies a range
that extends over a wide section of the continuum. Rarely does a person represent a
narrow point on the continuum. The more an individual can expand his/her range, the
more effective a leader s/he will be. A leader has to move back and forth between
styles, depending on the situation and the group members.

Masculine                                                Feminine
 Report (interactions an exchange of              Rapport (interactions create
                facts)                                  connections)
  Hierarchical Relationships (Up or               Web relationships (Level)
       External topics (sports)                    Internal topics (feelings)
      Showing what you know                        Sharing what you know
   Competition relished, improves              Competition disliked, decreases
             performance                                 performance
       Provider (gives things)                Nurturer (gives emotional support)
                 Stoic                                    Emotional
            Lead out front                       Follow; Leads from Behind
                 Fixer                                      Listener
              Risk Taker                              Cautious/ Yielding

From this list, masculine skills are often more obviously noted and measured than
feminine skills. One instructor described the difference as that some of the masculine
skills are what contribute to action (the route getting climbed, the rapid boated) where
are the feminine skills contribute to the style in which they were accomplished. He
pointed out that when feminine skills are absent on a course, we notice some sort of
hole in the experience, a malaise that is hard to define. When feminine skills are
present, we note that the course "went really well".

Where instructors often fall short is in identifying behaviors that characterize the
feminine end. Because of this, instructors struggle to recognize when the feminine
traits are being used and how they benefit the group. The internal study done by Molly
Doran and Eliza Eddy suggests that the NOLS community has a bias against our
women students in the evaluation process (Does NOLS Have a Gender Bias in Student
and Instructor Course Evaluations? NOLS Newsletter 12/98.) Additionally, since we
don't clearly recognize the attributes of the feminine end, we have a hard time creating
a proportionate balance in using the styles. Focusing on the feminine side stretches us
to increase diversity of thought and learning.

Note: Social scientists distinguish between sex and gender. Sex is the biological
determination of who we are. Gender is who we are socialized to be by those around
us, expectations of popular culture, and/or societal norms. Words such as masculine
and feminine are representative of gender, not sex. Many men and women have a
range of traits and behaviors that extend to some degree into both sides of the
continuum. In fact, some men have a predominantly feminine style, and some women
have a predominantly masculine style. We should be aware that using masculine to
mean male or men is incorrect, just as feminine should not be interchangeable with
female or women.

Part Two: Changing Our Behaviors to Build Students' Confidence

Patience Is a Virtue
Classroom teachers wait on average .9 seconds for a response. Waiting longer, and not
allowing another student to jump in, gives an encouraging message (Failing At
Fairness p 57-8.) In the classroom, boys often shout out answers before the selected
girl has a chance to answer. Ask a student by name to answer a question, and wait
until she answers. Fend off the blurters and instruct them to wait until recognized.
We've all heard about the studies in which teachers were told that some students in the
classroom were gifted (although they were actually chosen at random.) The teachers
had subtle, unconscious ways of encouraging the gifted students and those students
had marked improvement in performance.

Providing Better Types of Feedback
A team of trained observers in 100 fourth, sixth and eighth grade classrooms found
that teachers offer 4 basic types of feedback:
    1.   Praise: and a specific object of performance. "Excellent route description.
         You have a good description of our next campsite." "I like the way you
         created an anchor with limited pieces"
    2.   Remediation: encourages a student to rethink the process to correct an
         answer. For example, "Think about your tide calculations. Then decide if the
         morning is the best time to attempt the crossing."
    3.   Criticism: a specific statement of being wrong. "No, that's not Wind River
    4.   Acceptance: a quick acknowledgment, "Uh- huh" "OK" or "Good."

The first three styles foster development and are appropriate responses, depending on
the situation. The fourth style offers little tools for further development. It's basically
filler. The observers found that more than 50% of the time, teachers used acceptance.
The difference really came out on gender lines: boys were far more likely to receive
one of the first three types of feedback while girls received predominantly acceptance
(Failing At Fairness pp. 54-5.)

We likely have adopted this subtle bias from our years in the classroom. We can adopt
better feedback styles to encourage participation and engage learners on courses.
Praise a correct answer and be specific: "Yes, that's correct. You placed each piece of
the anchor well." Be aware that how you respond to an incorrect answer has an impact
on her desire to participate in the future. "No, that's not quite right. Think about what
would happen if the stopper failed. Where would the force go?" and then wait for an

Targeting Better Topics of Feedback
Observation of men and women in the office reveal different desires for feedback.
Men typically want to know what they need to work on while women want more
direct information on what they are doing well. (Talking From 9 to 5 pp. 67-8.)
Similarly, Rená Koesler's work in 1994 suggested that for male students, receiving
immediate feedback was most important in their leadership development. Women
students cited mentoring as a critical component to their leadership development
(Koesler, 1994.) Do we provide the desired mix of feedback and praise to our

In student evaluations and debrief summaries, we write praise for women students'
expedition behavior, an area where women tend to do well. However, the need for
praise is more specific: many women additionally want praise concerning what they
are learning and actively working on improving, which is often a technical or physical
aspect of the course. Having their efforts noted and valued through praise is an
important show of support.
Providing Enough Praise and Encouragement
Our students need to have accurate self-perceptions. Compliments and constructive
feedback help make this happen, and everyone needs to receive both to grow. How
much is enough? Molly Doran shared recently that the latest information on group
development shows that groups do best with a ratio of 7 to 1, praise to critique. This
means that our feedback sandwich of 'good-needs improvement- good' isn't a complete

Some instructors noticed that giving praise can be more difficult to female students
than to male. For example, at the end of a hiking day when the male leader is told he
did a good job consistently reading the map at breaks and on the trail, a typical
response would be, "Thanks, yeah, I like the way I did that." The compliment was an
addition or reaffirmation of what he already came to believe.

When the same comment is said to a female leader who performed at the same level,
the typical response is often, "Really? But I was wrong about the ridge line." Here the
comment contrasts with her perceptions of her performance. She focuses on the
shortcoming instead of the big picture. It often takes continued conversation to get her
to reach the same point.

         "Yes, you were wrong about the ridge but you recognized
         x, y, z and this drainage as well."
         "But it took me so long to know that."
         "Actually you didn't take a long time. You knew it before
         anyone else in the group did."
         "Yeah, I guess you are right."
         "Guess? What do you mean you 'guess'?"
         "Thanks, you are right. I like the way I did that."

Ultimately the same level of self- awareness is reached, but it took persistence on the
leader's part.

On a related topic, numerous instructors have noticed when a female and male student
have comparable skills, the male student will express greater confidence in his abilities
than the female will in her abilities. Often times, female students need additional
words of praise and support to achieve the same level of self confidence. Staff do the
same thing: women instructors shy away from asking for rock camps, mountaineering
courses, harder river sections, etc. claiming they "need a little more experience… I am
just not there yet… Do you really think I am qualified?" A friend, co-worker, CL or
program supervisor giving repeated votes of encouragement are instrumental in
creating confidence.
Targeting Better Topics of Praise
Research conducted on teacher praise in classrooms showed that boys were more
likely to be praised for their performance and intellectual abilities while girls were
twice as likely to be praised on appearance of themselves or their work, or for
following the rules (Failing At Fairness p. 57.) There is a subtle difference between
saying, "You packed your pack well today. Everything is inside and you filled all the
space well" compared to saying simply "Your pack looks good today." The former
includes specificity and notes the individual's actions that led to a successful outcome.
The latter comments on the aesthetics, yet notes nothing about how the pack came to
look good.

Praise and Sources of Success
A common observation from field staff is that a female leader of the day will give
credit to the days' success to external factors ("Oh, I didn't do anything. The sea was
calm, the group was in a great mood, it didn't rain after all) and will quickly fault
herself for any snafus (I should have scouted better, I read the tide chart wrong.) She
labels herself helpless, which can become a self fulfilling prophecy.

         "I have found that teachers will help girls and tell them the answer.
         If boys don't know the answer, they will be made to solve it
         themselves." Said by a tenth grade female science student, meet by
         agreement from male classmates (Failing At Fairness pp. 156-7.)

"[Some] girls have learned that helplessness is a way to get things done for them‖(On
the Edge, Amy Kohut.) Be on the lookout for the ―helpless‖ female student who asks
questions to get something done for her. Likewise, be on the lookout for the "here, just
let me help you" student or instructor who resets the cam into a better spot, lights the
stove, ties the knot, or answers the map question for the student instead of encouraging
the student to come to her own answer. Provide support and coaching that directs her
to find the answer independently.

Denise Mitten explained that men and women tend to use different reasons for success
and failure. Men often cite an internal reason for success, such as "I did the climb
because I have the strength" and an external reason for failure, "I couldn't climb the
peak because lightning started early today." Women tend to do the opposite,
explaining success through an external factor, such as a leader saying, "The weather
was so awesome, of course we had a great climb." and offering an internal reason for
poor performance, "I didn't summit because I didn't pay enough attention to the
weather." (NOLS seminar, June 1997.)

We can intervene by screening comments for external reasons for success and internal
reasons for failure. When we are diligent in pointing out that desired outcomes
occurred because of ability, attention and hard work and not luck, we increase their
self confidence.

Humor Isn't Always Funny
There are different forms of humor that are generally accepted among men and
women. Among men, the most common forms of humor include razzing, teasing and
mock hostile attacks. For women, self- mocking humor is most frequent (Talking
From 9 to 5 pp.72-3.) Responding to questions by first making a funny comment about
the question or the person asking, such as "What do you mean you can't figure that
out?" or a laughing, "Maybe there is such a thing as a stupid question!" before going
on to give a complete answer can be detrimental. Even though the comments are
meant entirely in jest, the effect on women is that they ask less or quit asking.

Changing Vocabulary
Make an effort to use inquiring language instead of measuring language. Ask, "What
did you learn about climbing today? How did you come to learn that?" rather than
about the number of climbs done, or whether or not the student did the hard move.

Some instructors have noticed that we tend to use adjectives in describing a student's
skill that are speed or strength based, i.e. a good hiker is "fast" or "strong". Instead, we
could use adjectives that are more skills based, such as "accurate", "consistent" or
"steady." Using strength related adjectives adds a competitive tone to performance.

Competition and Performance
Competition is often viewed- and valued- differently by men and women. A couple at
NOLS figured out over the years that they each need different responses from the
other to perform at his/her best. When Harold has a tough time on a climb and thinks
about backing off, Elaine knows the way to motivate him is to push him to compete by
teasing, "Do you want me to get the draws on it for you? Or are you just to weak to do
the climb?" Sure enough, Harold's competitive juices get flowing and he finishes the
route. When Elaine struggles on a climb, the response she needs is non-competitive
support: "I know your arms are tired but your footwork still looks really good. I bet if
you did this climb first next time we come that you would flash it." Hearing this
support, Elaine decides to rest a bit and try again, successfully.

John Kanengieter found a contrast between boy and girls and their concept of
competition while playing a game. He noticed that when Joseph and Patrick played,
their focus was all about getting to the designated point score first and each was
focused on winning and beating the other. Hannah and Mei, on the other hand, played
as a team. When Hannah won the ball for the third play in a row, she offered it to Mei
so she could have a turn. Later, Mei, who was way ahead and likely to win in a couple
more at bats, suggested that they raise the needed score by another few hundred points
so 'Hannah can have a chance to catch up.' For the boys, the joy of competition was
that someone clearly wins and someone clearly loses. For the girls, the joy of
competition was that they both had a fun time. Their ideal was that they 'both win' by

These are both totally valid views of competition. These are also nearly exclusive. In
one view, one person is top dog and in the other the spoils of victory are sweetest
shared. How do we accommodate both on a course? One way is talking about it. Offer
the story of Elaine and Harold to the students, maybe switching the characters. Do
they identify with one more than the other? What sorts of comments from your belayer
help motivate and support you? Another way might be having two different groups at
a crag, or boating that day that have similar styles. Or, we might not be able to
accommodate groups but we can coach individuals in the way that is most helpful to
him or her.

Understand What Gives a Leader Authority
Men grant a leader authority when he hears the leader's credentials. Male students
frequently ask how hard you climb, how steep you ski, how hard a rapid you can
paddle, how many pull ups you can do, who is the CL in the instructor team. These
types of questions relate to figuring out the hierarchy among members. They stem
from curiosity, not antagonism or dubiousness about an instructor's abilities.

Women grant authority based on their feeling of connection with the leader, whether
or not they think the leader is invested in them. Having a personal connection is
crucial. Feeling comfortable asking questions of the instructor is far more important
than what gnarly climbs s/he has done.

These needs seem especially critical when the instructor and student are different
genders. Female instructors who have a hard time being accepted by their male
students should proactively tell them about past experiences. Male instructors who
find they have a hard time connecting to their female students should make a point of
having a one to one chat within the first couple of days.

The same follows in the workplace or instructor team and is especially true when a
woman is new to the course type. Women staff feel more included in the instructor
team and perform with more confidence, when other instructor(s) make a personal

Role Models
A male instructor who has worked 21 climbing camps, plus a number of
mountaineering courses noticed a distinct pattern: women students always climbed
better (and most of the men, too) when a woman instructor was present, regardless of
her climbing level. We know from personal experience, as well as research, that role
models are incredibly important to each of us. Seeing someone achieve at a high level
who represents our religion, nationality, gender, or racial background inspires us.

Include the women mountaineers, climbers, boaters, or conservationists when you
teach about a skill or talk about performers in that area. Think about the impact on
female mountaineering students to learn about Phyllis Munday, Joan Firey, Gwen
Moffat, Kathy Phibbs, Lorraine Bonney, Arlene Blum and Sharon Wood in addition to
Katie Brown and Lynn Hill, and Kitty Calhoun.

Are You Talking to Me?
It is commonly accepted to use "he" to refer to all people. We call out to the group
around us, in the field or in the office, "Hey guys!" for simplicity's sake. Books on
leadership refer to the leader as "he", text books in classrooms have scant info on
women and commonly refer to people as "he." Even though these uses are not meant
in any derogatory fashion, the repeated use of masculine pronouns can contribute to
women feeling isolated and ignored.

What would the reaction be if we addressed all groups as "she" and called to the group
"Hey gals!"? Would we hear complaints? Probably. We likely wouldn't address a
mountaineering course as "you gals" and expect the group to accept it. There are
plenty of other words to use: folks, people, everyone, gang, everybody, or y'all next
time you speak to a co-ed group.

Leadership: Earned or Given?
Field staff note that women students are reluctant to volunteer for leadership positions.
In one study when a group was given a test and told that the woman in the group had
done the best and so was most suited to lead (although she was selected at random),
and that she had information that was important to the group success which the others
didn't have, she participated at a higher level then when the group drew straws to
determine the leader. Also, the other group members were more accepting of a woman
in leadership when they believed she had special skills or knowledge (Talking From 9
to 5 p. 191-2.)

The lessons for us are twofold. One, the woman did better when she believed she was
chosen for a reason. Second, she received more support from others when her skills
were recognized. We can address both aspects by saying in front of the group:
"Amelia, you should be a hiking group leader tomorrow because your map skills will
help make the hike off trail smoother."
Gender Composition of Groups
Individually, men/women have similar abilities. Differences, and at times problems,
come to light when they interact. (Talking From 9 to 5 p. 286.) Some differences are
more subtle. Women in meetings spoke an average of 3-10 seconds while their male
co-workers spoke 11-17 seconds. Women spoke in lower volumes and for shorter
times than men in meetings (Talking From 9 to 5 p279-80.) Be aware of this in student
discussions or in interactions among students when making decisions. Intervene and
encourage equal participation and be careful of our interpretations. A woman might
broach a topic by offering an insight for a few seconds and then a man might expand
on her idea. What we likely remember is the man speaking longer and louder and
credit him with the original thought.

Some instructors have commented that based on their experiences, a single woman in
a group performs at a low level. They theorize that she would do better in a group with
a more equal gender mix, or an all female group. Their anecdotal observations are
backed by research. Several studies of young children show that preferred play
partners are same sex. One group of observers studied pairs of young children who
previously didn't know each other. When girls played together, they were less passive
in language and actions than when 2 boys played together. When a girl and boy played
together, the girl became very passive and watched, rather than join in the activity
(Talking From 9 to 5 pp. 286-7.) Two separate studies of young children showed that
girls listened to both boys and girls protests about the play game and boys listened
only to other boys and ignored protests of girls (Talking From 9 to 5 p. 287; AAUW
pp. 126-7.) One researcher extended observations to college women and found that
they spoke assertively among themselves and became passive when a male was
present (Failing At Fairness p. 229.)

Instructors who have students build anchors in co-ed groups likely have seen that the
men are the active anchor builders while the women help, or even just watch. There is
a direct benefit to learning and practicing skills in single gender groups. Likewise, in
co-ed groups, we can also be better at intervening when we see women assuming a
passive role, or men not responding to women's questions or suggestions.

Competence  Confidence
Outdoor leaders need to have accurate measures of their abilities, neither under nor
over- stating their skills. Staff commonly observe that although their male and female
students have demonstrated similar levels competence in a skill area, the students
express different levels of confidence. Male students tend to claim greater competency
than they possess while female students profess less competency.

TA Loeffler, NOLS instructor and 1999 AEE Educator of the Year award winner,
teaches her students to GRAC: Gain competency, Recognize it, Assess it, Claim it
(Personal Con. 2/00.) This measured reflection of the competence cycle provides a
simple and effective framework to measure an individual's abilities. An instructor
helps the process by being a voice of objectivity.

Are You Really Confident or Do I Just Assume That?We evaluate confidence
based on how the other person portrays it through comments and attitude, rather than
on past performance and an objective evaluation of demonstrated skills (Talking From
9 to 5 p. 34-5.) Since numerous studies have shown our complete inability to tell when
someone is lying, our perceptions of competence and confidence are based on bravado
and show. When we hear a student, often a female, express concern about her
performance as leader, we usually assume that she doubts herself when often times she
is just talking more freely about options and contingency plans.

At a recent climbing camp, a female student prepared for her first lead climb, and
shared with her instructors her plan if she were to fall, or be unable to complete the
climb. One instructor interpreted this as meaning she had misgivings or doubts about
her ability to complete the climb without falling. What she wanted to communicate
was that, while she had every intention of completing the climb, she wanted to think
through and be prepared for any eventuality. This dialogue plays out all the time on
courses. We tend to think that because a shortcoming is talked about, a lack of both
confidence and competence exists.

Self Promotion
Studies have shown that women's desire and ability to ask for a raise or promotion is
less active then male counterparts (Talking From 9 to 5 p 31.) At NOLS, we've seen
this play out when women students don't volunteer to be leader of the day, hesitate to
apply for the instructor course, hesitate to push to get onto the WIS or to ask for more
work, shy away from telling staffing about her most recent climbing accomplishments.
When we encourage women to toot their own horn, send her an IC application and say
"I think you can do this, you should apply" or when we encourage her to give a
climbing resume to staffing, we help women gain confidence and visibility. We need
to repeat ourselves until we are heard.

Double Standards are Hard to Shake
We support the Spanish speakers in a WFR class sitting together, speaking Spanish at
breaks, and working together during scenarios. When 3 male students hang out
together on a course, we allow it, and maybe ask if they will do a trip together after the
course. When the 3 female students hang out together on a course, some instructors
label them a clique and split them up for classes and activities. Is this fair? Probably
not, especially considering that for many women, learning skills in a single gender
environment or among friends is a key component to learning success.

Does the squeaky wheel get the grease or does the nail that sticks out get pounded
back in? Culturally in the US, we tend to apply the first to men and the second to
women. Men who speak crisply and directly are usually perceived as no nonsense,
businesslike, clear communicators. Women who speak in the same words and tones
are often perceived as brusque, arrogant, and too masculine (Talking From 9 to 5 p.
195.) Women students and staff alike comment that they can't win for losing in terms
of displaying confidence and competence. If they are gung-ho to learn skills, they are
called bossy or aggressive. If they hold back they are considered fearful or lacking
initiative. Women instructors have noticed using direct, firm speech often results in
them being labeled too blunt or tactless. Conversely, if a man uses a style that is
considered palatable and approachable in a woman, he is often labeled a wimp
(Talking From 9 to 5 pp. 40-41.) Do we manifest these biases on courses when we
evaluate leadership abilities? When we ask students to vote on independent travel
leaders, are they aware that they might be using this slanted approach?

Separate but Equal
Acknowledging differences while maintaining equality is a difficult task. One teacher
told of how she used a roster to make sure boys and girls were called on equally. The
boys protested that she was being unfair, even after she showed them the record based
on the roster (Schoolgirls p. 27.) In order to create equality, the majority population
has to give up something and that's a hard thing to do.

In validating both ends of the masculine/ feminine continuum, there are inevitable
hurdles. At the far side of the feminine network of equal relationships, there can be no
boss. At the far end of masculine hierarchy, there can be no partnership. An on-going
challenge for us is to encourage our students to find the common ground, or take turns
using different styles. It is interesting to note that two commonly used forms of
decision making used on courses are "Decide and Announce" (hierarchical) style and
"Let's Vote" (democratic and equal).

Activity Followed By Discussion
When a math teacher switched to doing the problem set first and then having a
discussion, the girls' participation level went up to more nearly match that of the boys;
the boys' participation didn't change (AAUW pp. 123-4.) Perhaps doing skits and then
talking about conflict management techniques would encourage more female
participation. Risk management precludes experimentation with technical skills before
instruction. However, we could alter some of our patterns. Women students could be
taught bouldering safety then practice with an instructor to coach them in discovery by
asking, "If you want to reach that higher hold, what could you do with your feet? What
would happen if turned your hips in?"
Part Three: Ways We Can Change Our Perceptions of Others' Behaviors

Language and Communication Styles
The most important idea to keep in mind is that expressing different opinions is not
what causes conflict. Using different styles of communication causes conflict.
However, simply changing styles is not necessarily the answer. Anne Stetham showed
that when a manager (male or female) adopted the communication style practiced
more commonly associated with the opposite sex, he/she was poorly received by
subordinates of the manager's sex (Talking From 9 to 5 pp. 196-198.) To achieve
success, a leader needs to be able to use a range of communication styles to match
each member in his/her group.

Am I "I" or "We"?
Women are more likely to use "we" where men in the same situation would say "I"
(Talking From 9 to 5 p. 137.) Even if a woman did the work alone, the noun used is
often "we," a subtle way to mask individual accomplishments and not stand out. The
inclusiveness of "we" involves everyone and maintains equality. The use of "I" versus
"We" in addressing a group is a frequent bump for instructor teams. Women staff
prefer announcements in the form of "we" and bristle when a co-worker uses "I" in
explaining a decision made by the entire instructor team.

A student hiking group leader turns in the route description, saying "We did our route
plan. We decided to hike over X pass because it will be shorter, even though it is off
trail." We tend to interpret a leader who says "we" as one who is good at facilitating
others' strengths, when maybe the leader actually is doing all the work and has the
needed skills. A good question to ask is: "Who is 'we'?"

Offering Criticism
Communication researchers studied men and women and how they delivered criticism
to a superior and to a subordinate. Women were more careful to soften their criticism
when speaking to a subordinate while men softened their approach when speaking to a
supervisor (Talking From 9 to 5 pp. 179-80.) Instructors generally say that they want
to receive any and all feedback from their co-workers yet often struggle with finding
the appropriate level of bluntness. We can take this observation directly to the field
and use it as a reference point for discussion if feedback among the team members
isn't what we hope it to be.

Peer relationships are different. Research models on preschool and elementary aged
children show boys and girls respond in different styles to conflict. Boys argue about
rules, or do a replay in a game, until a winner and loser have been determined. Girls
forego the activity and do something else rather than have a winner and loser. The
boys openly jump into conflict and want to have clear cut resolution. For girls, conflict
is divisive and avoided to protect the relationships among the girls (On the Edge, Amy
Kohut, 1997.) We've seen women students remain quiet about bothersome, even
harassing behavior, rather than risk open discourse. Women students could feel more
confident offering a critique if the feedback model has been explained as a way to
build teamwork.

What Does "What do you want to do?" Mean?
This question is either an opportunity to negotiate or declare. Generally, women ask
and respond to this question as a negotiation of interests and area of responsibility: "I
would be interested in x and y, but I could also do a and b. What do you want to do?"
whereas men respond more concretely: "I will do x and y and you can do a and b."
(Talking From 9 to 5 p. 29.) Confusion, and frustration, result when a negotiator
encounters a declarer, and that happens routinely on courses, among both students and
instructors. Additionally, we perceive the declaration as clear leadership, while the
negotiating style is indecisive. Either style works effectively if all involved know what
style is being used.

Direct and Indirect Speech
Members of student groups and instructor teams routinely find themselves at odds
with how someone else either requests him/her to do something. "I wish she would
just tell me what she wants me to do! She needs to quit beating around the bush!"
"Why is he so bossy? He always tells me what to do. What doesn't he ever ask?"

Some people use indirect speech and questioning, such as, "Would you like to teach
belaying tomorrow? Then maybe I'll do signals." Others gravitate towards direct
language and make declarations such as, "You teach belaying tomorrow and then I
will teach signals" (AAUW p. 126.) The benefit of indirect speech is twofold. One, it
makes a position defensive, one that can be changed if not met with agreement and
success. The second is that indirect language helps maintain rapport. Belaying will be
taught because it was mutually agreed on, rather than directed or dictated. Indirect
language such as, "Would you change x so that y could happen?" in offering
constructive feedback is beneficial for the same reason (Talking From 9 to 5 p. 105.)

The downside of using an indirect style of speech is that requests for a change of
action or behavior might be interpreted as suggestions, if recognized at all. A person
who uses and responds better to a direct style might think an indirect style is
indecisive or manipulative. A person who uses and responds better to an indirect style
might think a direct style is bossy and leaves no room for discussion and inclusion.

As instructors, we tend to judge the two styles. We think of a direct style as being
clear, decisive and representing a strong leader. We might overlook that a direct style
can leave others feeling left out or cut off from the decision process. We recognize that
an indirect style fosters a sense of teamwork yet we might also interpret an indirect
style as meaning the speaker lacks confidence, firmness or vision.

Comments and Disclaimers Before Offering a Perfectly Good Idea
We often hear our students preface a comment with, "You can tell me if I am wrong
but…." "I'm not totally positive about this…." "I'm wondering if maybe we should…."
Or "What would you think about doing…?" Often times, the students using this
approach are female.

Our tendency is to interpret the comments as a sign that the speaker lacks confidence.
We think that a capable leader should say a flat out, "We need to go uphill here" or "If
we don't reach the lake in 10 more minutes we have to turn around." Those statements
project the confidence and sureness that we want to follow.

We assume from the language and tone that a confidence issue exists but our
assumption might be wrong. Another possibility is that the speaker is using a variation
of indirect speech to express a concrete idea, and confidence is not an issue at all but
making suggestions is a palatable fashion to a group is the goal. Offering an idea that
can be easily accepted an owned by the group is a form of creating rapport. A
powerful response is to react as if the student were making a confident statement
expressed with indirect language. When Denise Mitten hears her women students
preface a good idea with indirect speech, she responds positively and enthusiastically.
"Great idea! Let's do it!" and finds that over time, the speaker starts using more direct
language (Personal Conversation, Jan '00.)

These steps are just the beginning of create a positive change for our students.
Learning to identify differences allows us to harness them and use them to our
collective advantage. Some people fear that acknowledging differences creates an
effect like magnets- the polarities repel each other. Another way to look at the
differences is a yin/yang fashion, where each part compliments the other and makes a
whole. The more we educate ourselves about gender differences, the better able we are
to identify more of our students strengths and incorporate them into the course's
By Missy White, NOLS Women's Field Staff Advisor, February 10, 2000
“The "I - Thou" Relationship, Place-Based Education, and
Aldo Leopold” - Excerpt

Place-Based Education Characteristics
―…Smith (2002, pp, 587-593) reviewed the literature on place-based
education and identified five thematic patterns existing in current educational settings.
First, he described cultural studies in which students use local cultural or historical
phenomena as the guiding focus. Collecting community oral histories and written
stories are only two examples of this approach, (These activities also have been
labeled cultural journalism, experiential or outdoor education,) Second, he described
nature investigations in which students observe wildlife, conduct water-quality tests,
or restore riparian areas, (These activities also have been labeled nature study,
conservation, outdoor, or environmental education,) Third, he described real-world
problem-solving in which students and teachers identify community issues and
problems, study them, and propose possible solutions. Sometimes they even follow up
their research by implementing the needed changes, (Tbese activities also have been
called conservation or environmental education.) Fourth, he described internships and
entrepreneurial opportunities in which students explore local career opportunities and
partner with businesses to expand their knowledge of economics and become more
involved in community life. (These activities also have been labeled service-learning,
experiential or outdoor education.) Fifth, he described a more complete immersion
into community life in which students were drawn into several decision-making

They assumed active roles as participants at town meetings, chambers
of commerce, city councils, or environmental protection agencies. They
might also conduct community surveys and make public announcements based on
those findings, (These activities also have been labeled service learning,
environmental, or experiential education.) In fact, all five patterns form a conceptual
umbrella commonly called experiential learning, because they are situated in the
context of community life and involve active student engagement.

Smith recognized that although place-based education took different
forms, some common elements could be identified (2002, p. 593). These common
elements include: (a) surrounding phenomena are the foundation for curriculum
development, (b) an emphasis on students becoming the creators of knowledge rather
than only consumers of knowledge created by others, (c) students' questions and
concerns play central roles in determining what is studied, (d) teachers act primarily as
co-learners and "brokers" of community resources and learning possibilities, (e) the
walls between the community and school buildings are crossed frequently, and (f)
student work is assessed based on its contributions to community wellbeing and

 In addition, Woodhouse and Knapp (2002, pp. 1- 2) identified the following
characteristics: (a) the curriculum content is multidisciplinary; (b) the curriculum goals
are broader than just "learn to earn;" and (c) the curriculum integrates self, others, and
place and includes ecological, economic, multigenerational, and multicultural
dimensions. It is clear from this combined list that place-based education involves
both curricular content and instructional methodologies.

Leopold and Place-Based Education
A sense of place is developed through making meaningful personal
connections to the land. In order to discover how Aldo Leopold related to nature, one
piece of his writings was selected. Leopold exemplified a person who conveyed deep
understandings of the places he explored. As his writings were analyzed, 10 themes or
"ways of knowing nature" emerged, which are described later in the article. Although
Leopold used the terms conservation education and ecological education, he employed
many key characteristics of place-based education.

His family was intimately connected to the land along the Wisconsin
River near Baraboo, Wisconsin. Illustrating how he valued the educational potential of
direct contact with nature, he wrote: "Every farm woodland, in addition to yielding
lumber, fuel, and posts, should provide its owner a liberal education" (Leopold, 1949,
p. 73). He knew that a broad and interdisciplinary education could he obtained by
reading the local landscape.

Leopold acquired the necessary knowledge to enable him to read the
"book of nature and culture" written on the landscape. If students and
educators could develop more of this kind of literacy, he believed they
would come to know, respect, and love their places. Experiential educators can use
Leopold's ideas as a checklist in planning and conducting place-based programs. The
following list of "ten ways of knowing nature," along with the associated text
references from A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, illustrate
Leopold's approach to a "pedagogy" of place (Leopold, 1949):

1. Wondering and Questioning—"I wonder what he [the skunk] has on his mind;
what got him out of bed? I turn homeward, still wondering" (p. 5). "There is time not
only to see who has done what, but to speculate why" (p, 4). "If I could understand the
thunderous [goose] debates that precede and follow these daily excursions to corn, I
might soon learn the reason for the prairie-bias. But I cannot, and I am well content
that it should remain a mystery. What a dull world if we knew all about geese" (p. 20).
Questioning what is observed outdoors, and wondering about how that which is
observed relates to the surrounding elements, can expand awareness.
2. Knowing Local History—"Thus, he who owns a veteran bur oak owns more than a
tree. He owns a historical library, and a reserved seat in the theater of evolution" (p,
30). "It may have heen the wash and wear of the emigrant traffic that bared this
roadbank, and thus enabled this particular acorn to spread its first leaves to the sun" (p.
7). "We cut [wood formed in] 1906, when the first state forester took office, and fires
burned 17,000 acres in these sand counties" (p. 11). The evidence of past and current
human uses of the land can be examined and clues to local history can be uncovered.

3. Observing Seasonal Changes—"During every week from April to September there
are, on the average, ten wild plants coming into first bloom" (p. 44). "One swallow
does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw,
is the spring" (p. 18). "He who searches for spring with his knees in the mud finds it in
abundance" (p. 26). By being conscious of the seasons and the accompany changes
that they bring, observers can discover what is happening at the moment.

4. Listening Intently—"On April nights when it has become warm enough to sit
outdoors, we love to listen to the proceedings of the convention in the marsh" (p. 22).
"To arrive too early in the marsh is an adventure in pure listening; the ear roams at will
among the noises of the night, without let or hindrance from hand or eye" (p. 61). "No
naturalist has even seen the choral act, for the covey [of quail] is still on its invisible
roost in he grass, and any attempt to approach automatically induces silence" (p. 53).
By stopping periodically along the trail, one can make more connections to the
elements of the ecosystem.

5. Counting and Measuring—"It was found by mathematical analysis that flocks [of
geese] of six or multiples of six were far more frequent than chance alone would
dictate" (p. 22). "Jackpines tell tall tales to the unwary, for they put on several whorls
of branches each year, instead of only one" (p. 57). "The stump, which I measvured
upon felling the tree, has a diameter of 30 inches. It shows 80 growing rings, hence the
seedling from which it originated must have laid its first ring of wood in 1865, at the
end of the Civil War" (p. 6). Simple counting and measuring exercises can result in
fascinating revelations in the surroundings.

6. Empathizing with and Personifying Nature—"It is warm behind the driftwood
now, for the wind has gone with the geese. So would I—if I were the wind" (p. 67). "It
is at this moment of each year that I wish I were a muskrat, eye-deep in the marsh" (p.
19). "What would a self-respecting trout do in such weather? Just what we did: go up
[stream]" (p. 37). One way of relating to living and nonliving elements of the
environment is to creatively envision them as "persons" worthy of empathy.

7. Connecting Elements in Cycles—"Those ashes, come spring, I will return to the
orchard at the foot of the sand hill. They will come back to me again, perhaps as red
apples, or perhaps as a spirit of enterprise in some fat October squirrel, who, for
reasons unknown to himself, is bent on planting acorns" (pp. 17-18). "These oak
windfalls are, of course, diseased trees. Without disease, few oaks would break off,
and hence few grouse would have down tops to hide in" (p. 74). "Had there been no
fires, these fine prairies, so marked a feature of the country, would have been covered
by the heaviest forest" (p. 29). When nature and culture are viewed as interconnected
circles or cycles, and their makeup and structure are carefully considered, new
discoveries often result.

8. Finding Beauty—"But when I see the silt ribbon turning green with Eleocharis, I
watch closely thereafter, for this is the sign that the river is in a painting mood" (p.
51). "Such an October gentian, dusted with tamarack gold, is worth a full stop and a
long look, even when the dog signals grouse ahead" (p. 57). "Whoever invented the
word 'grace' must have seen the wing-folding of the plover" (pp. 34-35). In order for
beauty to be "in the eye of the beholder," time must be set aside to look for and find it.

9. Seeking Solitude for Reflection—"There are degrees and kinds of solitude. An
island in a lake has one kind; but lakes have boats, and there is always the chance that
one might land to pay you a visit" (p. 25). "Here, come October, I sit in the solitude of
my tamaracks and hear the hunters' cars roaring up the highway, hell-bent for the
crowded counties to the north" (p. 56). "I sit in happy meditation on my rock,
pondering, while my line dries again, upon the ways of trout and men" (p. 39). Time
alone, away from others in the group, can provide reflection opportunities to absorb
the meanings of the place and consider humanity's role in the process of life.

10. Improving Land Health—"To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god
nor poet; one need only own a shovel" (p. 81). "Without this clear view of treetops,
one cannot be sure which tree, if any, needs felling for the good of fhe land" (p. 68). "I
next planted Silphium seeds, which are large, meaty, and taste like sunflower seeds"
(p. 49). Action projects can be physically, intellectually, and emotionally satisfying
and help the land and local community. By learning from Leopold, experiential
educators can lead others closer to a holistic sense of place. These 10 ways of relating
to the land could be integrated into the total outdoor adventure experience at
appropriate moments. Each technique used by Leopold suggests a multitude of
activities for adventure educators to incorporate into the program. For example, the
group could create "powerful" questions about natural and cultural items to help others
expand their awareness, make inferences about historical events from the evidence left
by humans and other animals, identify signs of the season through writing and reading
poetry, cup their ears to listen to the sounds, count geese flying overhead to see if
Leopold's theory that they grouped in multiples of six is still valid, personify animals
observed and role play what they might be "thinking," locate objects and arrange them
in sequence according to how they relate to each other as part of the cycles of life, find
beauty in nature by collecting pigments transferred to sandpaper, take time for journal
writing at various locations, or do a project to improve the land along the trail.

Using the technique of analyzing nature writings, leaders and participants could find
wisdom and guidance in the words of other great naturalists such as John Muir, John
Burroughs, Henry D. Thoreau, Gilbert White, Edwin Way Teale, Rachel Carson,
Annie Dillard, Sally Carrighar, Virginia Eifert, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Reading
excerpts from journals and other writings, while being in those settings, provide
powerful lessons in place-based education.

Many believe that Aldo Leopold was a visionary. If he were alive, he
would be speaking, writing, and teaching about place-based education. He believed in
the power of learning about the land fhrough concrete experiences by applying
interdisciplinary content. He had the prerequisite, ecological knowledge for examining
the various human and other-than human interactions in local communities. He
exemplified Buber's (1958) "I - Thou" relationship with the land. He was sensitive
toward nature and understood the aesthetic and the ethical implications of human
activities. He capitalized on his students' interests and used Socratic questioning to
satisfy their curiosities. He was critical of how society defined progress in terms of
roads built, forests cut, and drainage ditches dug. He challenged how the schools and
other governmental agencies made feeble attempts to educate people about
conservation and sustainable practices. Writing in 1948, Leopold saw what few people
see today: "Perhaps such a shift of values can be achieved by reappraising things
unnatural, tame, and confined in terms of things natural, wild, and free" (p. ix). Will
place-based education lead the way to this goal that Leopold could never fully realize?
Maybe experiential educators will take up Leopold's challenge to incorporate a sense
of "love, respect, and admiration for the land" to add to their repertoire of hard and
soft skills, and their knowledge of outdoor adventure activities.‖

By Clifford Knapp, Journal of Experiential Education • 2005, Volume 27, No. 3 pp.

“The Process of Consensus”- Excerpt

―…Consensus is not rule by the minority or by the majority. It is not compromise.
Consensus is a co-operative process which identifies a decision that all members of a
group support.

The use of consensus is certainly not a new phenomenon. The Religious Society of
Friends (Quakers) has conducted business by consensus for over three hundred
years… Contemporary secular uses of consensus by social change activists, feminists,
and educational and professional organizations [is also common].

Voting, the basis for governance in democracies, is familiar to most Americans. Fixed
positions are presented. Debate takes place in an attempt to sway opinion to the side of
the speaker. Successful oration combines skilled articulation of the best arguments for
one‘s position with attack of the opposition. Once an opinion is formed, the major
reason to listen to opposing views is to identify the grounds for rebuttal. When the
vote is taken, individuals choose to support or oppose the proposal. The majority are
the winners. The losers accept the decision because they agree with the process by
which it was made.

A common alternative to voting is compromise. Compromise assumes that individual
positions are changeable, not fixed. Positions change as participants agree to give up
specific aspects of their requests in exchange for concessions from others. No one is a
complete winner but the solution is acceptable because the loses are balanced.

Consensus assumes that a situation in which each person wins is possible. Individual
ideas and needs are identified and a course of action is built from these. Like
compromise, consensus assumes that positions change. Unlike compromise, giving in
is not the basis for change. Individuals come to agreement because they are convinced
that they have found a solution which is best for everyone involved. Each participant
may have a different reason for believing that the decision is appropriate. The solution
may not be the one that individuals would choose if they were acting independently or
in a difference group, but it is recognized and supported as the best course of action
for the present group.‖

Individual Consensus Skills
…‖Effective decision making requires specific skills. For consensus, listening and
speaking are both essential.

Constructing a solution that addresses all concerns requires that those concerns be
expressed. Clear articulation of individual positions provides the basis for discussion.
Consensus is a building process, and the places of a decision come from individual

Voicing reservations is also important. Uneasiness with the direction of a discussion
may be widespread, but unless it is articulated, alternatives may not be explored.
When it is possible, specificity as to reasons for reservation sis useful. ―I don‘t want
apples for lunch‖ is a less complete explanations than ―I was hoping to use the apples
for pie tonight.‖ The latter permits alternatives to be identified (e.g. ―what about
gingerbread instead?) which would not have been possible with a vague objection.
Disagreement is valid and useful when it takes place within the larger context of
cooperative search for common understanding.

Consensus is possible when individuals are prepared to be convinced that an
alternative plan is better than the one with which they began. Listening must be open
and accepting, focused on empathetically understanding what is being said.
Participants need to understand both the specific merits of each suggestion and the
beliefs and needs which have led to that position. Discussion constructs a consensus
decision. Participants must stay engaged, as listeners if not speakers, in order to give
meaningful approval to a final decision.

Listening should be internal as well as external. Individuals should recognize the basis
for their own positions. Interpersonal conflict, exhaustion, desire for acknowledgment,
or other personal needs can confuse communication and reduce a person‘s openness to
new ideas. Individuals who are aware that tangential issues are influencing their
participation can address these needs directly, not within the context of other

Facilitating Consensus
… ― Successful decision making frequently depends on the quality of the leadership.
Leadership may be informal, emerging from within the group as needed. Large groups
which make decisions, face time limitations, or anticipate serious divisions of opinion
usually designate an official facilitator… to help guide the discussion.

The facilitator helps the group move toward consensus without becoming a participant
in the discussion. Clarifying ideas which have been expressed or encouraging
participation of people who have not expressed opinions are common roles for a
facilitator. When the conversation has wandered, the facilitator might refocus it with a
summary of points which have been made. If exchanges become heated, a period of
silent reflection might be called for. The facilitator may reframe issues into a wider
context which allow more viewpoints to be incorporated. When agreement appears to
be close, the facilitator states the apparent decision. This permits the group to move
forward in unity or to identify more clearly the points on which there are still
disagreements. The ability to accurately read the direction of a group‘s discussion is
the critical skill which sets a good facilitator of consensus apart from leaders in other

… ―A formal leader takes on roles beyond facilitating specific discussions. Preparation
of a meeting agenda identifies issues which need to be addressed and the time
allocated for each. Creation of a climate of security and openness permits co-operative
decision making to take place. Outside of meeting times the facilitator may mediate
interpersonal conflicts which are disrupting decision making, offer support to
members who feel alienated, educate participants about the consensus process, or
empathetically confront individuals who appear to be acting on the basis of a need for
individual power. Patience, humor, conflict resolution and counseling skills are all
important for the leadership of consensus.

Consensus is a process to decide a course of action, not come to agreement on basic
beliefs. It is most likely to be effective in small groups which have a clear purpose for
being together. Individuals should be willing to speak and to listen with an openness to
change. But even within a small group having excellent leadership and individual
communication skills and a shared commitment to the process, consensus is not
always easy.

Genuine disagreements based on convictions frequently exist. The majority of a group
may be ready to proceed on an issue while a few individuals hold deep reservations.
The initial response in such a case is to verify that all sides have been clearly
understood. Members who individually think a proposal has merit may become
convinced by the strength with which others are voicing reservations that it is not the
right course of action for this group. Alternatively, individuals who are unconvinced of
the appropriateness of a particular action but recognize the need for the group to move
ahead in some direction may choose to stand aside and let the decision be made
without their approval…‖

… ―Consensus is a conservative process, since action is not taken until all members
have reached agreement. The amount of time and energy required to reach consensus
is often perceived as a deterrent to using the process. Deciding difficult issues by
consensus frequently takes more time than would be spent by voting. However, the
time spent in reaching agreement is not spent solely on the decision. It is invested in
creating the united direction where there are no losers who might consciously or
unconsciously sabotage the plan. Consensus decisions are frequently easy to
implement because the entire group has developed an active commitment to a course
of action.
A commitment to use consensus does not mean that every decision within the group
should be made by consensus. When fast action is required (as in a medical
emergency) an authoritarian leader is needed. Many decisions such as the apple pie
versus gingerbread for dinner example do not need to come to the entire group for
discussion. Overzealous employment of consensus can weaken the decision making
process by reducing the energy available for significant deliberations…‖

... ―Consensus is a process which can be useful for practical decisions, for educational
settings, and for social change. It can reveal options which are not initially apparent,
create win-win solutions in which all participants support each decision, and foster a
community in which each person‘s concerns are recognized and validated. Conversely,
each person is committed to identifying and carrying out actions which serve the needs
of all community members.‖

By Margaret Lechner, Former EC Wilderness Program Director (1975-1999).
Originally published in The Journal of Experiential Education, Fall 1988.
C. Trip Planning and Preparation- Creating Stylish Courses

Creating stylish courses is a critical skill for the developing outdoor instructor. What
do we mean by “in good style”? Here is what one author has to say:

    “Style is everything in the backcountry. This has nothing to do with how you
    dress or what type of gear you have. We’re not talking about fashion- rather,
    how you act, carry yourself, and camp. For example, being a bombproof
    camper and knowing where all your gear is at any one time. Not having stuff
    hanging all over the outside of your pack… Being considerate to other
    campers you run into. This is all good style. Good style helps define a set of
    ethics for us as outdoor users. No longer can we simply do whatever we
    please in the woods. With so many other users, we need a set of principles or
    standards to help govern our actions… We must take personal responsibility
    for our actions and do more than just follow a bunch of regulations meant to
    protect us, others, and the land. This is what ethics is all about.” ~ Allen
    O’Bannon, author of Allen and Mike’s Really Cool Backpacking Book.

Many courses have been run not worrying about the “little things” but as someone
once said, “if I can’t trust you with the little things, how can I trust you with the big
things?” As instructors, it is important that we move from being a stylish camper
ourselves (something we all should be already) to creating a stylish course. This
requires a different set of skills and awareness. In the end, a stylish course comes
down to one basic question: when another group or individual comes across an
Earlham Wilderness Program course, how do we want to be perceived?

Key Points:
Instructors need to move from being stylish campers to learning to lead stylish
courses. What goes into making a stylish course?

You will be most successful with your course if you consider several key principles
that staff have learned over the years:

             Goals-know what you want, how you are going to get it, and how you
              are going to be sure you got it.
             Instructor Alignment- relationships 101- if you ain‘t got it with your co-
              instructor(s), you ain‘t gonna get it with your students. It‘s that simple.
              Invest the time in building up relationship and alignment of goals and
              objectives with your co-instructors. See sample questions below.
             Pacing-a good course has variety and space for the unexpected built into
              the schedule. It has a progression and plans mileage/content accordingly.
             Chunking-successful leaders chunk the course into distinct units with
              their own unique activities, goals, and objectives e.g. train-main-solo-
             Follow-through- the course is not over until the last pot is rinsed and
              dried and the last piece of paperwork is completed. How you finish a
              course says almost more about you and your character than anything

Course Planning:
Course planning is central to pulling off a stylish course. ―Your design is your
outcome‖ as they say. Make sure you work with the Trip Logistics Form to accurately
and completely research your location and the necessary contacts, trailheads, etc.
Below is a basic guide to help you with trip planning.

How to pick a course location:
       Use one we (ECWP) already know and have info about
       Peruse guidebooks or the internet
       Call local/regional outdoor stores and ask for suggestions
       Ask knowledgeable locals or other people you may know

Questions to ask as you select a possible site:
        What are the major features and benefits of this area?
        What are the potential problems or hazards with this area?
        What are the permit regulations? Can this area support my group sz?
        How difficult is the travel and/or navigation?
        How far is the area from Earlham (in drive hours)?
        What are the USGS Topo Quads for the area?
        What are the weather patterns likely to be?
        Can I get the same objectives for this course somewhere closer to EC?'

Questions to ask the ranger station:
        Do we need to hang our food?
        Who runs evacuations - what is their number?
        What's the weather like this time of year?
        Are water sources reliable this time of year?
        Do you recommend any particular guide books / sections of trail or river?
        Do we need permits to camp/park/fish, etc.?

Instructor Alignment:
Stylish courses almost never happen when there are issues between instructors. You
do not have to be best friends (actually, sometimes it is better if you are not). Rather,
you have to develop a professional working relationship- one born out of mutual
respect, good communication, and a common vision. Trust us when we say that the
time spent building your relationship on-campus will save you countless headaches in
the field. Show us an instructor team who has not bothered with doing this and we will
show you the bi-products of a sloppy and sometimes unsafe course. We have seen it
too many times…

Some questions to ask of your co-instructors…

   What is your teaching philosophy?
   What educational environments or contexts give you the most meaning?
   How do you behave in stressful situations?
   How would you describe your leadership style?
   What role do you tend to play in groups?
   What are some of your biggest pet peeves?
   How do you like to receive feedback (both positive and constructive)?
   Describe your LEAST compatible personality type.
   How do you like to deal with ―trouble‖ students or peers?
   Describe your communication style. Does it change in different contexts?
   Do you consider yourself an emotional person? Why or why not?
   What is your philosophy on challenge? What is too much? What is not enough?
   What might you be anxious or nervous about in looking ahead to this course?
   What are you excited about in looking ahead to this course?
   What student/personality type drives you crazy? Why?
   What support or help will you need on course?
   What talent do you bring to this team?
   How will we make decisions? Will it change depending on context? How?
   How will we ―set the tone‖ the first 72 hours?
   How will you know when I am upset?
   If you were a lemur, would you be happy or sad?

Pre-Course Planning Checklist:
Lists are very helpful as they help you keep track of all the little details in planning a
course. If there is one refrain we hear a lot, it is ― I never thought planning and leading
a course would be so much work!‖ Below is a handy checklist as you go about
planning and packing out your course…

        Check tents and tarps for p-cord, rips, leaks, stakes, and fly‘s
        Check stoves for function, leaks, repair parts, etc. (both MSR and 2:4
        Check pot sets for amounts
         (a common amount per cook group)
       1 med pot
       1 small pot
       1 spatula
       1 fry pan
       1 dip cup
       1 spoon (if desired)
       1 pot grip
      Create/check female ditty bags (small stuff sack, plastic baggie, baking
      Create/check foot kits (doubles as ouchie kit)
       Mole Foam
       Mole Skin
       Athl Tape
       Tincture of Benzoin

       Create/check repair kits
       LAND-BASED                                    WTR-BASED
       Duct Tape                                     Duct Tape
       Seam Grip                                     Seam Grip
       Spare Fabric                                  Spare Fabric
       Needle/Thread                                 Needle/Thread
       Buckles-spares                                Wire

      Go through exped first aid kits (make sure all staff are familiar with them)
      Create/pull frontcountry first aid kit (for road)
      Double check fuel amounts
      Double check road equipment pull items
      Double check map sets (amounts, quality, etc.)
      Go through program specific gear
      Put together a cleaning kit for return trip (scrubbies, brushes, towels, soap,
      Flip Chart kits per brigade if needed
      Double check trailer hook-ups, electrical, tires, etc.
      Double check ALL vans for seatbelts, tires, and all other safety checks (do
       this early so that we can fix something if needed).
      Vans keys- make sure you have spares (keep them somewhere public/safe)
      Record starting mileage!

      Go through food (check amount, spice kits, etc.)
       Retrieve any items needed from refrig or freezer (remember your road food!)
       Check spice kit (amounts, types, etc.)
        MTN                                          WTR
        DRY                                          DRY
        Salt (S)                                     Salt (M)
        Pepper (S)                                   Pepper (M)
        Oregano (S)                                  Oregano (M)
        Cumin (S)                                    Cumin (S)
        Cinnamon (S)                                 Cinnamon (M)
        Chili Pepper (S)                             Chili Pepper (S)
        Curry (S)                                    Curry (M)
        Garlic Salt (S)                              Garlic Salt (S)
        Baking Powder (S)                            Baking Powder (M)

        LIQUID                                      LIQUID
        Soap (S)                                    Soap (M)
        Soy Sauce (M)                               Soy Sauce (L)
        Oil (M)                                     Oil (L)
        Siracha (M)                                 Siracha (M)

        OTHER                                       OTHER
        Yeast                                       Yeast
        Garlic Cloves    (1)                        Garlic Cloves (3)

       Get ―fun foods‖- dried mushrooms, candy bars, dried tomato, etc.

    Complete route plan
            Re-supply/Rendezvous clearly labeled
            Double check key dates (re-supply, rendezvous, etc)

       Course Paperwork
                Distribute evac, SOAP, and inc/acc forms to instructors
                Distribute daily logs to instructor teams (keep some for road)
                Distribute emergency cash
                Copies of student med forms (can be kept in course file IF relevant
                info was recorded in instructor WA‘s)

       Plan out First Day Schedule
                   Create ―what goes where‖ visual aids (daypack, storage, pack, etc.)
        Go over who is teaching what (first 72 hours in particular)
        TCP first 72 hours on trail (low mileage please!)
        Check out and organize personal gear
        Team Time- basic expectations for teamwork, etc.
        Meet Your Brigade
                   Note red flags and relevant med info
        At least one staff manual in field per brigade
        Fun food (optional)

    To Turn-In Before You Go…
             Course equipment checkout sheets
             Individual student/staff checkout sheets
             Off-Campus Trip Form

        Final Sweeps…
                 OEC clean and tidy?
                 Lawn in front of OEC clean and tidy?
                 Barn area clean and tidy?
                 Keys?! Van keys (extra set, trailer keys, OEC keys)

Pre-Trip Meeting Guide:
The PTM is a crucial part of setting the right tone for a stylish course and is a required
element of our frontcountry policies and procedures. See example outline below:

Course Information
Name of course, instructors, semester, days/times meeting, etc.

Welcome and Introductions
Briefly introduce yourself and co-instructor(s). Thank everyone for their interest in
our programs.

If over-enrolled (more than 10). Discuss the lottery procedure (priority goes to the
following in descending order):
     1. Individuals bounced from last semester‘s classes.
     2. Pre-registered students and students who have add/dropped into the class
         (you‘ll have to take them on their word).
     3. Senior walk-ins who need class to graduate
     4. All other walk-ins
     5. Discuss that there is NO REFUND after lottery.
    6.   Explain guaranteed slot option for those that are bounced or volunteer to
    7.   Conduct lottery. Be sure to be conscious of hurt feelings and making people
         feel welcome even if they didn‘t get in the class.

Regular Registration (10 or less)
   1. Discuss that there is NO REFUND after registration.
   2. Have people register by LEGIBLY completing their names on class roster
        sheets (you can also do this for them).

Course Overview
Describe the nature and function of the course and what objectives the course may
have. Explain meeting days and times and the open climbing period.

Waivers and Passes
Have participants read the waiver with you and then sign- do not make promises about
safety, etc.

Have participants state theirs first – maybe hopes and fears, or what I want to get out
of this course is… or some other go around.

State programs/instructors expectations—these should include:
         Attendance Policy
         Dress (approp. dress for activity, etc)
         Safety (safety is everyone‘s responsibility)
         Other (group support, punctuality, have fun, etc)

Group Building and Ice-Breakers
Optional: Do a fun warm-up exercise, game, or activity that gets group interacting and
loosened up. Include some kind of name game.

Opening Lesson or Activity
Perhaps a brief introduction to the area or activity would be appropriate here.

Conclude and How to Contact
Be sure people know how to contact you before the end of the first class. Give out
your phone and/or email.

Course Pacing and Facilitation:
Chunking and pacing a course are key “meta-skills” for the developing outdoor
educator. Chunking gives participants a sort of “you are here” sense to the course and
a guide for what is coming up next. Pacing refers to how you set up your course in
terms of a progression of skills, activities, and events to maximize participant
engagement, learning, and enthusiasm.

Example of a “chunked” and “paced” course:

What is the stylish leader doing in this phase? What are the participants feeling and or
needing in this phase? Train phase is that 20% that makes the 80% difference. The law
of first impressions- here are some characteristics of a stylish “training” phase:

    1.   Well prepared logistics and planning
    2.   Well developed and taught first 72 hour lessons
    3.   Confident, directive leadership when necessary
    4.   Conscious, deliberate “tone setting” for your course
    5.   Low mileage!
    6.   Good progression of skills and activities
    7.   Leaders work the group inside out (getting to know all participants)

Characteristics of a stylish Main phase:

    1.   The use of alternate travel methods (small group vs. large group, silent
         paddles, possible push days, increase mileage, etc.)
    2.   More facilitative as leader, less directive
    3.   Added novelty through “soft skills” and meaning making activities
    4.   Heavier on feedback and follow-up with individual students. Ensure that
         students are demonstrating stylish-ness with their knots, campcraft, paddling,
         or other technical skills. High expectations.

Characteristics of stylish Final phase:

    1.   Leaders are careful not to stigmatize groups or individuals (“hard core group”
         and “slacker group”).
    2.   Range of supervision (minimal to very close- read your group carefully- this
         is YOUR call not the students call).
    3.   What work you have done to this point (in train and main) dictates readiness
         of group for more advanced experiences.
    4.   Students competently and confidently demonstrating skills.

Characteristics of stylish reintegration phase:

    1.   Instructor more directive again- participants need structure now.
    2.   Emphasis on meaning making and reflection in activities
    3.   Transition from backcountry to frontcountry- capitalize on metaphors
    4.   Get students re-motivated to finish course well
    5.   Course completion happens efficiently and correctly in terms of equipment
         return, clean-up, and program paperwork.


    1.   Remember ritual and novelty ratio- 60% should be ritual- things you do
         regularly to keep group structured and clear about daily life on trail. 40%
         should be novel- to mix things up and encourage creative response and
    2.   Have light days, push days, and layover days- mix it up!
    3.   Consider creating several “peak” experiences- around push days, peak
         ascents, a challenge of some sort or another.
    4.   Remember to work your group inside out (during Main in particular) and
         outside in (during Train and Re-Integration). But can do both in all stages.

Typically, expedition courses (3+ field days) have a list of curriculum that instructors
must teach to students in order to maintain safety and to give participants a degree of
comfort and independence (see policy and procedure section for more information on
these lessons).

These can vary from course to course but typically involve the following lessons:

Course objectives/Expectations
Clothing/Gear Check (duffle shuffle)
Pack packing
1st Aid (ABC‘s)

Kitchen safety
Tent and Fly Pitching
Body Climate Control- Staying warm, dry, well-fed, and hydrated
Hygiene and Water Treatment*
Lightning procedures
Lost and Alone

Sanitation and Waste Disposal*
Campsite selection
Basic cooking and food identification
Foot care

*depending on your course, these items may need to be taught sooner (as in on the
road) or later (as in in-the-field) depending upon your schedule and where you will be
camping. It is crucial, however, that you teach hygiene prior to your first group
cooking meal.
Course Objectives/Expectations

Educational Goals
There are a variety of ways that "expectations" get established on course. These talks
should happen in the first 72 hours and, in general, involve SEVERAL separate
discussions. The more you invest in these, the better your group will norm and
perform later in your course.

Key Points

Safety Talk
The safety talk is a no nonsense, straight forward discussion of the hazards and risks
associated with the activities you will be doing. You should do this while going over
the waivers and releases. Set a serious but not overly dramatic tone. This talk should
be done ON-CAMPUS to give students the best opportunity to discern whether this
course is for them BEFORE we leave campus. Be sure to go into DETAIL about all
the hazards of the trip- do not sugar-coat anything but also be sure to explain that we
take great efforts to minimize the risks that we can. This is also the time to go over key
"no negotiation" rules like drugs/alcohol, smoking, etc. This must be done prior to
leaving campus so that students can leave such "paraphenalia" behind in a sealed
envelope. Strongly emphasize that any infraction, once on course, is considered an
"airport infraction" meaning we will put them on a plane as fast as possible to go
home- no if's, and's, or but's.

Expectations: Part I
This should happen very early in the course- basically, give your group an opportunity
to discuss their hopes and fears for the experience and what they hope to get out of the
program AS INDIVIDUALS. You can do this anonymously if you want by having
them write them down and then you as the instructor read them off to the group.
AFTER you here from them, it is your turn as instructors to go over the expectations
you have of the course. This is a good time to go over the syllabus and other important
behavioral expectations not covered in the safety talk.

Expectations: Part II
This talk takes what was discussed for each individual and brings it back into focus for
the group as a whole. It should happen early but not too early- give some time for the
group to experience living together some (maybe a few days). This talk is often
referred to as the full-value contract talk or the expedition behavior talk.

Clothing/Gear Check
Educational Goals
There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination missing a key piece of
equipment or finding that a participant forgot a sleeping bag or hiking boots. Very
simply, this lesson is done to ensure that you have what you think you have- both
program equipment-wise and participant equipment-wise.

Key Points
Have a master gear list for all the equipment you need and/or are checking out of the
OEC. Have a ―gear guru‖ who is charge of final check-offs making sure it REALLY
made its way into the van/trailer/duffle.

The more neat and organized you are the less likely you will forget something.

The more time you have the less likely you are to forget something.

Duffle Shuffle:
Prior to departure, you should do a ―duffle shuffle‖ with your participants. This refers
to the shuffling of personal gear from their own pile (duffle) into our piles (either
duffles, backpacks, or portage packs). Here again, a list is helpful. There are two
models for doing this:

1. Stand in the middle of your group and read off an item (like 4 pairs of socks). Then
have everyone show that they have the item before putting it into the ―checked‖ pile.
Advantages: you are doing it all together. Disadvantages- can be inefficient if students
have lots of questions. Can be embarrassing to students to display items in public.

2. Divide your instructors into number of students. Have students organize all of their
items based on the gear sheet that they have. Then go around to each individual
student on your list and check through their items. Advantages: can be more efficient
and personal. Avoids the public displays of underwear, etc. Disadvantages: more
instructor intensive. All instructors must be on the same page about gear choices and

Pack Packing

Educational goals
Participants need a firm grasp on how to get all their items into their pack- whether
that be a Duluth or a Backpack. This lesson gives them the basic skills and principles
so they can begin to practice themselves. The key is to set a HIGH standard for the
quality of the completed job- packs should be neat, tidy and well balanced. And,
contrary to most participant claims, yes, you CAN get it all in there!
Students should be proficient at packing and organizing their equipment. Show them
how to take off and put on a pack safely and efficiently. Give them ideas on ways they
can adjust their packs for different terrain. Emphasize staying organized both in and
away from camp. Point out that leaving lost gear in the backcountry is leaving a trace.

Students learn ―A, B, C‘s‖ of packing. A= Access (ease of), B=Balance (proper weight
distribution), and C=Compress-ability (filling voids).

Key Points:

Duluth Packs
Students generally share these packs with one other student. Demonstrate how to fit
items in while keeping things relatively waterproof. Show how to pack sleeping bag in
plastic lined stuff sack. Explain the ―whitewater roll‖ which involves twisting and
folding down of plastic liners to ensure waterproofness. Give participants a chance to
experiment on their own in pairs and then, perhaps, do a ―gallery of packs‖ where
people can go around and admire the works of art. The points below about packing
backpacks can also be applied.

Parts of a Backpack
Understanding how backpacks are designed can help your students use them with
comfort. Every pack has a frame that provides structure and transfers weight onto the
hips. The frame may consist of internal stays that bend to conform to your body, or it
may be an external support made from aluminum. The shoulder straps, waist belt, and
sternum strap comprise the pack‘s suspension system. Some packs have additional
straps for pulling weight forward. These straps can be adjusted as you hike to shift the
weight from one muscle group to another for maximum comfort.

Care of a Backpack
Broken Packs are difficult to repair in the field and uncomfortable to carry. Basic care
prolongs pack life and ensures you will not be forced to hike with a pack that jolts you
with every step.

Look at your pack. Check for wear points, particularly where the materials are
stressed, such as shoulder strap attachments. Clean dirt off shoulder straps and waist
belts to avoid skin chafes. Operate zippers and cord locks with both hands to reduce
stress on these parts. Fix small problems promptly.

In the field, store your pack away from salt-starved animals that may chew waistbands
or shoulder straps. Lean your pack against a tree or rock to avoid damaging the frame.
Never drop your pack. If you must lay down an external frame pack, it should be laid
frame side up to prevent stress on the welds. Do not lift a frame pack solely by the
shoulder straps.

Pack Packing
ABC‘s. A(Access)- Think about what you are going to need during the day. Food,
water, an extra layer, rain gear, sun protection, maps, and a first aid kit should be
easily accessible while extra clothes, shelters, and gear you won‘t need until camp can
be packed deep inside the pack. B (Balance)-Weight distribution is critical to comfort
and ease of travel. Pack heavier items high and towards the frame to help with balance
while traveling on trail. For terrain that involves boulder walking, bush whacking, or
lots of twisting, ducking and large steps, pack the heavy items down around the
kidneys. C (Compression)- Fill empty cook pots and helmets with food or equipment
to prevent wasted space. Secure anything attached to the outside tightly. Avoid having
items dangling off your pack. Tie excess cords and straps so that they do not snag on
branches. A well-packed backpack is closed and tight before traveling.

Miscellaneous- Avoid fuel contamination by packing your gas upright and away from
food. Often vertical side pockets are the best place for fuel bottles. Stoves can go at the
bottom of the main pack bag. To help with organization, use stuff sacks and pockets.

Putting on and Taking off a Pack
Demonstrate one good technique for getting a pack on. Encourage your students to
limber up before they load up. Make it socially acceptable to ask others for help.

If you choose to lift the pack by yourself, first loosen up the shoulder straps and waist
belt. With a straight back, raise the pack onto your thigh. With an external frame make
sure you hold onto the frame for lifting. On internal frames, you can lift with the
shoulder straps. Lift primarily with your legs to minimize strain on your arms and

Once the pack is on your thigh, slip one shoulder into the strap, and swing the pack
around onto your back. Slip your other shoulder in and fasten the waist belt. Tighten
the straps so the majority of the weight rides on your hips. To remove your pack,
reverse the process. Packs should never be dropped. At the best, this can cause
ruptured food bags; at the worst, you may crack a weld on your frame. During rest
break, look around for logs or rocks where you can park your pack and get in and out
of it without lifting.

Teaching Considerations
Pack packing is typically taught on issue day. Consider a thorough gear check to make
your class concise and to the point. For most students issue day is overwhelming and
much of what you have to say will not sink in. Give them essential information to get
started. You can reiterate points and expand on them in the field.

Themes such as security, balance, organization, and accessibility are easier for
students to remember than specific packing locations for individual items. Pack
packing is the perfect time to introduce the importance of personal organization in
wilderness. Make it clear that we expect them to keep track of their gear at all times,
and that not everyone‘s pack weight is the same.

Leadership Opportunities
Pack packing is a good time to start encouraging organization, teamwork, and
openness to questions. Your attitude and flexibility during the packing and loading
process can set a tone that will last throughout the course. This tone can indicate
whether you are asking students to be obedient clones to get through the immediate
situation quickly, or whether you expect them to interact with you and learn the
information. The demeanor of your responses to their questions can either ward off or
welcome future questions.

First Aid/ABC’s

Educational Goals:
Students must know the ABC‘s of patient assessment: airway, breathing, circulation as
well as the basic first aid responses of ―Check‖, ―Call‖, ―Care.‖ Obviously, in the
backcountry, these responses are very different than in the frontcountry. We are not
trying to teach them a mini-WFR course- just the very basics of how to respond in an
emergency situation in the event that a trained instructor is not present.

Key Points
Begin by talking about how it is important that we all know how to take care of each
other in the backcountry in terms of basic first aid. Also emphasize that more complex
first aid issues will be dealt with by instructors up to their level of training. Make sure
participants know what you are capable of providing and what you are not.

Safety of the rescuer is a priority. Talk about how to determine if a scene is secure.
After determining that the scene is secure, conduct a primary survey to determine if
there are any immediate threats to life: airway, breathing, circulation, or bleeding.
Knowing how to handle these emergencies quickly may save a patient‘s life. Have
students practice on CPR dummies. Emphasize simple concepts and be sure to include
procedures for choking.

Teaching Considerations:
This class is best kept simple and practical. Students should perform basic steps of
CPR and choking alleviation.


Educational Goals
The primary goal of this instruction should be on preventative hygiene and early
recognition of symptoms. Students should know the cause, the signs and symptoms,
and the treatment of urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, and testicular torsion.
They should also be aware of the effects of activity and the outdoors on the menstrual

Key Points
  What are the special hygiene considerations for men and women?
  What is testicular torsion and how do you treat it?
  What are the signs, symptoms, and treatment, for vaginal infections?
  How do you prevent vaginal infections?
  What are the signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections?
  How do you treat urinary tract infections in the field?

Teaching Considerations
There is no substitute for knowledge when it comes to presenting this topic
professionally. The personal hygiene component of this class should be taught at the
beginning of the course. Specific medical problems can be introduced later. Treat the
subject sensitively and in a balanced manner. Emphasize the practicality of this
information for leading coed groups.

Kitchen/Stove Safety

Educational Goals
The ability to use a stove and cook safely and efficiently is a skill every expedition
member must master. Burns from spilled hot water, stoves, and hot frying pans area
common-in fact too common-type of injury on Wilderness programs. Students must
know immediately how to operate a stove safely and properly. As the program
progresses, they need to learn how to troubleshoot and to perform basic maintenance
procedures. Advanced stove repair can be taught to interested students.

Key Points

Kitchen Safety
Safety in cooking begins with the kitchen set-up as every good chef knows. Kitchens
should be set up well away from major travel areas in camp and they should be clearly
marked out to all members of the group. Within the kitchen, there should be a ―pantry‖
where the food is kept (preferably in your food duffle to keep critters out); a stove area
that is level and free from flammable areas and items; and a prep area where cooks can
organize pots, chop things, and get meals prepared. A clean and neat kitchen area is a
safe kitchen area. Cooks should wear close toed shoes and wash their hands
thoroughly before meal time. They should cook in the safety position (squatting) and
minimize dangly, flammable clothing. Foot traffic around the kitchen prior to meal
time should also be minimized. Early in the course, make sure you observe the meal
time prep of each cook group to ensure that they are maintaining high standards of
organization, hygiene, and other safe habits.

Stove Parts
Knowing the function and care of stove parts helps people operate stoves properly.
The fuel tank stores fuel and can be pressurized with the use of the pump. The air
―cushion‖ in the top of the tank helps store pressure that pushes fuel to the generator
smoothly. Pumps need to be kept clean and well-oiled. The generator converts liquid
fuel into a warm, fine mist that burns efficiently. Show how to control the flame and
how to clean the fuel orifice.

Some stoves include pot racks for cooking and reflectors for more efficient heat
distribution. Windscreens are useful for conserving fuel. Keep these parts clean and
avoid needless folding to prolong their life. Brass and plastic stove parts are fragile
and should not be overtightened. Protect stoves from rain and snow when not in use.

Stove Operations
Start cooking each meal with a full fuel tank. Leave some air space in the tank. An
overfilled tank will display erratic pressures that can damage the stove or make it run
poorly. Fill the fuel tank away from the kitchen and allow any spilled fuel to evaporate
before lighting. To avoid accidental ignition, cool stoves before refueling

Choose a flat protected area to operate your stove. Avoid sites near combustible
material like dry grass, duff, nylon tents, or low branches. Make sure all valves are
closed and pump the stove to build pressure in the fuel tank. Do not over-pressurize.
An over-pressurized stove will burn with a yellow or pulsing flame. On average pump
a Whisperlite 15-20 times.

After the stove is pumped, open the fuel orifice, and release enough fuel to wet the
generator and fill the spirit cup. Turn the stove off and light the liquid fuel. Make sure
you turn your face away from the flame. When the fuel is burned down, turn the stove
on, and re-light. The stove should burn with a steady blue flame. After the meal is
completed, let the stove cool down, slowly open the fuel tank to depressurize, then
refill the fuel tank

Troubleshooting and Maintenance
To prevent problems with your stove, keep it clean and dry, oil the pump leather every
few days, clean the jet after each meal, and pack it properly.

When problems occur, check simple things first. If fuel is not coming out, there may
not be any in the tank—something that occurs surprisingly often with new students—
or you may have a clogged orifice, a clogged fuel line, or lack of pressure in the tank.
Low tank pressure can stem from a bad pressure cap, a dry pump leather, a bad one-
way valve in the pump mechanism, or occasionally, from a cracked tank or generator.

A poorly running stove can be caused by dirt or water in the fuel, by an of set flame
spreader, or by a partial obstruction in the fuel system. You may also have a pressure
leak, or the stove may have been over-or under-pressurized, or over-or under-primed.

Safety and Conservation
If you get a fuel fire, let it burn out. Carefully set the lid on any burning fuel container.
Choose a good, inflammable spot for filling stoves and cooking to prevent wildfires.
Handle hot food and equipment with care. Don‘t pass boiling water over humans and
do not lean over a stove when lighting it. Watch loose hair or clothes around flames.
Smother flaming body parts immediately. STOP, DROP and ROLL! Apply Cold
water to burns instantly, or the hot skin will burn even deeper.

Conserving fuel saves weight. Furthermore, it is an integral part of our minimum-
impact philosophy. Save gas by cooking when your tent group is around to eat or
drink. Make hot drinks when the water is at the ―fish eyes‖ stage. Turn your stove off
when the food is finished. Cook out of the wind using a windscreen and reflector.
Keep your stove well maintained and at peak performance. If you have a fire use it to
cook too.

Stoves vs. Fires
Stoves help minimize our impact in the backcountry because they allow us more
freedom in selecting campsites and require no wood gathering. Stoves are faster than
fires in wet weather and allow us to camp above the treeline. When used properly,
they lessen the chance of accidental wildfires. Stoves cause less air pollution and are
legal in places where fires are not. But they burn fossil fuel that is pumped out of the
ground in places like Alaska and Iraq, while wood fires burn a renewable fuel.

Teaching Considerations
Start with a simple class on lighting, operating, cleaning, and refueling stoves. Address
repair and troubleshooting later. Let folks know that to be truly self-sufficient, they
need to know how to maintain and repair any of their gear, including stoves.

Model impeccable stove use to establish good habits in your students. Stoves are
potentially dangerous. Be familiar with the course‘s specific stove type prior to going
into the field.

Leadership Opportunities
Empathy—or the ability to understand or be sensitive to the thoughts, feelings, or
experiences of another—is often cited as an important leadership trait. Watch for
students who are afraid of mechanical things, and get others to empathize with them
and help coach them until they excel at a skill they might have otherwise have
avoided. This provides students with an opportunity to develop an important
leadership characteristic.

Harvey, Mark The NOLS Wilderness Guide,1999

Lost and Alone

Educational Goals
In the first day or two of a course, students need to be taught what to do if they
become disoriented or lost around camp. Before students begin hiking without
instructors, more detailed procedures for staying found need to be covered. Emphasis
should be placed on maintaining composure, taking care of the group, preventing the
situation from escalating, and being self-sufficient.

Key Points
Staying found in and around camp:
    1. For each camp, establish landmarks or ―handrails‖ that define the perimeter
         of the camp and where students can go and still be considered to be ―in
    2. Emphasize the importance of the compass and whistle as well as the ―ooh-
         aah‖ technique and when to use which one. Ooh AAh for general orientation
         and non-emergency. Whistle (set of three) for emergencies.
    3. When leaving camp (such as for a short day hike):
              a. Take a ―life support pack‖
              b. Inform an instructor where you are going, when you plan to return,
                  who is going, and why.
              c. Pick out landmarks along the route such as streams, cliffs, forested
                  areas, meadows, where the sun is etc.
              d. Time the walk; it can be helpful to determine how long it will take to

If Disoriented or Lost Around Camp
    1. Stay calm. Go to a high vantage point to get your bearings. Look, listen, and
         yell. Check for familiar landmarks. If landmarks can be identified, travel
         along them in the direction opposite the way you came. Listen for people
    2. If the person cannot determine their location, they should stay put. Search
         parties will be sent out after the missing person has not returned to camp
         when expected. Shouting or blowing a whistle may be helpful.
    3. Find a comfortable place to spend the night well before dark. It is hard to
         choose a good site without light. It is drier under evergreen trees‘ overhangs.
         It is warmer higher on hills and out of the wind.
    4. For unplanned bivouacs, look for water to drink and ways to keep warm.
         Covering yourself with leaves or pine boughs helps create a pocket of
         warmth. Put on glasses or any other accessories that you happen to have that
         might cover more bare skin. Get a nap in early in the evening because you
         may not be able to sleep in the colder parts of the night.
    5. If you wake up cold during the night, get up and run around in a small circle
         to get warm, then try to doze off quickly so you can get in a short nap before
         the cold wakes you again.

Tent and Fly Pitching

Educational Goals
Students must learn how to erect their shelters efficiently and securely. As the course‘s
experience broadens, so must the students‘ ability to make a safe and organized camp
in exposed terrain and foul weather. All students must be able to erect a fly or tent
above and below the tree line with minimal assistance. They should recognize that
taking good care of their equipment is not only a matter of personal responsibility, but
also a question of safety.

Key Points
Shelter Parts
Know the parts of your shelter. Develop the habit of conducting a careful inventory
every time you pack up.

Setting up a Tent or Fly
After you choose a location, demonstrate setting up a shelter. Show your students how
to tie a slippery taut-line or trucker‘s hitch. (Start with just one knot, you can always
show them the other one later). Discuss the attributes of a well-pitched shelter: tight
guy lines, good knots, and a roof pitch that will shed rain or snow if you anticipate
inclement weather. The long axis of the shelter should be facing into the wind. The
corners and ridgeline should be pulled so the shelter is smooth and secure. Nylon
fabric may abrade or puncture when in contact with another object, so watch for
branches or rocks rubbing the shelter. Flies should be low and have a steep roof when
they need to be storm-proof. They should be high and flat when you want more air to
move under them

Camp Organization
Food, climbing gear, fishing equipment, and packs do not need to be in the shelter.
Items that must be kept dry, such as clothing, books, and binoculars can be brought in
everything left out must be secured against the wind. Tie your laundry to branches or
guy lines, put a rock on your sleeping pad, and put food bags versus your pots.
Avoiding lost gear is important to both minimize your impact and to your safety.
There is a lot of ―NOLS trash‖ in the Winds- telltale plastic bags, p-cord and teabags-
don‘t add to the mess. Encourage your students to take pride and Pack It In, Pack It

Cooking In Shelters
Stoves and lanterns produce toxic fumes, which in a poorly ventilated space can at
best give you a headache, at worst be fatal. Cooking inside a tent is unwise. Stoves can
flare up unexpectedly and burn both you and your shelter. Spilled boiling water can be
catastrophic. Cooking in the front door of a tent or at the edge of a fly is convenient in
foul weather, but is still risky.

Tent Care
Care of equipment is a high priority at Earlham College, because it parallels our
concerns for safety and ethics. Zippers are often the weakest part of your tent open and
close them carefully by holding the tent as you zip. Assemble your poles methodically.
Do not force or twist the sections in and out of joints. Do not use excessive force when
putting stakes into the ground. Look for another placement rather than trying to
penetrate underlying rocks or hard ground by pounding harder-force only breaks
stakes. If possible dry your tent out before packing. Definitely dry it before storing.

Students rarely master knot tying the first day, but be sure everyone can tie the knot
successfully when coached. Use camp visits to give to feedback on specific fly or tent
pitching skills, to monitor campsite impact, and to offer suggestions on ways to
improve your students outdoor living skills.

Leadership Opportunities
Setting up shelters often turns into the guy‘s job on Wilderness courses, while the
women end up in the kitchen. A well-rounded leader is competent with all skills and
gives others the opportunity to achieve the same level of expertise. If your students
actively decide to take on individual roles in their tent groups, that is their decision.
But make sure everyone becomes bombproof in the basics, and don‘t let gender bias
inadvertently shift behavior.

Weather / Lightning Awareness

Educational Goals
To gain a general understanding of how to identify different types of weather patterns
and basic tools for predicting the weather. Specifically, what a warm front, cold front,
and occluded front portend; how to identify specific types of clouds and understand
what weather patterns they correlate to; and how to make assumptions based upon
these reading devices.

General Points
Major weather systems are caused by the interaction of air masses. Weather moves
from west to east in the continental US. Mountains heat up more quickly than valleys
because they are closer to the sun; conversely, they also cool down more quickly than
valleys. Land warms up more quickly than the ocean and also loses heat more quickly.
Low-pressure systems occurs when the wind direction goes against the path of the sun;
it moves counterclockwise from west to east. This typically heralds bad weather. A
high-pressure system occurs when the wind direction goes with the path of the sun; it
moves clockwise from east to west.

Clouds are formed when the relative humidity of the air reaches 100%. Colder air
holds less water and warmer air holds more water. As air rises, it cools and water
vapor in the air condenses to form clouds. There are two main types of clouds:
cumulus and stratus. Cumulus clouds are puffy and are formed when small areas of
rising air cools to saturation point. Stratus clouds are in layers or sheets and are formed
when a large layer of air is cooled to the saturation point. Their altitude classifies
clouds. Cirro is the prefix which designates high clouds, alto is the prefix which
designates middle clouds, and nimbo is the prefix which means rain. The type of
precipitation from a cloud is determined by temperature.

Weather Fronts
Fronts are created at the boundaries of different air masses. Wet air is lighter than dry
air; therefore low-pressure systems foretell rainy weather while high-pressure systems
foretell fair weather. If birds are not flying or are flying low this may mean that there
is a low pressure system and rain is on the way; a low pressure system means that the
air is less dense which makes it difficult for birds to fly. Similarly, if smoke curls
downward there may be a nearing low-pressure system. A frontal boundary is created
when air masses of two different temperatures collide. A cold front is created when a
cold air mass pushes beneath a warmer air mass. A cold front moves relatively
quickly. Cold air sinks because it is dense and heavy Due to the shape and velocity of
cold fronts there is a good chance of precipitation as high cumulus clouds lower to
form layers of stratocumulus.

A warm front is created when a warm air mass comes in over a cooler air mass. A
warm front is slow moving. A warm front is indicated by high wispy cirrus clouds,
lowering to stratus clouds over a several day period. Due to the slow and expansive
nature of warm fronts weather patterns can last for several days.

An occluded front occurs when faster moving air catches up with slower moving air
and buoys it up. The result is a fast succession of forms of precipitation, nimbostratus
give way to cumulonimbus. Thunderstorms are the result of large cumulonimbus
clouds forming from rising, unstable, well-saturated, warm air. When the air rises it
creates an up draft; it cools as it ascends. This becomes a cycle which eventually
releases large, violent amounts of precipitation.

Lightning is the result of opposite charged regions within mature cumulonimbus
clouds. The charge is created by the cycling air. Positive charges accumulate at the top
of the cloud and negative at the bottom. Like charges repel, therefore the electrons in
the ground are ―pushed‖ by the cloud‘s charge. Lightening occurs during the natural
attraction of opposite forces: when the electricity which is in the cloud leaps either to
another cloud (this is called sheet lightening) or to the ground (which is called stepped
leader). 80% of lightening strikes are between clouds; 20% of lightening zigzags down
towards the ground.

Lightning almost always occurs with thunderstorms and is the greatest weather threat
to outdoor travelers in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service. It is
caused be the strong up and down drafts found inside cumulonimbus clouds. These
violent air current create an intense electrical field which polarizes the cloud. The top
of the cloud becomes positively charged, while the bottom gains a strong negative
charge, along with some small positive charges. Normally the ground has a negative
charge, but as the cumulonimbus passes overhead, it induces a positive charge in the
ground. When the positive ground charges become strong enough they travel up tall
objects to seek their opposites in the clouds. The strike occurs when the air between
the cloud and the ground can no longer insulate the charges from each other.

Saint Elmo‘s fire (a bluish glow about an object), humming metal objects (e.g.
Climbing gear), hair standing on end, the burnt odor of ozone, or a crackling sound on
wet rocks are all signs that an area is in imminent danger of a lightning strike. Another
indicator is the distance the storm is away from you. To determine this, count the
seconds between a lightning flash and its thunder. (Light travels 186,000 miles per
second. Sound travels a fifth a mile per second.) Divide the elapsed seconds by five.
This will tell you how far away the lightning is in miles. Simultaneous lightning and
thunder indicates the storm is directly overhead.

If you expect lightning, avoid technical terrain during high-risk times. Seek shelter in a
protected area. Stay away from solitary tall objects (ridges, trees, and summits) that
may attract a strike. Lightning kills people two ways: with direct hits and with ground
currents. Direct hits are usually lethal. Ground currents emanate from the lightning
strikes and travel along the ground, shocking their victims until the currents dissipate.

Body position can reduce the hazard of ground currents. If you are caught out in the
open assume the lightning safety position –squat as low as possible. Nonconducting
insulation can also help shield you from ground currents. Crouch on an ensolite pad,
on your pack (frame side down), or on a coiled rope. Make sure party members are
spread at least 30 feet apart. Do not lean against rocks or bridge small gaps or
depressions ground currents take the shortest path, which may be your body if you
provide the bridge between two points. Place metallic equipment away from you.
Untie from ropes if possible. Avoid standing in water, which is another good

Teaching Considerations
Weather is everywhere! Consider the site for your lesson. The out-of-doors is
accessible and engaging. Remember that clouds, geography, and wind are the most
easily observed/noted in open spaces. In other words, don‘t do a weather lesson in a
densely wooded area. The more you know about weather the more likely your students
are to respond positively. Get creative with weather, try including ancient peoples‘
interpretations and customs relating to weather. Get practical with weather, it affects
all of us, not only our daily plans but our moods. It makes the most sense to learn
about weather over extended period of time. When you are learning about lightening it
is crucial that you are not out in the open observing it! As a leader/instructor it‘s your
job to know that every year about 100 people are killed by lightening in the United
States alone and over 1,000 world wide. Lightening can strike anywhere, 15 miles or
more from a cloud. Its more important for students to know what to do when
lightening is around than what type of lightening it is.

Body Climate Control- Staying Warm, Dry, Hydrated, and Well-Fed

Many students think that being damp and cold is normal when you are living in the
wilderness. Early in the course, show them they can stay comfortable in the most
challenging weather conditions simply by dressing, staying properly hydrated, eating
balanced meals, and monitoring your activity levels properly. A student who is warm,
dry, hydrated, and well-fed is going to be a safer expedition member, a more attentive
learner, and a more enjoyable companion.

Educational Goals
By the end of the course, students must demonstrate the ability to stay healthy and
comfortable while living and traveling in the wilderness. This requires a practical
understanding of the effects of clothing, layering, nutrition, hydration, and physical
activity on personal comfort. Outdoor leaders must be able to take care of themselves
and stressful situations, and still have enough energy left to look after others. You
should cover these topics early in the course and help students see the connections
between hydration, nutrition, and staying warm and dry. Give them the reasons WHY
they may feel cold or uncomfortable and then the tools for HOW they can take care of
themselves and their teammates. This involves three main skill areas: clothing and
layering, nutrition, and hydration.

Key points

Heat Production
Under normal conditions, our body produces heat through muscular activity and basic
metabolism. A healthy body that is well-nourished, hydrated and reasonably insulated
maintains its temperature at approximately 98.7 degrees f. When we get chilled, we
start shivering. Shivering is a involuntary response intended to generate heat quickly
through muscular twitching.

Heat Loss
Heat flows from warm objects to cold via radiation, convection, conduction and
evaporation. Radiation is the movement of heat in the form of particles or waves,
similar to light or a radio wave. All objects radiate heat. Warmer objects radiate more
than cooler ones. Since we are often the warmest object in an area, we have a net heat
loss to the environment. Head, hands, and feet have many blood vessels close to the
skin which increases their potential for radiant heat exchange. When our bodies are
cooler than the surrounding objects, they pick up radiant heat through the same

Convection occurs when a moving medium, such as water or wind, sweeps away an
object‘s pocket of radiant heat. This is how you loose heat when you stand in a cold
stream or a cool breeze.

Conduction is the direct transfer of heat from a warm object to a cool one. A warm
butt sitting on a cold rock experiences conduction. Some objects, such as metal,
conduct heat better than others, like ensolite.
Evaporation is the process of changing a liquid into vapor. It takes heat for this
transformation to occur, so evaporating sweat cools your body. This is why a wet
bandanna on your head, or dipping your hands or feet into water feels so good on a hot
day. Dry climates help evaporation occur quickly; wet climates hinder evaporation.

Dressing For The Cold
Cotton Clothing works well in hot climates because it holds moisture against the skin,
promotes evaporation, and accelerates heat loss. For these same reasons, you should
not wear cotton on cold or wet days.

Modern fibers and layering systems provide lightweight, functional clothing that can
keep you warm and dry if used properly. Layering clothes creates dead air spaces
which trap warm air and provide insulation. Clothes made from wool, pile or
polarfleece have hollow fibers that create air spaces that trap air. Breathable wind gear
prevents heat loss from convection. Polypropylene underwear wicks moisture away
from your skin before and cooling evaporation takes place. Hats and gloves also
provide a great deal of warmth by minimizing radiant heat loss.

Rain gear helps keep other layers dry but since it is non-breathable, you get soaked
with sweat if you exercise in it. When temperatures are mild, you will often be more
comfortable hiking in polypro and wind gear on rainy days. When it is cold and rainy
go ahead and hike in rain gear with a light layer of polypro underneath to minimize
sweating. In either case, once you get to camp, change into dry clothes before you cool

Staying Warm- helpful hints for your students (and you!)
Staying warm takes work, but getting rewarmed takes a lot of work. When the wind is
howling through your tent, it is difficult to drag yourself outside to start the stove and
cook a meal or get more water, but staying properly hydrated and healthy takes a little
bit of knowledge and a lot of self discipline.

    1) Layers allow for more flexibility throughout the day
    2) Start cold. That is, you should be border line uncomfortably cold prior to
       physical activity (like beginning a hike or paddle day). Your body will warm
       up as you exercise- if you bundle up in the am, you‘ll be sweating out those
       layers in about 25 minutes.
    3) The simplest way to manage your body temp is to manage your level of
       activity. If you are too warm, slow down. If you are cold, speed up. This
       minimizes a lot of starting and stopping to layer and de-layer.
    4) Food and water are critical to body temp- see discussion on nutrition and
       dehydration below.
    5) Keep a ―bomb-proof‖ in camp layer that stays dry. Put it in your sleeping bag
        and only pull it out when you are in camp and can be sure that you can stay
        dry. Do the same thing with one pair of socks.
    6) Take advantage of sunny warm days by drying out every piece of clothing
        you can.
    7) You can dry out socks by sleeping with them under your kidneys. You can
        also wear a ―sock bra‖ while you are hiking or paddling to dry off socks with
        your bidy heat.
    8) Drinking a ―super cocoa‖ before bed- cocoa plus butter- will help keep the
        fire stoked during cold nights.
    9) Change out of trail clothes for sleeping- even if they don‘t feel wet, they have
        retained moisture that will draw heat from your body. A light polypro layer
        for sleeping that stays dry all the time works well.
    10) Boiling water and putting it in a nalgene to sleep with keeps you warm.
    11) Get into your sleeping bag warm by doing jumping jacks or sit ups or some
        other form of activity. Remember, your bag does not get you warm, it keeps
        what warmth you bring into it there.
    12) Hats and hot drinks are miracle workers for keeping warm.

Nutrition and Hydration
Nutrition and hydration play essential roles in keeping us warm. The calories our
bodies burn come from the food we eat. Carbohydrates burn quickly. Fats, on the other
hand, take up to three hours to kick in, but they provide twice as much energy per
gram as carbohydrates. When staying warm is a struggle, eating a balance of the two
will provide you with the energy you need.

In cold weather, breakfast is critical to maintaining energy and warmth over the course
of the day. Eat a power breakfast containing lots of carbo‘s. eat fats at bedtime to have
fuel early in the morning when the carbo‘s have metabolized. When the conditions are
harsh, a proven strategy is to snack all day long and through the night. Remember this
mantra: lunch starts right after breakfast and ends right before dinner. Snacking is
preferable to a long, drawn-out lunch which puts students into food coma and is less
efficient for traveling.

If the word ―carbohydrate‖ were Latin it would mean efficient, readily available
source of energy. Body fuel. To allow your body to function at the high level you‘ll be
asking of your diet will need to be 60% carbs. Pasta, grains, potatoes, cracker mixes,
fruit drinks fruits, cereals and cocoa are great source of these little beauties. Carbs
come in a couple of forms, and each has a different function. Simple sugars are sweet
foods and drinks that are absorbed easily into the blood stream and provide a quick
start, but one that doesn‘t last long. Another form of carbohydrates is complex carbs.
This variety takes longer to break down, but also lasts longer to get you through the
long haul. Grains, breads, pastas, potatoes, and legumes fit into this group

Fats are your Friends
Fat is not a four letter word. In fact, fats are an essential nutrient in your diet – as
essential to good health as protein and carbos. Fats are actually the most concentrated
form of energy around, having twice the energy of carbohydrates! Fats are not only a
great source of energy and keep your skin healthy, they keep you warm! Fats are
important in the function and structure of body tissue as well. This is not to say that all
types of fats and lots of fats are good health for a nonactive diet. However, while you
are on trail, 25-30% of your diet should be composed of fats. This sounds like a lot,
but considering the rate at which your body is moving and your metabolism is ticking,
you‘ll need all 25%. The easiest and best way to add fat to your expedition diet is
through margarine, oil, nuts and nut butters and cheese. Not only do these items give
you the fat you need but they also add a whole lot of taste to pastas and breads. In
short, your body needs fat. Don‘t skip in this area of your diet. Keep in mind that 95%
of the fat you ingest will digest and the fats you can easily take in a ration.

Protein is the basic material of every body cell. It is the creature that rebuilds tissue.
Protein is also a component of enzymes and hormone, which play an important role in
metabolism and digestion. Everything you are is protein: hair nails skin and blood. At
least 15% of your diet should be made up of proteins. You will find, however, that
many foods you think of as being high in protein (milk, eggs, meat) are not practical to
take as part of a ration. Therefore, substitutes must be found – powdered milk, for

Keep in mind, too, that there are two many types of proteins: complete and
incomplete. Complete proteins include milk, fish, egg, and cheese and they are
primarily found in animal foods. On the other hand, incomplete proteins are more
abundant in a ration-type diet: corn, grains, legumes, nuts, peanuts, and other plant
foods. When combined in a certain manner, these incomplete proteins suddenly
become complete to give you what you need. For example, beans and rice, pea soup
served with corn bread, bread with peanut butter.

Hydration is integral to heat production. A well-hydrated body utilizes its food more
efficiently and has better circulation. Cold temperatures increase urinary output, thus
accelerating dehydration. Drink 3-4 qts. per day normally, 5-6 qts. in the cold or at
altitude. Your urine will be clear and copious if you are well hydrated.
As the American Heart Association so eloquently puts it, ―Water is essential for
survival.‖ As we know, they tend to be right. Yes, folks, hydrate. Water is not critical
for nutrition, it also helps to cleanse your body, digest and regulate body temperature
and keep cells healthy. A person can go for several days without food but the length of
time without water is much shorter. Your body is 50-70% water, and you need to
replenish that constantly.

The AHA recommends drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day, and that‘s if you‘re not
exercising. Your body needs that much and more once your really active. Ideally, you
should drink at least 4 quarts of water per day enough to keep your urine clear and
copious. You will find that water will cure many of your ills – dizziness when you
stand up, sore muscles, low motivation, etc.

Teaching Considerations
Often conditions dictate that you cover this topic on the first day of the course. Start
with simple facts, then expand on them until all expedition members are able to take
care of their personal comfort. You can integrate the topic into lessons on cooking,
hydration, trail technique, cold injury awareness, and leadership.

Students learn a great deal by watching their instructors manage their own personal
climate control. An inappropriately dressed instructor should not be surprised when his
students follow his example. Model impeccable standards. Put on an extra layer the
minute you stop for a break in the trail. Carry a hot drink with you when you make
camp visits. Take off your cotton t-shirt when it starts to rain. Your students learn best
by mimicking your actions.

Peters, E. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. 5th ed, 1992, pp65-78
Forgey, WM. Death by Exposure, hypothermia, 1985, ICS Books, pp33-35, 8-11

Hygiene- Water Treatment and Washing Practices
Diarrhea is one of the most common illnesses on a wilderness course. The pristine
character of the wilderness can lure students into thinking the water is pure and good
hygiene unnecessary. Students need to be aware that their health and the health of the
group of depends upon preventing the spread of disease through food and water.

Educational Goals:
The development of sound hygiene habits should be our first priority. Students need to
know the basic mechanisms of disease transfer and techniques for maintaining good
health on an expedition. Various methods of water disinfection should be included in
the instruction.

Key Points

Personal Hygiene
This is a critical skill and an essential part of good expeditionary behavior. Students
(and staff) who do not model these procedures impeccably put the entire expedition at

Hand washing must be a daily habit. Clean your hands after relieving yourself and
before preparing or eating a meal. Remember, soap is just a lubricant- it is the friction
of scrubbing your hands together that removes harmful bacteria and germs. Students
should scrub hands for as long as it takes to sing the ―happy birthday‖ song. In the
absence of soap, sand makes an excellent substitute.

If you choose to bathe with soap, you should get wet, and then move at least 200 feet
from water before lathering up. Use water carried in a pot to rinse off. This procedure
allows biodegradable soap to break down and filter through the soil before reaching
any body of water.

Other important personal hygiene points:
   1) The Fecal-Oral Pathway: explain to students to importance of washing to
        avoid the transmission of food borne illnesses that can put the entire group
        under for several days.
   2) Keep nails trimmed and clean.
   3) Do not share lip balm, water bottles, eating utensils, food or toothbrushes
        with anyone you wouldn‘t french kiss.

Kitchen and Food Hygiene
The major carriers of food-borne illnesses are contaminated food and utensils. Have
clean, healthy people prepare the food. Use group cooking utensils rather than your
personal spoon when making meals. Boil utensils regularly and plan food amounts so
you don‘t have leftovers. Pour food from the bag rather than reaching in with your
hands. Bacteria grows best at temperatures between 45 and 140 degrees F. It can reach
dangerous levels quickly. Heat and cold usually destroy the bacteria, but will not
necessarily kill the toxins they produce. When setting up camp, model good hygiene
by setting up a hand washing station immediately and using it frequently. On courses
with cook groups, instructors should monitor student camps and insist that they have a
hand washing station established.

Water Disinfection
All natural water sources may be contaminated. The protozoa giardia is present in
many Uintas water drainages and some Wabikimi water sources.

Giardia and amoebae are killed in 2-3 minutes at 140 degrees F while diarrhea-
producing bacteria and viruses die at 131 degrees F. Therefore, hot drink water does
not have to reach a rolling boil (or 212 degrees F) to be safe to drink. The lower
boiling point of water at the altitudes found in the Uintas will not affect disinfection.
Filters remove protozoa (giardia, amoebas) but not viruses, and often need regular
cleaning to be efficient.

Recent data in the medical literature indicates that very cold water requires even
longer contact times than we thought to kill giardia cysts. The latest conservative
recommendations for 1 potable aqua tablet in a liter of water at 41 degrees F are 60
min, at 59 degrees F 30 minutes and at 86 degrees F 15 minutes.

Teaching Considerations
It must be made clear that proper hygiene is an expectation – not an option. Telling
students about the ―mung‖ isn‘t enough. The course needs to observe their instructors
modeling hygienic habits at all times.

Hygiene tips should be included in your sanitation and food preparation instruction.
For emphasis, give hygiene almost as a much attention as food identification and basic
cooking skills.

Tent groups and other instructors practicing lax hygiene habits should receive timely
and specific feedback. Sharing personal eating utensils is a sign that good hygiene has
not become a habit. It is our responsibility to continue to promote these habits and not
become frustrated by a lack of compliance.

Sanitation and Waste Disposal

For many students, this course is the first time they will have had to deal with getting
rid of their own waste. Proper disposal is critical to protect both themselves and the
environment from human contamination.

Educational Goals
Within a day of getting dropped-off students should have both an understanding of
how decompositions works and of how to dispose of human waste in the wilderness.
As the course progresses, students must demonstrate the skills and judgement to
manage human and kitchen wastes in all environments encountered

Key Points
Effects of Improper Wastes Disposal
Improperly buried or spread waste can contaminate water and infect humans with
protozoans such as giardia, bacteria such as campylobacter, and viruses such as
hepatitis. Health concerns aside, waste that has been dealt with improperly can have a
negative impact on the experience of other backcountry visitors and on the
environment. Seeing and smelling unburied feces is offensive, but unfortunately not at
all uncommon.

Organic material is decomposed by sunlight and bacteria. Feces can be broken down
by bacteria in humus soil if there is adequate oxygen, moisture and heat, however in
most of the environments we will be traveling through decomposition is slow at best.
Nonetheless, burying feces is the best way to avoid accidental contamination.

Proper Waste Disposal
Explain and demonstrate proper waste disposal. Your general guidelines should
indicate which technique is appropriate for your current location. As you change
locations add new information. In general, Choose a site that is at least 200 feet from
water and away from areas of human interest, such as campsites, trails, or climbing
routes. Take care to avoid places that collect or drain water after a storm.

Catholes are the recommended technique for feces disposal. Dig a hole approximately
six-to-eight inches deep and six inches wide to serve as a personal latrine. After you
make your deposit, use a stick to mix your feces with soil, then fill in the hole and
disguise the spot thoroughly. Spread catholes over a wide area and encourage folks to
stroll far away from camp (don‘t wait until your desperate). Wash your hands
thoroughly after defecating to avoid the spread of disease. When available use
outhouses. Their use may be required by law in some areas.

Wash Water
Leftover food and wastewater need to be disposed of carefully to avoid contaminating
water sources and feeding wildlife. Animals that habitually eat human food scraps
often become nuisances or even hazards. Pack out solid food scraps. Scatter dishwater
away from camps, lakes, or streams.

Natural Toilet Paper
On wilderness we have employed natural toilet paper for years and we advocate its use
in most situations. When done correctly, this method is as sanitary as regular toilet
paper, but without the impact problems. Popular types of natural toilet paper include
smooth stones, leaves, spruce cones, sticks, and snow. Warn students that some
vegetation can be irritating, use it at their own risk.
Urinate away from camp on surfaces that will not be damaged by animals digging in
search of salt. Be sensitive to the group‘s comfort when it comes to urinating around
camp or other people.

Teaching Considerations
To put apprehensive students at ease, you should use a relaxed, matter-of-fact tone and
sense of humor when teaching this material. Show them a sample disposal site, dig a
model cat hole, and exhibit samples of readily available natural toilet paper. This
instruction needs to take place on the first day in the field. Your introduction does not
have to be comprehensive, but should be complete enough to establish sound waste
disposal habits immediately.

Proper hygiene, particularly the need for adequate hand washing, must be included in
the first class. Explain that changes in regularity and stool characteristics are normal
and expected because of the wilderness diet, physical activity, and hydration.
Encourage students to heed nature‘s call and not hold it in. Humorous demonstrations
and illuminating anecdotes may help relax first time users of a wilderness toilet, but be
aware that profanity and graphic explanations may be offended.

Leadership Opportunities
On the first night when sanitation is introduced, you usually only have time for a few
quick comments. When there is more time, however, make an effort to open up the
topic for a discussion on personal responsibility and choice. Our goal is to provide our
students with guidelines rather than rules, and to get them taking responsibility for
their actions. Sanitation is just one place to plant this seed.

Campsite Selection

Campsites concentrate impact. Our students should learn to consider safety and impact
when choosing a site to spend the night. Remember the Leave No Trace principle:
Camp and Travel in Durable Places. Use these guidelines to help students develop
their understanding of how to select an appropriate site.

Educational Goals
Students should be able to choose a campsite that is safe, durable, out-of-the-way, and
comfortable. In heavily traveled areas, this usually means camping in an established,
or ―hardened‖ site. In pristine areas, they need to be able to identify durable vs. fragile
surfaces. They should recognize how vegetation, terrain, previous use, and duration of
stay must be considered every time they stop for the night. They should develop habits
that show that ―good campsites are found, not made.‖
Key Points:

Safety- Check your campsites for hazards such as:
   Dead Trees or widow-makers that could fall in a wind
   Thick woods with low branches that could poke you in the eye at night
   Avalanche paths or areas of rock and ice fall
   Potential lightning attractants.
   Animal trails

Identify the difference between a fragile and a resilient site. Avoid camping on
delicate or moist broad-leaved plants that will not recover quickly. Try to find spots
with bare soil or thick duff. Dry meadows are also quite resilient. Find a large rock or
spot of gravel for your kitchen. In heavily traveled areas, use established sites rather
than create additional impact by camping in a pristine place. Avoid sites where there
are signs of impacts just beginning.

Look for a site that is sheltered from the wind and has water nearby. Try to find a flat
location for sleeping. Avoid low spots where cold air collects. In hot weather look for
shade; in cold weather, southeastern exposure offer solar heat in the morning when
you need it most. A view never hurts either.

Limiting Impact
Try not to camp on a site that shows early signs of prior us. Left alone, such sites are
likely to regenerate; used again, they can become sacrifice spots. In heavily, traveled
areas, camp in well-established campsites and stick to developed trails. In pristine
areas, spread out and choose durable spots. Try to stay out of view of other
backcountry users. Alter the way you travel to your kitchen or to visit other tent
groups so you don‘t create social trails. Do not change the site by digging trenches or
excavating a place to sleep. When you leave, replace any rocks or branches you may
have moved so you disguise the site and minimize the chance it will be used again.

Teaching Considerations
Try teaching campsite selection on your first night. The sooner students are aware of
what goes into selecting a good spot to camp, the sooner they will be able to exercise
their own judgement. Introduce the Leave No Trace Principles at this time, and make
sure they understand and are using the how‘s and why‘s of choosing a site, rather than
following a prescribed set of rules.

Use camp checks to enhance your students‘ grasp of site selection. If you come upon a
poorly selected site, give your students a chance to explain their reasoning. Discuss
their thought process, review the key points of site selection and have them choose a
better location. Encourage your students to take time to find a good spot. Have them
leave their packs, put on extra layers, and explore the area for a location that is
durable, safe, comfortable, and when possible aesthetic.

Leadership Opportunities
After presenting this topic, students should feel comfortable selecting a campsite and
being open to both defending and listening to feedback on that choice. Watch peoples‘
tones as they discuss their decisions, and give them feedback on what emotional
message you hear, so they can learn to monitor their tone in future conversations. A
key goal of this openness is to create an atmosphere of mutual respect early in the

Basic Cooking and Food Identification

Good cooking has a positive effect on health, safety and enjoyment of the wilderness.
Being able to prepare an edible and nutritious meal allows students to keep pace with
mental and physical challenges of a 30-day wilderness expedition.

Educational Goals
The goal of early cooking instruction is to make tasty and nutritious meals quickly and
efficiently. Later in the course, your instruction can address baking and more involved
meal preparation. All students must be able to prepare simple meals be themselves be
the end of the first ration period.

Key Points
An organized kitchen simplifies cooking and makes preparation a meal enjoyable.
Place the ingredients, utensils and cooking equipment you will need within reach. Put
them away when you‘re done. Clean up as soon as meals end.

Good hygiene helps prevent food-borne illness. Washing your hands before handling
food is critical. Do not share personal utensils or allow them to come into contact with
communal foods. Utensils should be sterilized routinely with boiling water.

Clean pots and dishes after every meal to eliminate food-borne illness. Bacteria and
their toxic by-products grow quickly on food residue. Scrub the pot with hot water and
a natural abrasive like sand or pine needles. Starches dissolve best in cold water. Strain
wash water away from camp and pack any remnants from the strainer into a garbage
bag. Rinse with hot water. Do not scrub Teflon coated fry pans with sand or gravel.
These items can be cleaned be scraping the pan with a spatula and using hot water to
cut the grease. Let clean pots dry in the sun, a blast of U.V. helps viral and bacterial
populations down.

Food Identification
Basic food identification classes include preparation guidelines for all the items in our
food bags. Most of our dinner and breakfast foods are simply boiled, but students may
need help determining proportions, water amounts, and cooking times.

Cheese and margarine enhance the taste, texture and caloric value of a meal. Both
items must be stored in the shade to slow down spoilage. To avoid bacterial
contamination, do not touch cheese with your hands.

White powders are the most confusing item found in our food bags. Show your
students how to tell the difference between them: milk squeaks, cheese cake has two
different grain sizes, flour is quiet and smooth, baking powder is fizzy to the tongue,
and potato pearls are yellowish and granular. The bulk of the other powders found in
our ration are drink mixes and desserts.

Soup bases are concentrated and salty. They can be used to flavor sauces, make a
broth and provide flavoring. Spicing is personal: respect the tastes of others. Conserve
spices be cooking them into the food. They need to be soaked in boiling water prior to
cooing to re-hydrate. Save trail foods for the trail when it is not practical to stop and

Basic cooking
Water boils at 212 degrees F at sea level. Giardia and most other water borne
pathogens are killed at 140 degrees F, so when small bubbles – or ―fish eyes‖ –
appear, the water is safe to drink. In high altitudes, the effect of altitude on boiling
point is not significant enough to require a rolling bubble for disinfection.

Helpful Hints For New Cooks
   Keep heat low and make sure there‘s plenty of grease or water in the pot to avoid
    burning food. You cannot mask the taste of burned food!
   Make sure you start cooking pasta in boiling water, rice can be thrown into cold.
   Add milk products after food is cooked and stir constantly to prevent burning.
   Mix powders with liquid separately to avoid lumps.
   Melt cheese be adding a few drops of water and covering the pan to create steam.
   Rice is a ―2:1‖ mixture meaning two parts rice to one part water. Add ingredients
    to cold water with a little salt and butter. Cover until boiling. Then reduce to a
    very low simmer for 20 minutes without opening lid too much. You should have
    perfect rice. One cup of rice feeds two hungry people.

Knife Wounds
Knife Cuts can be a common camp injury. Cuts to the fingers and hands often take a
long time to heal and are difficult to keep clean during an active course. Demonstrate
and model cutting away from the body and not towards or against body parts.

Teaching Considerations
Introduce a relaxed attitude toward food on the first day of the course to minimize the
potential for food stress. Encourage all students to try their hand in the kitchen.
Instructor eating preferences should be kept to ones self. Cooking and food
identification can be taught to the whole course or to smaller groups. If you decide to
work with individual tent groups, get the instructors together and agree on key points
before splitting up, or gather together as a group after the meal and have everyone
share tricks they learned about outdoor cooking. Inviting tent groups over to the
instructors‘ kitchen or having an instructor eat out are other ways to provide cooking

Emphasize fuel conservation and hygiene throughout the course. Course banquets are
enjoyable when everyone is committed to preparing food hygienically, but they have a
reputation for sending food-borne illnesses raging through camp. Wait until students
have demonstrated good habits before introducing the idea of a banquet.

Leadership Opportunities
Promote teamwork in the kitchen and encourage students to be open about what they
want. Sometimes good teamwork is leaving the cook alone, other items it means
fetching water or cutting cheese. The critical leadership point is that the cook needs to
tell people if they do or don‘t want help, and the entire tent group should be willing to
pitch in and do their share around the kitchen.

Foot Care
The success and enjoyment of a course can ride on the well-being of the students feet.
Proper foot care is an important as sound hygiene to the welfare of the expedition
without it our students can have a miserable, painful or abbreviated wilderness
experience. To prevent this, students need to be motivated and disciplined about taking
care of their feet.

Educational Goals:
Students need to know how to wear their socks, boots, gaiters and camp shoes
properly they need to be able to identify and treat foot problems (hot spots, blisters,
tendonitis) long before they become debilitating.
Personal Safety Concerns
Be aware of your feet. Think about where you are stepping, how your feet feel, and
what their recent history is.

Avoid walking barefoot. Any cut or puncture on your feet has a high risk of infection.
Keep your feet clean. Feet that are washed every day are less likely to develop skin
irritations caused by salt and dirt build up. Toe nails should also be trimmed (flat and
straight- not curved). Dry your feet before going to bed to promote good circulation,
sensation, skin integrity, and to avoid trench foot. Don‘t try to dry socks on your feet
while you sleep.

Proper Foot Gear
   1. Socks: two pairs of socks help provide cushioning and sweat absorption when
        hiking. Wrinkles should be smoothed out and the toe seam should run across
        the top of your toes. The socks heel should ride on your heel, not above or
        below it. Bunched up socks cause more blisters.
   2. Boots: Boots should fit tightly enough to provide adequate ankle support, but
        not so tightly that they cause soft tissue problems: hot spot, blisters, or
        tendonitis. Loosen boots for going up hill to allow heel lift. Tighten boots for
        down hills to prevent toe numb.
   3. Gaiters, Galoshes, and Camp Shoes: Gaiters help prevent rocks, snow and
        dirt from getting into your boots, thereby keeping your socks cleaner, dry,
        and easier to wash. During early or late season courses when there is a lot of
        snow, galoshes worn over booties or camp shoes help keep your feet dry and
        can prevent immersion foot. Galoshes are also less damaging to vegetation in
        soggy soil. Camp shoes are another way to reduce soil impact and erosion.
        They could be light and durable, should enclose your foot, and be
        comfortable with socks. In damp weather, dry feet in camp are a godsend:
        consider drying your camp shoes near a fire, or lining them with plastic bags
        to keep your socks dry.

Hot Spots and Blisters
Excessive friction and pressure in one location will cause a hot spot or blister. Factors
which contribute to this include dirty and bunched socks, improperly laced boots, new
boots, wet socks, and hot feet. Some peoples feet are more prone to blisters and may
require preventative taping and mole skin.

Though uncommon bruising is caused by high mileage on trails, inadequate
cushioning, and excessive weight while hiking in camp shoes.

The inflammation of the tendon or the tendon sheath is caused by tight-fitting boots or
excessive pressure on the tendon.

Foot repair
     Hot spots should be covered with tape or moleskin to reduce the friction on
        the skin. Socks, boots and walking pattern can also be adjusted to reduce
        rubbing. Severe hot spots should get a molefoam donut.
     Closed blisters should be kept from enlarging or popping. Often a molefoam
        or ensolite donut applied around the injury will pad the area and prevent
        further rubbing. Tape the donut in place. Adjust the boot lacing and hiking
        pace at accommodate the injury. Blisters bigger than the size of a nickel
        should be drained with a sterile needle, dressed, and then padded with a
        molefoam donut.
     Open/drained blisters should be kept moist and clean. Moisture aids in the
        regeneration of skin, but will attract infection if you are not diligent about
        keeping the wound clean. Hot soaks in sterile water are soothing and aid in
     Sore feet that do not have any skin breaks or tendon problems can be
        alleviated with rest in camp shoe, soaking in a cold stream, and foot
        messages. The key is getting out of the boots as soon as possible. Stiff or
        tight boots can be exchanged or stretched in the issue room prior to leaving
        for the field. Stretching and softening can also be achieved in the field be
        wetting the boots and having the student walk around in them until they dry.
     Tendonitis, like blisters, need to be caught early. Use the Rice method – Rest,
        Ice, Compression, and Elevation – and Ibuprofen to treat this problem. One
        can also try re-lacing the boot to relieve pressure or padding each side of the
        tendon with ensoite rails. If neither of these methods alleviate the pain try
        making heel lifts from ensolite or molefoam the lifts compress quickly so
        check them periodically to make sure they are still helping alleviate pressure
        on the tendon. Extreme methods of controlling tendonitis include cutting out
        the heel of the boot and or evacuation.

Teaching Considerations:
Foot care begins on issue day. Right off the bat, encourage your students to wear shoes
and see that they have the correct foot gear before departing for the field. Prior to the
first hike, students benefit from seeing exactly how to put on their socks, gaiters and
boots. Some instructors like to joke that for students, the first few days of a course are
like early childhood all over again. During this time they learn how to dress, eat, walk,
and poop. A quick lesson on how to walk with flat feet and a shorter, slower stride will
help to prevent many foot problems, as well as help your students develop good hiking
habits. Encourage students to find walking patterns that work for their feet and boots
do not forget to include the ―whys‖ of these techniques. The less we make our
instructions sound like rules, the more likely our students will heed our suggestions.

During the first few hikes, periodically ask the students how their feet feel. Check
them at breaks. It is quite common for a novice hiker not to notice a hot spot or to
downplay the severity of a blister in order to avoid inconveniencing the hiking group.
A foot problem can provide a valuable teachable moment on how to adjust boots or
make a molefoam donut. Make sure these foot repair sessions are educational and not
embarrassing for the affected student. Students also benefit from watching instructors
fix their own feet. This helps them pick up different tricks for taping and moleskin, but
more importantly, it shows them that all feet are susceptible.

Students are empowered when they can take care of themselves, and they are
empowered as leaders for future expeditions if they can take care of others as well.
Show them how to fix their feet and get them doing it as soon as possible, See that
each student hiking group has its own foot repair kit.

Special Considerations for Canoe Programs
Expedition canoeing requires a different set of considerations of foot care. While
participants will not spend as much time on their feet, it is likely they will have wet
feet most of the time. This leaves them vulnerable to foot fungus like athlete‘s foot as
well as more dangerous conditions like immersion foot (trench foot). Instructors
should demonstrate proper foot care with students as soon as possible on water-based
programs. These include:

    1)   Proper foot wear while canoeing and portaging (ankle supporting boots)
    2)   Keeping camp shoes as dry as possible
    3)   Drying feet out as often as possible on breaks, in camp, and in the canoe
    4)   For problematic feet, lots of drying time in open air at camp can help as can
         the use of foot powders and rubbing alcohol. A common routine: air dry feet,
         then rubbing alcohol, then foot powder, then dry socks and shoes.

Leave No Trace

Educational Goals
Teaching LNT can either be a passionless list of rules that students feel obligated to
follow (and often don‘t when you are not looking) or a significant opportunity to
discuss personal ethics and well as environmental responsibility if done well. Take the
time to plan an LNT progression of lessons that introduce students not just to the
seven principles- but to an attitude, an ethic, a way of living in the outdoors that can
translate into the frontcountry as well.

General Principles from Leave No
   1. Plan ahead and prepare: Know the regulations and special concerns for the
        area you‘ll visit. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
        Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use. Visit in small groups, split
        larger groups into parties of 4-6. Repackage food to minimize waste.

    2.   Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Durable surfaces include
         established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow. Protect
         riparian areas by camping at least 200ft from lakes and streams. Good
         campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary in popular
         areas. Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites. Walk single file in the
         middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy. Keep campsites small. Focus
         activity in areas where vegetation is absent. Disperse use to prevent the
         creation of campsites and trails. Avoid places where impacts are just

    3.   Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and
         rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and
         litter. Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least
         200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when
         finished. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or
         your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small
         amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

    4.   Leave what you find: Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural,
         or historical structures and artifacts. Leave rocks, plants and other natural
         objects as you find them. Avoid introducing or transporting non-native
         species. Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
    5.   Minimize campfire impacts: Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the
         backcountry, use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern
         for light. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or
         mound fires. Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be
         broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires
         completely, then scatter cool ashes.

    6.   Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or
         approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health,
         alters their natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other
         dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
         Control pets at all times or leave them at home. Avoid wildlife during
         sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

    7.   Be considerate of others visitors: Respect other visitors and protect the
         quality of their experience. Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
         Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock. Take
         breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors. Let nature‘s sounds
         prevail, avoid loud voices and noises.

LNT- Back Country Travel Guidelines

General travel guidelines:
When in the backcountry hike on existing trails whenever possible. Walk single file
rather than abreast, so not to widen the trails. On wet or muddy passages, trudge right
through, this will avoid creating side trails and unnecessary erosion. Do not short cut
switchbacks. They are designed to minimize erosion and ease ascent and descent on
steep terrain. When taking a rest break, move at least five feet to the side of the trail
and break on durable surfaces such as a rock, sandy areas, or nonvegetated area.

Travel Guidelines for Pristine or Highly Fragile Areas
Hike in small groups. If you are hiking in pristine areas with no trails, it is usually best
to spread out so as not to create a trail. If you are in a large group, break up into
smaller groups of no more than six during the day. Whenever possible travel on
durable surfaces such as rocks, sand, snow, or stable nonvegetative surfaces. In
extremely fragile areas it is probably better to walk single file so that only one path is
created. If you choose a route with no trails do not blaze trees, build cairns, or leave
messages in the dirt.

Campsite Selection
General Campsite Guidelines
Plan to arrive with enough daylight to set up a good LNT campsite. Arriving tired and
in the dark makes this much more difficult. Choose a campsite at lease 200feet from
water sources, trails, and scenic spots. Set up your camp thoughtfully in terms of
traffic patterns. Think about where to situate the shelter, cooking area, hand washing
station, bear bag site, and where the water source is. Minimize traffic patterns to and
from these areas to reduce impact on the site. Heavy-soled hiking boots can tear up the
ground around the campsite. It is a good idea to change into a pair of camp shoes to
minimize the wear and tear on the surface. Avoid spending more than a few days at
any one campsite unless it is an established site. Leave an area as you found it or

Designated Campsites in the Lakes Regions
Along canoe routes of the Lakes region, and within some of the parks and forests,
designated sites are often located relatively close to the water. This is to allow access
by watercraft, or because of terrain limitations and thick vegetation inland. To
compensate for this, most have features that mitigate impacts of recreational use such
as latrines—generally located well away from water sources—established tent sites or
pads and fire grates. Whenever using designated sites, further reduce impacts y
locating tents on durable surfaces, but screened from view of passers-by and keep
noise to a minimum. Designated campsites go a long way towards concentrating the
impact within heavily visited areas. Without them impact would spread into the forests
and along the shorelines.

LNT Campfire Guidelines

When to have a fire:
    When fire danger is low and you have abundant dead wood available
    When there already is an established fire ring or conditions are such that you
        can create a LNT fire
    When your stove is not working and hot food is important for the safety of
        the group.
    When there are first-aid considerations and you need a strong heat source for
        the safety of an individual or for the group.

When not to have a campfire:
    When fire danger is moderate to high. If fire danger is high, you may even
       have to avoid using your stove.
    When there are restrictions against fires in certain locations or above certain
    On windy days when sparks might be dangerous, especially when the woods
       are dry.
        When dead wood is scarce.

Fires in highly impacted areas
In high use areas, campfires should be built in existing fire rings to concentrate their
impact. The limiting factors to fire use in these areas are prohibiting regulations or a
lack of firewood. Remove any residual trash and burn all wood completely to ashes.
Properly-located legal fire rings should be left intact for others to use. Dismantling
them will cause additional impact because in all probability they will be rebuilt with
new rocks.

Fires in pristine areas
In remote or pristine areas, it is possible to enjoy a fire and leave no trace that it was
ever there. Over the years, the techniques for this type of fire have evolved into some
very practical alternatives to the traditional fire ring. Select a durable site for any use
of fire as the concentrated trampling of people cooking or socializing can cause as
much impact as the heat from fires or stoves.

LNT Methods of fire building
The Mound fire: This innovative method for building a Leave No Trace fire can be
built virtually anywhere. All you need are a few simple tools: a trowel, a large stuff
and a ground cloth. First locate a ready source of mineral soil. Dry washers are ideal
because they are already distributed by natural forces, and collecting the mineral soil
will not damage live vegetation. With the trowel and stuff sack (turned inside out to
keep the inside of the bag from getting dirty), carry a load of mineral soil to the fire
site. Lay a tarp or ground cloth on the fire site and spread the soil on top of it. Form a
circular, flat-topped mound about 6-8 inches thick. The ground cloth helps facilitate
clean up once the fire is out. The thickness of the mound is critical for insulating the
surface underneath from the heat of the fire. This will also prevent the ground cloth
from melting. The circumference of the mound should be larger than the size of the
fire to allow for the inevitable spreading of coals. It may take more than one bag of
soil to make an adequate mound.

After the fire is completely out, the little bit of leftover ash and coals can be scattered
away from camp and the mineral soil returned to the source. Ashes should be cool
enough for you to run your hand through them comfortably before scattering them.
Any bits of charcoal can remain visible for hundreds of years.The advantage of the
mound fire is that it can be built on flat, exposed bedrock or on an organic surface,
such as litter or duff without scarring the rock or damaging the soil.

The Fire Pan: Fire pans are metal trays with rigid sides at least three inches high. They
were first used by river runners and are becoming increasingly popular with
backpackers and stock packers. Metal oil drain pans and backyard barbecue grills
make effective and inexpensive fire pans, though a few outdoor companies are
beginning to market lightweight versions. These pans will keep a campfire‘s heat from
sterilizing the soil of they are elevated on rocks or lined with mineral soil. Fire pans
are also easy to move and clean up without leaving a trace

Firewood Selection
There is only one type of wood that is acceptable for building a minimum-impact
campfire-dead and downed wood. Do not break dead branches off any woody shrubs
or trees, alive or dead. Broken branch stubs and scars are obvious, long lasting impact.

The size of firewood is critical to building a Leave No Trace fire. Firewood should be
no larger in diameter than an adult‘s wrists. Small wood will burn completely and can
be easily broken by hand. Collect loose sticks and branches left by floods in dry
washes or riverbanks.

Firewood should be gathered away from camp so the immediate vicinity does not look
unnaturally barren. Take the time to walk 5 or 10 minutes away and then begin to
gather wood. Pick up the wood as you are walking so that no single place becomes
denuded. Again, consider carefully the size of the firewood supply. Washes and
canyons with abundant flash flood debris are the most appropriate areas for firewood
gathering. Woody shrub communities or the forests of higher elevations may also
provide an adequate wood supply. In all campfire situations, the use of saws, axes and
hatches is unnecessary. Sawing and chopping leave more impact and further detract
from the naturalness of the area. Firewood should be easily gathered by hand.

Cleanup After a Fire
You should burn all wood completely. Don‘t put a ―night log‖ on your fire that will be
only half burned in the morning. For safety never leave a fire unattended. The fire
should be put out completely when you go to bed. Let your fire burn down to white
ash before dousing it with water. Then stir all the way through the embers with a stick
to make sure the fire is completely out. The next morning scatter the as much of the
ash as possible before burial to avoid an unnatural concentration of minerals in the fire
pit. Bury the remaining ash and scatter excess firewood before leaving your campsite.

Teaching Considerations
It is important that your audience is aware of the necessity to practice Leave No Trace
ethics in the wilderness. There is a lot to cover with this subject, which may make it
difficult to keep your audience interested. Use as many visual aids as possible. Having
the group asses the damages of a highly impacted campsite, building a LNT fire and
disposing of the remains properly as a group, and showing the group how to deal with
human waste instead of just telling them are a couple of examples. Point out any
examples during the day while traveling as they come up is also a good idea.

A discussion about LNT should be one of the first things on the agenda for a camping
trip. Introduce LNT early so your audience will have as much time as possible to
practice and become familiar with LNT. Point out specific examples along the trail to
make the educational process as experiential as possible. Combine discussion with one
on environmental ethics. It is important to recognize that we, as outdoor educators and
participants, assume a responsibility to keep the earth as natural and unharmed as

Resources:   Leave-No-Trace website.

Baking Skills
Baking provides creative and nutritious alternatives to the one-pot ―spooze‖ meal. This
skill allows our students to buy cheap staples such as flour and live like kings; plus it
can earn them social points when they return home and camp with their friends.

Educational Goals
The ability to produce quick bread biscuits and pizzas should be in each student‘s
cooking repertoire. The more ambitious ones can learn to make yeast bread or
calzones later. Good hygiene must be an integral part of their baking experience.

Key Points

Basic Baking
Start with a simple, quick rising dough. Explain the difference between yeast and
baking powder, and point out the different properties of whole wheat flour, white
flour, corn meal, and baking mix. Make sure you have both clean utensils and clean
hands. Demonstrate how to mix a basic dough. Explain how moisture determines the
bread type: pancake batter pours easily, cake batter is thicker but still pours, cookie
dough fall in wet globs from a spoon, and bread dough is dry and can be handled
without sticking.

Yeast baking includes some further considerations. You will get the best results on a
warm, sunny day when the dough can sit outside to rise, but when it is cloudy, you can
use a sleeping bag or warm belly to provide heat. Often it is helpful to activate your
yeast separately from the dry ingredients to make sure it is alive and producing carbon
dioxide. The yeast is working when it foams after being placed in warm sugar water.
Once your dough is made, grease and flour the frying pan to avoid sticking. The dough
should only fill the pan halfway, since it will rise as it cooks.

The Outdoor Oven
Baking requires low, even heat on all sides. In the wilderness, you can create such an
oven using either your stove or a fire.

With your stove on simmer, light a twig fire on the frying pan lid to provide heat from
above. Burn pencil-sized sticks. Put your dough on to cook in your pre-greased pan.
Rotate the pan every few minutes to ensure even heat. Baking will be most controlled
if your rotations are systematic. Demonstrate how to use the around-the-clock method
for ideal heat distribution. Once the baked good is finished, let the twig fire burn down
to ash and cool before you spread the remains.

The principles of baking are the same with a campfire, but you use coals as your heat
source. Build a fire and let the wood burn down to hot coals. Spread a layer of coals
off to one side of the main flame, and place your frying pan on top. With a shovel or
pot lid, pile more coals on the frying pan lid. If your coals are even, you do not need to
rotate using this method. Check to make sure your dough is not burning. If it gets too
hot cool the pan in snow or a shallow puddle if you are cooking many dishes on one
fire, have a coal generation fire on one side, and a cooking area on the other.

For some breads, particularly those with a stiff dough, you can bake with only bottom
heat by using the flip technique. To do this, grease and flour the lid. When the dough
is brown on the bottom, flip the entire pan onto its lid and finish baking.

Teaching Considerations
Get students baking as soon as they show a basic aptitude for cooking. For some
inexperienced outdoor cooks, the idea of baking is intimidating. For others, they may
need no introductions once they master the stoves. Ease natural fears by showing them
how to create tasty items with minimum fuss. Model impeccable hygiene throughout
your demonstration to establish better habits in your students.

Leadership Opportunities
If you do a bake-a-long, this gives you the opportunity to show a flexible, coaching
style of leadership and to demonstrate comfort with chaos. Chaos can be critical to the
development of leadership in individuals. Tolerate it when you have the time for it.

The NOLS Cookery

Staying Found/Search and Rescue

Educational Goals
Before students begin small group travel during the main section of a course, they
should know the basic skills of staying found while traveling independently as well as
what to do if they become disoriented or lost.

Key points

Before Students Begin Hiking on Their Own
    1. Teach and model consistent use of time control plans. TCP‘s are a valuable
        tool in supervising independent student travel and in organizing searches.
    2. Teach that hiking groups need to be self-sufficient and have all the necessary
        equipment to be comfortable for one or more nights in case they cannot make
        it to camp on a travel day.
    3. Set clear expectations for what students should do if they are lost, delayed or
        otherwise cannot make it to the designated as planned.
    4. If students do not make it to a designated camp for some reasons they are
        expected to attempt to get there the next afternoon, provided they can figure
        out where they are on the map.
    5. If students are lost and unable to reorient themselves, they should stay put
        and do what they can to make themselves found.

Getting Found
    1. Do not split up, but reasonable efforts need to be made to get re-oriented.
    2. Send out scouting parties from camp to attempt to determine location. Scout
        in groups of 2 or more.
    3. If location can be determined with certainty, travel toward the group camp.
        Stay on established trails, as much as possible.
    4. If location cannot be determined stay put.
    5. If possible, camp on or near established trails, on the shore of large lakes, or
        in open meadows. Be visible.
    6. Build large smoky fires.
    7. Use signal mirrors if separated for several days, aircraft will spot flashes
    8. People are most visible when moving through open areas.
    9. Lay down brightly colored items in open areas.

Teaching Considerations
Students need to have been taught these principles before they actually use them.
Safety of the group should be the foremost consideration. A few carefully chosen
stories or role plays might help to convey these principles.

Map Reading
Educational Goals
Students must be able to navigate accurately on- and off- trail using a topographic
map. This is a commonly overlooked and under-developed skill! Hammer It! Here is
the progression you should use with Maps and Compass Orientation. Follow it and
your students will progressively improve. Ignore it at your own risk (wait…what is
declination again?).

Handrails and Cardinal Directions
Start students off immediately with general orientation principles (no maps!). Which
direction are we walking? How do you know? Are we in a valley or a ridge? How do
you know? Which way in North? Is that an island ahead or the mainland? How do you
know? You get the point. Get students to use cardinal directions (North, South, East,
West) rather than ―left‖ and ―right.‖ Hammer this FIRST.

Begin to point out ―handrails‖ in the topography. These are areas that are clearly
discernable that students can use to help them navigate. Typical handrails include
major drainages, ridges, coastlines, clear running ridges, etc. Get them to identify
these in their surroundings and then to identify them on the map.

Orienting The Map
A basic but underdeveloped skill. Have them orient FIRST without the compass based
upon their understanding of the terrain and cardinal directions. Locate a nearby terrain
feature, (handrail) preferably a linear one (ridge, trail or drainage) and rotate your map
until the picture on the paper matches the terrain in view. You must be able to identify
the feature on the map accurately for this to work! Your map is now oriented.

 Measure Distance on the Map
Contour lines connect points of equal elevation. They are used to indicate the elevation
and shape of terrain features. They are represented by brown lines. Contour lines are
separated by the contour interval, which is the vertical distance between the two actual
lines. Typically this is 40 or 80 feet depending on the scale. The interval is the same
between each line, so they are closer together where the land is steep, and farther apart
where it is flat.

Steps to Simplify Map Navigation
  1. Always start with the map oriented.
  2. Travel with the map in your hand or visible in a boat and stay focused on the
      passing terrain and landmarks.
  3. Know your starting point, look around, and check to see how it is represented on
      the map. Then using your map visualize the terrain ahead.
  4. Watch the terrain you pass through. Take mental notes.
  5. Fix your position on the map as often as is necessary.
 6.   Check off features in your mind as you pass them, and remember what time that
 7.   Locate your position on the map by: Identifying five characteristics (proximity
      to water, slope, tree cover, man-made features, aspect, major landmarks, etc.)
      which describe your location accurately. Then find the place on the map which
      shares these five characteristics. Remember, observe first then read map.

Common Map Reading Mistakes
 Some of the most common map reading errors occur when you:
 1. Believe you have traveled farther than you have, especially uphill or off-trail.
 2. Choose a place on the map where you want to be, and then make it fit your
    actual location through wishful thinking (bending the map).
 3. Confuse a treed open area with a woodland and vice versa.
 4. Forgot what time you were at a known point.

Teaching Considerations
This subject is challenging to teach because of differing spatial abilities of our
students-three-dimensional visual aids often help. Individuals who appear to be
uninterested or have continued difficulty with map reading may have a learning
problem. These students often need more attention.

Teach the ―must know‖ first add the less important details later. For example, teach
the important map colors-white, green, blue, and black-before you introduce red and
purple. Introduce the information in the margins as needed. Avoid any extraneous
details that will distract students or be hard to grasp with limited experience.

Initial instruction should focus on navigation using map colors alone. Orient the map
for your students until they become proficient with the greens, whites and blues.
Consider leaving out contour lines until your students need this information. Try to
start with a map for every student; they will learn faster if they have one in their hands.

Introduce contour lines with a three-dimensional model. For example, draw contour
lines around your knuckles or knee to make a mountain that can be transformed from
three dimensional to two by straightening the limb out. Sand models with parachute
cord contour lines also work well.

Time Control Plans are a key part of practical map reading. They also provide a way
to monitor student progress and help them develop good planning habits. Map quizzes
are another effective way to check your students‘ progress. These can be TCP
exercises that require individual students to plan o route or they can be exercising
requiring students to draw their own map. Having students build terrain models out of
snow is a fun way both to practice map reading, and to get a good look at your route.

Learning from one‘s mistakes is an important part of map reading. After initial
coaching, constant instruction intervention can create false confidence or dependence
in our student map-readers. They often learn more after they have walked a couple of
unnecessary miles

Leadership Opportunities
Teaching map reading is a great time to coach your students, rather than simply
critiquing their skills. Coaching is valuable leadership technique that empowers
followers by helping them achieve success. Early in the course, you may just want to
model this behavior, later talk about what you are doing and help your students
develop their own coaching skills

NOLS Wilderness Educator Notebook pp3.3-3.5

Time Control Plans

Besides their planning and communication function, TCP‘s are valuable for enhancing
your students‘ map reading skills. A well–developed time control plan not only gets
the students to camp on time, but also provides them with a useful tool for executing
their own post-course adventures responsibly.

Educational Goals
A principal aim of this instruction is to use TCP‘s to promote student planning and
navigation skills and to develop confidence in their ability to travel on their own. All
students should leave their course understanding the importance of making accurate
time/distance calculations, and recognizing how this practice relates to efficient
wilderness travel.

Key points
Uses for time control plans:
 As a planning tool that allows you to calculate the energy and time required to
    travel and surmount obstacles along a chosen route.
 As a navigational learning tool.
 As a means to track overdue parties.

TCP Format
A written TCP should include:
 The names of the participants (duties and equipment)
   Travel plans
    -Origins, destinations, dates
    -Route descriptions (using named map features and cardinal directions)
   Time-distances calculations
   Contingency plans
    -Alternate campsites / rendezvous points
    -Anticipated obstacles / hazards
    -Causes for delay

Estimating Travel time
The final part of the TCP is a multistep calculation to determine the total time required
to travel a given route.
 Start by measuring the linear distance or the mileage measured on the map from
     point A to point B
 Next determine the adjusted distance. This equals the linear distance + elevation
     gain adjustment (see conversion table below).
     Travel Time (hours) equals the adjusted mileage (miles) divided by the rate of
     travel, measured in miles per hour.
 Total time of travel equals travel time + delays
 ETA = ETD + total time of travel.

Teaching Considerations
Students do not need to be expert map-readers prior to this class, but they should be
able to recognize obvious map symbols, count contour lines, and make distance
calculations using the map‘s scale. Having a long travel day under their belts can help
them realize the importance of having a travel plan.

TCP instruction should be geared towards successful navigation, rudimentary time /
energy management, and the development of an anticipatory mind set towards route-
finding hazards and obstacles.

Varied math backgrounds and visual learning habits of some students can influence
their ability to assimilate elaborate ETA calculations. Keep it simple. If in doubt try
your explanation on your coworkers the evening before. Involve the students in the
instruction by providing them with simple calculations that help you complete your
sample TCP.

Subsequent TCP assignments must be followed up and critiqued. Students tend to
devaluate the unity of these plans if they do not receive timely feedback. Plan enough
time so all the students can do one on their own. Consider having students navigate
solely by a well-written TCP. This exercise helps them focus on navigating with in
―the big picture‖ and sharpens their ability to judge distances and elevation changes
more accurately. The exercise works best when terrain features are easy to see.

Leadership Opportunities
TCP‘s are about planning, self-discipline, communication, and preparation. These
habits are much more important than any specific format. Early in the course, having
your students follow your format, later ask them to add anything they would include if
they were leaving the itinerary with friends.

NOLS Wilderness Educator Notebook P3.11-3.12
Kale, W.s. Land Navigation Handbook, Sierra Club. 1983 pp 47-52.

Compass Navigation
Although most navigation can be done with a map only, being able to use a compass is
useful when visibility is limited or terrain features subtle. Compass navigation skills
should be seen as a complement to sound map-reading skills. Students MUST master
map reading FIRST!

Educational Goals
Students should know how to orient their map using a compass, be able to take follow
a compass bearing, and understand how to triangulate their position.

General Concepts
A compass provides us with a consistent reference point and allows us to navigate
with out landmarks. The Compass points to the earth‘s magnetic force which emanates
from the magnetic north pole around Hudson Bay. These lines of force are caused by
the flow of the earth‘s molten metal core. True north is the top of the plane towards the
center of spin. Declination is the angular difference between true north and magnetic
north at your location.

Basic Compass Parts
Base plate: plastic base containing the direction-of-travel arrow.
Bezel or Housing: the movable plastic circle with both the degrees and a north
indicating arrow printed on it.
North seeking needle: This floats on a pivot inside the housing. The red end of this
needle points to magnetic north (―Santa is red and lives up north‖).

Boxing the Needle
Boxing the needle is the first step in compass navigation. To do this, hold the compass
flat in your hand at mid-chest level. Rotate the housing until the direction of travel
arrow lines up with north on the Bezel. Now rotate the compass by moving your palm
until the north-seeking arrow lines up with-or is ―boxed in‖ –the north-indicating
arrow printed on the housing. The needle is now boxed and pointing toward magnetic

Orienting the Map
A compass can be helpful in orientating a map when, due to low clouds, thick
vegetation, darkness, or featureless terrain, there are no real landmarks to use. The
technique for orienting your map using a compass follows these steps:
 Lay the map on a level surface.
 Locate the declination diagram in the lower left corner of the map.
 Lay the compass on top of the diagram and ―box the needle‖
 Without disturbing the compass, rotate the map until the MN vector (the line that
    points to magnetic north in the diagram) lines up along the edge of the compass
    (the edge parallel to the red needle). You have now aligned the magnetic north
    line on the map with the magnetic needle and your map is oriented to true north.

Taking and Following a Bearing
To take a bearing, orient your map and then draw a straight line from your present
location to your destination. Without disturbing the map, lay the compass edge along
the intended line of travel. Rotate the housing or bezel to box the needle. The direction
of travel arrow is now pointing in the direction you want to travel. The number on the
housing dial is your bearing.

Now keeping the needle boxed, lift the compass up to eye level. Sight along the
direction of travel arrow and pick out a landmark which lines up with it. To follow the
bearing, walk to your landmark and repeat the process of sighting along the direction
of travel arrow with needle boxed. Keep doing this until you reach your destination.
Fewer sightings result in fewer errors, so it helps to choose distant landmarks.
To take a field bearing with out the map, choose a landmark and point the direction of
travel arrow at it. Rotate the housing to box the needle and follow the bearing in the
manner described above.

Triangulation is used to determine one‘s position using two or more known points.
Again, you start by orienting your map. Then choose two known and visible
Take a bearing on one of the landmarks. Place the edge of the compass (keep the
needle boxed) on the map, so that it runs through the center of the landmark you just
sighted. Double check to see that the needle remains boxed and that the map‘s
orientation has not changed.
Draw a line along the edge of the compass through the landmark. Extend the line in
each direction. You are on that line somewhere. You can even draw this line without a
compass if you are careful. Now repeat this procedure on a second and for more
precision, a third, landmark. It is helpful to pick landmarks that are at least 60 degrees
apart in order to improve the accuracy of the triangulation.

The intersection of all three lines is your position. Given human error, however, all
three lines rarely intersect. Often they form a triangle, but your location should be
somewhere in that triangle. Notice that triangulation with a compass is just a more
refined way of orienting yourself using terrain association.

Triangulation is easier when you are traveling along a defined linear feature (ridge,
trail, drainage, or river). Once again start by orienting your map. Then trace a line
along the linear feature you are following. Take a bearing on a landmark and transfer
the line to the map. The intersection of the bearing line and your travel feature is your

Teaching Considerations
Introduce this instruction once the students are comfortable with their map reading
skills, but do not wait until it is too late in the course for them to practice with your
help. Compass use can be a distraction which impedes students‘ map-reading
development, and the topic can be confusing if the instructor is unable to teach
compass use in a simple manner. As with any topic, avoid teaching it if you have a
weak personal experience base.

The ―key points‖ mentioned above avoid adding and subtracting declination. This
method is suggested because it is simple and easy to teach. Defer questions about
declination calculations until after the class. These often confuse less experienced
students, disrupt the flow of instruction, and cloud a simple method with useless
complications. Unfortunately, most compass books are riddled with this unnecessary

Compass use should be taught in a step-by-step progression that builds upon previous
skills. For ease of understanding teach it in at least three to four installments. Here‘s a
sample progression 1) general concepts boxing the needle, orienting the map; 2)
Measure a bearing off the map and follow it; 3) Triangulating a position; 4)
triangulating with range lines.

Students either seem to understand compass navigation easily or they struggle with it.
Tailor your instruction to bring people along as they are ready. Organize a hiking
group with students ready for more instruction and make that a focus of the day‘s trail
education. Compass instruction is most effective in a setting that has clear, easy to
identify landmarks. A simple orienteering exercise can be a fun way for students to
practice their skills. Make sure the distance of the legs are long enough to require
accurate techniques. Instructor accuracy in setting the points is often the crux of a
successful orienteering game. In many cases this instruction is not vital for students to
complete independent travel, but it can be useful.

Leadership Opportunities
Some students come with a background in compass navigation and are comfortable
with their use. Let these students help their less-experienced colleagues learn the skill.
The trick is to get them practicing appropriate leadership. They should understand that
their goal is to help the others, not to tell people everything they know about

Kals W.S. Land Navigation Handbook, 1983, pp.81-148, 202-222
The NOLS Wilderness Guide

River Crossing and River Features
Mountain travel requires the ability to judge moving water hazards and execute safe
river crossings. Water travel may require river reading for linings and portages.

Educational Goals
Students need the judgment and skills necessary to cross moving water without
supervision. They should be able to recognize and asses river hazards; they should
know when dry crossings are appropriate and when it is better to wade; and they
should be able and willing to decide not to cross a river if conditions are too difficult.

Key Points
River Features
Study the river. Current-or the speed of the river- is determined by volume, depth,
width and gradient. As a river widens, the current lessens. As the river gradient
lessens, the current eases off. Narrow channels can have faster water.

An eddy is a slow spot in the current formed behind obstructions. It is sometimes
possible to eddy hope-or move from one eddy to another- to avoid having to tackle the
main current for extended periods of time.

The deeper the water, the slower the current must be to wade. Visibility can help you
determine how deep a crossing will be. In general, visibility declines with depth. If
you cannot see the bottom chances are the river is too deep to wade. Surface texture
also provides a clue to water depth. Deep water is glassy and masks the river bottom.
Foaming rapids occur where the water is shallow, the gradient steep, or there are
boulders and other obstacles along the river bottom In glacial streams or silty rivers,
visibility is not as good assessment method. Throwing rocks and listening for contact
with the bottom may help you gauge depth.

To gauge water speed, throw a stick into the main current and walk next to it on the
bank. In thigh-deep water, most people cannot cross if the current is moving faster
than they can walk. Because a backpack increases your surface area and catches more
of the current power, wearing a pack will further inhibit your ability to cross deep
moving water.

In mountain regions the warm temperatures of spring and early summer may raise the
river to flood levels and increase the chance of logs and debris washing downstream.
The likelihood of coming upon strainers – or trees and logs lying partially on the bank
and partially in water – also increases in flood stage. Strainers trap objects which wash
down with the current. A person who gets caught in a strainer can be pulled under and
pinned against the branches which extend down into the water.

Water levels rise as the day gets warmer and snow melts, and then drop back to their
diurnal low between sundown and sunrise when melting slows. You can expect a
mountain river fed by snowmelt to come up quickly when the weather gets warmer.
Temperature increases also weaken snow bridges across rivers.

The river bottom plays an important part in where to cross. The chance of getting a
foot trapped or having a wader trip increases with the size of the rocks on the bottom.
Sand often covers rocks and logs in slow moving water and makes crossing easier.

Water plunging down a steep gradient is likely to be fast and tumble rocks along the
bottom. Listen for these potential ankle breakers washing down before stepping in to

For entrances and exits, look for river banks without undercuts, overhanging
vegetation, or steep slopes. Consider what would happen if you fell and got swept
downstream. Bad washout zones include waterfalls, strainers, rapids, and low-hung
snow bridges.

Take time to find a good place to cross. Scouting is best done with your pack off.
Examine the map to see how large or steep an area the river is draining. A river
draining a south facing alpine basin or glacier may have more flow than a shaded
north-facing one. Maps can also give you clues about gradient, river width, tributary
locations, and wooded areas. Use high ground to survey large sections of the river.

You may need to scout a long way up or downstream in search of a shallow, wide
place where the current is manageable. Consider crossing the river‘s tributaries or
feeder streams where the water volume will be less.

Crossing Methods
River crossings can be divided into two basic types dry and wet. Dry crossings include
logs, rocks, log jams, and other natural bridges. Wet crossings mean wading.Your
students need to understand the consequences of a slip before crossing. Ask them what
would happen if they fell? Will it result in a wet foot? Lost equipment? A broken
bone? Drowning?

Less able group members may need help with their loads. Consider using the stronger
and longer-legged people to shuttle packs across. Ultimately, however, everyone needs
to feel comfortable about the site before you commit your entire group to the crossing.

Dry Crossings
Crossing on logs, rocks, or using the high step technique preserves dry feet, but often
requires balance, agility, and luck. Failure to execute these maneuvers properly is
more likely to cause injuries than a carefully thought-out and well executed wade.

Fallen trees and log jams can be used as bridge. Choose logs that are stable, broad and
dry. Avoid crossing on thin, slippery or inclined trees. Consider setting up a hand line
to aid balance. Place the line at shoulder height and off to the side so that it does not
interfere with packs or walking. Examine the consequences of falling off the log on
the upstream side. The log may be a strainer.

Log jams are tempting foot bridges, but unless they consist of large, well-anchored
trees that span the entire river, view them with suspicion. The entire pile may be held
in place by one or two key logs that may shift or release if someone walks on it. This
can be especially dangerous when they are in the main current. If the jam shifts or
moves, find another place to cross. A hiker who falls through these floaters can be
pinned by the current.

Crossing on rocks is another option. But before you start jumping from rock to rock,
rehearse your sequence of hops and steps in your mind. Try to connect dry, flat and
closely spaced rocks. Have your students imagine the rocks are coated with ice, so
they place their foot on them delicately. Smooth, continual movement facilitates

If you fall when rock hopping you can bash yourself on rocks or even drown. Knee
injuries may occur when the leading foot slips and the momentum of the leap
continues to carry your knee forward onto the rock. Use a stick or a long fly rod case
to provide balance while stepping from one rock to the next. This often reduces the
need to leap, allowing more secure and balanced movements. And remember, we do
not encourage boulder hopping with heavy packs on dry land, therefore, we should not
promote leaps onto the slippery and rounded surfaces found on river rocks.

Wet Crossing
Prepare for the crossing. Practice and familiarity with challenging wading conditions
is important. Get your students out in a river with out their packs, trying different
methods so they recognize the strengths and limitations of each crossing method
before they have to use them. Have them try using a stout stick or the arm of another
group member for added balance. Get them to feel the force of moving water so they
respect its power and understand what method of support (stick, hand holding,
grasping packs, etc.) is most comfortable.

Consider practicing your crossing positions on dry land or in shallow, slow water.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and avoid crossing them when you walk. Use
your foot to feel for solid footing before weighting it and commit carefully to each

Redistribute loads to avoid top heaviness. Face upstream so the current won‘t buckle
your knees. Avoid starting at the river; moving water can mesmerize you and interfere
with your balance. Choose a line that angles downstream if you want to fight the
current less.

Wade in boots to provide adequate ankle support. Remove your socks, insoles and
gaiters then lace the boots up tightly for support and security. If you are wearing
plastic boots and plan to wade in just the shells, you‘ll need to keep your gaiters on.
Gaiters help prevent the boot shells from washing off your feet. Sometimes it is
helpful to wear socks to pad your feet and make the boots fit more securely.

For deep crossings, consider removing wind pants and long underwear so there is less
drag against your legs. Clothing can balloon up with water, which may make it
difficult to move. Make sure all loose items are secured inside your pack. Keep your
hands free and avoid dangling things around your neck. Loose items will be the first
things to disappear if you fall in. Have the largest, most experienced person or team
test the current prior to committing the entire group. Test it without packs on. If the
test group encounters trouble, consider wading elsewhere.

Consider the possibility of hypothermia from any combination of factors such as a
long crossing in cold water, someone falling in, multiple crossings to shuttle packs or
help less capable students and adverse weather conditions. Cross with wool hats, extra
upper body layers and long underwear (understanding the concerns listed above0. If
possible have stoves on either side of the river.

Be prepared if someone should fall. Post spotters down stream to help anyone who
falls and is carried by the current. Spotters should stand along the river‘s edge near
eddies where swimmers are likely to be carried. They should be prepared with long
sticks or other items to use to help someone out of the water if necessary.

Be aware of any downstream hazards such as rapids, waterfalls or strainers. Anticipate
needing to remove your backpack while floating downstream in cold water.
Unfastening hip belts and sternum straps before attempting the crossing should make
this easier, though not always. There are situations where leaving hip belts fastened
may be acceptable. These decisions require experience and judgement and you should
expect that most novice students do not have enough experience to make such a call.
Have students cross with hip belts unfastened until they demonstrate competency
crossing rivers. Judgment parameters can then be introduced if appropriate.

Balance is the main factor in deciding whether or not to have hip belts fastened. When
performing dry crossings, balance and pack stability are integral to success.
Redistributing weight in the pack to avoid top heaviness and / or keeping the hip belt
fastened may be useful. But if in a fall in this situation would result in being swept
away or landing in deep water, unfasten the hip belt. In a wet crossing, if you need to
face upstream for balance, or if the water is at or above your knees, unfasten hip belts.

How Deep Can You Wade Safely
- Ankle to mid-calf depths usually can be waded singly with a stick or with one other
person for support.
- Mid-calf to mid-thigh depths should be waded with two others for support. Crossings
become noticeably harder in water above the knees.
- Mid-thigh to waist-deep wadding becomes even more difficult because any current
tends to buoy up the waders, especially if the current hits the backpacks. Seriously
consider finding a better place to wade.
- Avoid moving water above waist deep. Find a shallower crossing, build or locate a
dry crossing, or better yet, change your route.

Wading Techniques
There are numerous methods and variations of methods for wading rivers. The
following techniques and concept are generally accepted. Other methods may be
appropriate given specific local factors.

When crossing on your own, face the current and use a stick as the third point of a

        Move perpendicularly or diagonally across the current.
        Move one point at a time.
        Use the stick to probe for holes.
        Shuffle across in small steps. Keep the stick in front of you.
        Keep moving. Hanging out in the hard parts wastes energy and increases

Crossing in a team tends to be more stable than crossing alone. There are several
methods to use. Experiment to determine the conditions suitable for each technique.

One team method uses two to five people to cross the river in a line parallel to the
  1. Face the current. The first person wades with a stick. The others line up behind
      her and grasp the person or her pack in front of them securely.
  2. The first person breaks the current and creates an eddy in which the second and
      third stand. Those in back help support the first person so the current does not
      push her over.
  3. The group moves in small steps together. They work as a tight unit until out of
      the river.

The group pole method uses a long pole to provide stability.
    1. Three to ten people hold a long strong pole in front of them.
    2. Grip the pole firmly for more stability.
    3. Use bigger teams for more support.
    4. Face upstream and move as a team across the current.
    5. Get the entire group on land before you release the pole.

Teaching Considerations
River crossings are one of the most hazardous activities in wilderness. It can be hard to
instill respect for the forces involved when a person has not felt the impact of water
pushing against his legs while wearing a heavy pack. Make sure you know everyone‘s
swimming ability before teaching river crossings

Even though this subject is strongly governed by common sense, do not assume your
students automatically understand the seriousness of moving water. Start talking about
river crossings as soon as you encounter a fordable stream. Get them used to having
wet boots.

Teach river scouting and crossing organization at the same time. Give your students
the criteria for choosing a crossing, send them off to find an appropriate spot, and
finish by discussing the merits of their recommendations. This is an appropriate time
for the instructors to share their judgement with the group. Make it clear why a
particular crossing and method are used or not used.

Model safe crossing techniques, especially for rocks and log crossings, and remember
what may be easy for you is often difficult for novices. Let students know that the
whole group must be comfortable with a crossing. Strict time schedules may lead
students to rush, pressure them into a bad crossing, or prevent them from doing
adequate scouting. Communicate expectations which promote wise student decisions-
decisions that include choosing not to cross.

In a low water year or late in the season, courses may not get a chance to wade rivers
that are exciting and educational. Instructors have been able to teach crossing
techniques and water safety by practicing wading at the outlets and inlets of the lakes.
Consider practicing wades without packs if you believe the group needs more

Leadership Opportunities
River crossings demand good team work and organization. Find a practice site that is
appropriate for solo crossings, as well as one that will challenge people and force them
to work together.

Bechtel, Les and Slim Ray, River Rescue, pp 55-60
NOLS Wilderness Educator Notebook pp3.17-3.19

This content is usually not required on any courses but can be useful to present to
students to aid in their own self-care and to give them useful skills to be more self-
sufficient and aware in the backcountry.

Topics in this section include:

    1.   Accident Prevention and Awareness
    2.   Soft Tissue Injuries
    3.   Cold Injuries (Hypothermia)
    4.   Heat Injuries (Heat Stroke, Dehydration)
    5.   Athletic Injuries (Sprains and Strains)
    6.   Altitude Illnesses

Accident Prevention and Hazard Awareness

Educational Goals
Students should be introduced to the basic ideas of how accidents happen and what
you can do to prevent or minimize them. This will be crucial on longer courses where
students may travel independently from time to time and also helps everyone in the
group keep a strong eye on safety and hazard awareness.

Key Points
How do you define an accident? How about an adventure? What is the difference?

How do you define a ―near miss‖?

Why is it important to study accidents?

Why is it important in the outdoors?

Accidents in the frontcountry vs accidents in the backcountry…
        Higher consequence and higher risk exposure
        We are all responsible for each other and our actions have consequences
        outside of just ourselves

How do we learn to recognize and avoid hazardous situations?

Dynamics of Accidents Matrix:

Unsafe Conditions + Unsafe Acts + Errors in Judgment

Unsafe Conditions:
Time of Day
Swift/Cold Water
Equipment/Clothing (improper)
Physical or Psychological Profile of individual or group

Unsafe Acts:
Improper Instruction
Improper or No Supervision
Unsafe Speed (e.g. ―smelling the barn‖ or ―get home-itis‖)
Position (e.g. too close to a downstream strainer)
Improper Procedure

Errors in Judgment:
Attempting to please others
Misperception of risk/hazard
Disregarding Instincts

These three elements often overlap to create your ACCIDENT POTENTIAL. The
more overlap you have in these three zones, the more likely you will have some kind
of an accident. For example, if you are rushing through a portage because its getting
late and you want to get to camp you may also be fatigued, dehydrated, and making
poor decisions. In this scenario, the unsafe condition is ―Time of Day‖ because its late
and people are often more tired late in the day. The unsafe act would be ―Unsafe
Speed‖ and possibly ―Improper Procedure‖ if students are rushing through the portage
without spotters. Finally, the ―Errors in Judgment‖ are likely ―Fatigue‖ and
―Misperception of Risk/Hazard‖ as getting into camp after dark may be less risky than
rushing the portage.

See lesson below on judgment and decision making for more information on this
important area.

Leadership Opportunities
This is an excellent lesson to get students more bought into maintaining safe
expedition behavior while on course and can limit the amount of rule making and
enforcement that you have to do which can sometimes create animosity with the group
with your students feeling like you are ―parenting‖ them. Getting them to invest in
safety and to be aware of how accidents happen can help everyone look out for each

Jed Williamson, The Accident Matrix in ―The Rules of Adventure‖, National
Geographic Explorer Jan/Feb 2000.

Rick Curtis ―Outdoor Safety Management‖ on

Soft Tissue Injuries

Educational Goals
Students should be able to describe the basic anatomy and function of the skin. They
should recognize the various wound types and be able to describe the specific
problems and treatment techniques associated with each. They must be able to control
bleeding through pressure, elevation, and pressure points. They should be capable of
explaining the importance of and techniques for wound care in the wilderness.
Students should recognize and be able to treat infection and burns.

Discuss the common causes of soft tissue injuries around camp with your students.
Demonstrate how to take precautions against blood-borne disease like HIV.

Key Points
  How does the skin function and what is its anatomy?
  How do you control bleeding (with disease precautions)?
  What are open soft tissue injuries?
  What are closed soft tissue injuries?
  How do you clean and dress a wound?
  What are the signs of infection?
  What type of burns are there and how do you treat them?

Teaching Considerations
Early in the course, encourage the prevention and prompt treatment of common camp
injuries such as cooking burns, cut and cracked fingers, localized infections, bruises,
and abrasions. It is especially important that students know how to control severe
bleeding. Separate instruction can be devoted to infection and burns. Model infectious
disease precautions by using gloves and have students treat their own minor wounds.

Cold Injuries

Educational Goals
Students need to learn how the body regulates temperature in a cold environment.
They should be able to describe the causes, signs, and symptoms, assessment, and
treatment of the following cold injuries: hypothermia, frostbite, and immersion foot.

Key Points:
    What are the mechanisms of heat production and loss?
    What are the signs and symptoms of hypothermia?
    How do you treat mild and severe hypothermia?
    What are the best ways to rewarm patients in the backcountry?
    What causes frostbite and immersion foot?
    How do you treat frostbite?
    How do you treat immersion foot?

Teaching Considerations
Instruction should emphasize awareness and prevention of these problems. Properly
equipped and educated individuals should be able to avoid cold injuries in the field.
They need to be familiar with how to dress for inclement weather and how to dry
clothes when they become wet.

During periods of bad weather, instructors must model how to stay warm and dry
effectively. In experienced students often need close monitoring when conditions
deteriorate. Foot inspections and dry sock inventories should be conducted regularly
with those students exhibiting lax personal care. Storing wet clothes in packs should
not be tolerated.

Heat Injury/Dehydration

Educational Goals
Students should have the ability to describe the physiology of temperature regulation
in a hot environment. They need to know the cause, the signs and symptoms, and the
treatment for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Students must understand
the importance of hydration and recognize the signs of hydration. They should know
how to prevent snow blindness and sunburn.

Key Points
  What is proper hydration?
  What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
  How can you avoid sun-related illness?
   How should you assess heat exhaustion and heat stroke?
   What is the treatment of heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Teaching Considerations
Good hydration habits begin in town on issue day. Proper dressing techniques should
be discussed as soon as the group starts hiking. Teaching students to stay cool is as
important as showing them how to stay warm, especially midsummer in the Uintas.
Sunburn and snow blindness are avoidable with adequate instruction and student

Altitude Illness

Educational Goals
Students should understand how altitude affects humans. They should be able to
describe the basic physiology of acclimatization and list techniques which aid in the
process. They should recognize the signs and symptoms of altitude illness and know
how to treat acute mountain sickness, high altitude pulmonary edema, and high
altitude cerebral edema.

Key Points
  How do you acclimatize to altitude?
  What are some ways to aid acclimatization?
  What factors affect the severity of altitude illness?
  What are the signs and symptoms of AMS, HAPE, HACE?
  How do you treat AMS, HAPE, HACE?

Teaching Considerations
Often this instruction occurs as a technical lecture. Spice the class up with some
stories. Point out cases and examples of acclimatization problems that have occurred
on courses in the Uintas. Keep in mind that the students need a practical understanding
of this topic, more than a clinical or pharmacological one. The subtle relation between
AMS, nutrition, hydration, and staying warm should be well understood before small

Athletic Injury

Educational Goals
Students should understand mechanisms of injury and preventative techniques for
athletic injuries in the wilderness. They should recognize factors contributing to
injuries, such as fatigue, hydration, nutrition, stretching, and proper walking technique.
They should be able to distinguish between sprains and strains, and understand RICE.
Key Points
  How do you prevent athletic injuries on courses?
  What are the signs and symptoms of athletic injuries?
  How do you treat athletic injuries?

Teaching Considerations
Many of these problems occur when students use improper walking and boot lacing
techniques. Instructors need to ensure that students understand both how to walk with
a pack, and how to lace their boots during the first week of hiking.
This section includes skills that are important for any developing outdoor educator
including communication skills, decision-making skills, and group development

Decision-Making Skills
It is important for students to be able to understand that decision making lies long a
continuum and is not simply something that we do regardless of context. This is
especially important at a place like Earlham which values consensus yet does not
decide everything by this community decision making standard (despite assumptions
that we do). Helping students understand situation decision making will benefit them
not just when the are leader-of-the-day or are trying to decide whether to push on or
camp for the night. It will help them as they grow and develop as students and leaders
at Earlham as well.

Educational Goals
This talk should be introduced in the Main section of a course and typically afer
students have some experience with decision making so that they can relate examples
from backcountry contexts. By the end of the lesson, students should understand the
different decision making styles and what contexts they generally are employed in as
well as have had a general discussion about how decision are made within the group
on the trip thus far.

Key Points
Use the adjacent grid outline with students to illustrate how decision making is
situational and depends on the scenario you find yourself in. This is usually a good
talk after the first few leader of the day opportunities when students may be feeling a
little frustrated about how decisions are being made in the group.

Teach students about the leader almost decides and then consults- it is a very useful
frame for LOD decisions

Place consensus in context- give students an understanding of its function in decision
making (pros and cons) and why it is used at EC. Get students to give examples of
decisions that could be made in each category.

See excerpt from Margaret Lechner‘s article on ―The Process of Consensus‖ at the
beginning of this section for more information.


           GROUP                                                Consensus


                                          Leader consults, then decides

                         Leader almost decides, then consults


                             GROUP INVOLVEMENT

Communication Skills

Educational Goals
Communication in the outdoors can be both challenging and extremely important.
Some times, when there are a lot of miscommunications, emotions involved in a
situation, or the communication is important, it may help to have set steps to follow or
to know some general concepts about communication in order to insure that your
communications are effective and clearly heard. By the end of this lesson you and
your participants should be able to:

        communicate clearly and give and receive feedback to ensure that both the
         speaker and the listener received the same communication.
        be specific in your communications and feedback.
        use positive mental imaging, specificity, and appropriate orientation
        have a frame work for communicating complaints and one for apologizing to
         use when emotions make it hard to communicate clearly.
        be an active listener

Key Points

Ask For Feedback
Be sure to ask permission before giving feedback. Model openness by asking for
feedback yourself. When receiving feedback, listen with an open body posture and
withhold any responses until the person giving the feedback in finished. The best
response after receiving feedback is a simple ―thank you.‖ If you need further
clarification, ask for it. But try to avoid responding to the feedback with justifications,
or by laying blame.

Principles of Communication
There are three elements of effective communication: specificity, positive mental
imaging, and appropriate orientation.

Use an ―economy of language.‖ That is, the less you say, the more your participant
will listen to and retain, so eliminate extra noise from the situation by:

        Choosing the phrase and words carefully
        Ask for what you want and be direct
        Avoiding the use of meaningless intro sentences (e.g. ―I may be the only one
         who thinks this but…‖)
        Avoiding the use of words that can have multiple or loaded definitions (e.g.
         ―I think you are being passive-aggressive‖).

Positive Mental Imaging:
Ask for what you want and steer people toward a positive vision by:
        Stating directions in the positive to avoid miscommunication (e.g. ―please
         stay river right of that eddy‖ vs ―don‘t go river left where that killer eddy
         is!‖). People tend to ―not‖ hear the negative, as in, ―don‘t spill the milk.‖
         What most people here and imagine is… spilled milk.
        Ask your group to avoid ―zingers‖ which are put-downs and gratuitous
         swearing. This is sometimes referred to as ―speaking with good purpose‖ and
         can be an important frame to help participants point to positive
         communication in the group.

Appropriate Orientation:
Make sure you are ―orienting‖ your words correctly to the receiever by:
    Avoiding slang or technical terms that the receiver of the communication
        may not be familiar with (e.g. ―make sure you have your froo cleared from
        the van‖).
    Avoid speaking for other people by instead using ―I‖ statements (e.g. ―you
        know, we really need to do a better job cleaning up after dinner‖ vs. ―I have
        observed that dishes are not getting done after dinner and it makes me
        frustrated because I think camp should be cleaner‖).
    At the same time avoid using ―I‖ statements that exclude the rest of the group
        when you are in a leadership position (e.g. ―Let‘s explore this together‖ vs. ―I
        have a lecture to give to you…‖).
    Begin communication by making eye contact, physical contact, or verbally
        saying the persons name.

Being a good receiver of communication
Take time to process and consider the information, considering the context on which it
was given. Be aware of your own personal biases. Wait until after the speaker has
finished speaking to begin formulating a response. Empathetic listening occurs when a
person sees him or herself as an active communication receiver whose primary interest
is to become fully aware of what the speaker is trying to communicate.

Teaching Considerations
Because open communication is vital to the success of every stage a wilderness
experience, it should be discussed/taught near the beginning of the trip. Because it is
easy to assume that one knows how to communicate simply because it is something
everyone does on a daily basis, it is important to give examples and tell stories about
how detrimental poor communication can be. An important part of teaching good
communication skills is by setting an example and giving clear, specific
communications and feedback and being an active listener yourself. Make an effort
everyday to communicate effectively and compassionately turning opponents into
―learning and problem solving partners‖.

Cathcart, Robert S. Small Group Communication: A Reader, 1970
Priest, Simon. Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming, 1997

Group Development
Educational Goals
Group dynamics vary from trip to trip but regardless of the nature of a trip, be it short
or long, for education purposes or just for fun, those dynamics can help or hinder the
experience of all involved. As a leader it is important to have an understanding of how
group development works in order to help along any developmental glitches that could
occur. If a leader can consistently recognize what stage of development a group is in
they will be less likely to worry about the chaos of group storming. The leader is also
more capable of inspiring confidence in the group that they will make it through these
stages and end up functioning well together in the performing stage. The greater the
understanding of group development a leader has, the easier it will be for them to
notice immediately what factors will affect the development of any group.

Key Points
This is the meeting and greeting portion of the trip. The feelings of individual
members of the group can vary greatly from excited anticipation to a nervous
insecurity. If the group is asked to solve a problem at this stage they will accept the
task and work at it, but they will not work well together. Conversation at this point
tends to be superficial as members of the group are generally reluctant to share
personal information.

The leader‘s role here is basically dictatorial as the group needs lots of direction to
encourage their formation. Ice breakers are a great way to provide a fun activity that
will involve everyone and ease tense situations.

There is an increased focus on the ―group‖ at this stage. Individuals are continuing to
get to know one another and as this happens, the group witnesses the forthcoming of
the ―real person‖. Everyone is trying to figure out the rules and regulations of the
group and hence some conflicts can arise. Roles are being questioned and everyone is
sorting their position in the group.

As the group continues to develop, the leader can take a step back and move into a
more democratic stance. The leader needs to recognize that problem arising during this
stage are normal and should not be avoided. Create and open environment among the
group members so that all can participate.

At this point most conflicts have been resolved and individuals have a good
understanding of their role within the group. This allows for more cooperation and a
sense of order not found in previous stages. The relationships being developed at this
point will be much more intimate and based on a real understanding of who the person

The leader should allow the group to continue their development with minimal
direction. Leaders should encourage productive norms and group standards.

At this stage the individuals within the group are confident in their roles, the
expectations of them and their own knowledge they have made connections around
common interest and these connections are positive and affirming. Those who often
hid in the back ground will now begin to open up.

The leader should be less directive as the group is more capable of organizing
themselves and self-guiding. The leader should encourage the group to interact on
their desires for independence to the extent that they take a more active role in the

This stage is the often reminiscent of the forming stage. At this point, the trip is
nearing and end and soon the group will be dissolving. This causes mixed feelings
within a group that dissipates the confidence they were previously experiencing

The leader should continue to encourage productivity while allowing for a conclusion
to the trip. It is important to provide a definite closure to the trip, allowing the group to
celebrate what they have done and accomplished together and to gain confidence that
this is not necessarily the end but the beginning for they will be able to bring with
them lessons that they have learned and stories and experiences that they have gained.

Teaching Considerations
While it is very important for a leader to understand how a group is working together,
it is less important for the group to know how they‘re developing as they do so. Group
development could be a better lesson to teach later on the trip once the group is
working well through their development. At this point, the groups own development
can be used as an excellent example in the teaching and the group can gain a self
awareness and understanding of what they went through.

This section includes a variety of frames, activities, and events that can assist
instructors in bringing more meaning to courses through active group facilitation.
These include metaphoric tools which allow instructors to frame experiences either
before or after activities and exercises, and initiatives which can bring novel group
interaction into any experiential or outdoor course. Below are a variety of initiatives
and exercises that can be done without too many props or requiring the use of a ropes
course. These are great for increasing relationship building on courses as well as to
help the group function better as a team (they call it team-building for a reason!).

They are broken down below into:

    1.   Icebreakers (to get a group warmed up)
    2.   New Games (to have fun and play)
    3.   Trust Activities (to get a group to begin building trust)
    4.   Simple/Mobile Initiatives (for teambuilding)
    5.   Metaphoric Processes and Tools (to bring more meaning to your courses)

Ice Breakers


* Build up safety and create an atmosphere of inclusivity

* Create a sense of cohesion and commraderie

* Establish group norms and attitudes

* Set tone of safety, fun, and support

Some activities that help make this happen:

* All My Neighbors

This activity is great anytime but can be a great early ice-breaker. Group stands in a
circle and person in middle states something that is TRUE FOR THEM. Such as "all
my neighbors who have a pet cat". If it is true for anyone in the group, you have to
switch places- basically musical chairs. The one left standing is now in the center and
starts the process over. IMPORTANT: if you do this early, set the expectation that the
game is kept "G-rated". That will avoid uncomfortable shares. If they choose to play it
later after safety has been established, the game can be quite fun as "PG-13".

* 3-Min Autobiographies

This activity is best done several days into the course after some basic relationship and
safety have been established. Have group in circle and set a heavier tone (best done
around a campfire at night if possible). Explain that this will be an opportunity for us
to continue to get to know each other better as we continue our journey. Each person
will have three minutes from which they are invited to speak about and answer the
following: "here is something that you should know about me to help to understand
me better." Explain that each person gets the full three minutes- no more and no less.
If the person stops talking, we will hold the silence until the three minutes are up (this
minimizes people saying a few words and stopping there). It is CRITICAL that you
space the instructors at the beginning, middle, and end of the "go around." That way,
the 1st instructor can start to set the appropriate tone. The middle instructor can either
"lift up" the tone if it is getting too serious or "drop it down" if it is too light. The third
instructor bats clean-up in the same way. This activity, done right, is a real relationship
accelerator for the group.

* Snowflake Process

This activity involves a paired-share rotation around several questions. Have people
partner up and then ask a question like "what is one of your favorite places?". Answer
FIRST as the instructor to model an appropriate answer (it helps to be a little
vulnerable to help students open up) then have pairs answer with each other. Have
them switch partners when completed and ask a new question like "who is an
inspirational person in your life?" Same thing- you model first then have them answer
in pairs. Switch partners again and ask a question like "what was a moment of courage
for you?" Notice that the questions get progressively more "risky." Finally, have them
switch once more. Ask them to consider the following: "if your life was a highlight
film, what would be on it?" When done in pairs, bring whole group together and have
partner introduce his/her partner by summarizing their life story to group (it helps if
you suggest that they may want to pay attention to what their partner is saying because
they may have to repeat it!). If there ever was a "guaranteed winner" ice-breaker, this
one is it.

“New Games”
These events are called "new games" as they were developed in the seventies as part
of the cooperative learning movement. These activities have no declared ―winners and
losers‖ and thus are perfect as a way to get a group to warm-up to each other, have
fun, and act silly. It permits the members of the group to open up to each other, thus
providing the foundation for cooperative interaction and trust that is needed
throughout a course. These events provide the framework necessary for proper safety
orientation and understanding the need for adhering to established safety guidelines.
Whatever game you choose here should have an inclusive, "everybody wins" objective
to it. The more physical activity that is incorporated the better, as it allows participants
to warm up.

Key Facilitation Points: warm-up, inclusion, comfort zone, safety, fun

Group Size: May be done with 10-50+ participants

Where: A grassy or wood chipped area works best for safety and aesthetics

Safety Concerns: Participants are reminded not to run and to be aware of uneven
ground and conditions due to weather. Participants are reminded to keep tags
appropriate (G-rated)

Giants Wizards Elves
Objective: This activity has three characters: giants, wizards and elves. There are three
teams that line up to form a triangle. Each team must huddle up and decide which of
the three characters they are going to portray and then come back to the triangle
formation with the two other teams. On the go signal the three teams portray their
character. The objective of the game is to have all three teams match characters. This
can also be played as a "rock paper scissors" type of tag game, or with a small group it
can be played in pairs.

Everybody's It! Tag
Objective: This is a tag game where everyone is "it." This game (as with all tag
games) is done within a set of boundaries and at the go signal, each participant
attempts to tag someone else. You can tag as many people as you want however, once
you have been tagged three times you are out and must assume the "freeze" pose by
standing still and putting a hand on top of your head.

Spot Tag
Objective: Same rules as above except tagged person must hold the spot where he/she
was tagged (with one hand). When tagged a second time, the tagged person must hold
the second spot thus using both hands. They can now only tag with their hips,
shoulders, feet, etc. Once they have received three tags they are out and must assume
the "freeze pose."

Apples and Oranges
Objective: Ask the group to pair up and between the two choose an apple and orange.
Once decided, the partners get as far away from each other as possible while still
staying in the boundaries. The facilitator will either call apples to chase oranges or
oranges to chase apples to start the game. A normal tag game ensues. Once tagged
however, the roles reverse. The game continues to play until the facilitator stops it.
Note: the smaller the boundaries, the more action!

Blob Tag
Objective: This game is a continuation on Apples and Oranges. Ask the group to pair
up with their Apple/Orange partner and lock elbows. Then have them find another pair
(if odd person, link them up with a pair). Have each pair chose an elephant and a
zebra. The facilitator then will either call zebra's to chase elephants or visa versa.
Upon tagging the roles are reversed. Game goes on until facilitator stops. Now ask the
two pairs to find two more pairs (groups of 8). Have them choose elephants and
zebra's and start the game again. This continues on until you have one large group
chasing another large group!

Elbow Tag
Objective: Same set-up as blob tag except two people do not link elbows. One is "it"
and the other tries to get away. If the partner who is trying to avoid being tagged links
up with an "elbowed" pair he/she is safe. But the person on the far end of that elbowed
pair must now avoid the tagger. If at any time the "tagger" gets the person he/she is
chasing, the person must turn a circle and then try to tag them (just like
apples/oranges). This can be done with multiple pairs chasing and avoiding. Everyone
else stays in the same place as "safe spots."

Quad Tag
Objective: Group parts. in teams of 4. Three make a triangle while holding hands with
one person on outside. Group of three chooses one member to be the "mouse" with the
person on the outside being the "cat." The cat chases around the threesome trying to
tag the mouse while the group of three moves in a circular fashion to protect the

Objective: This game is great for large groups. Have everyone get close as you explain
that they are all about to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets. When the facilitator says
"toothpaste" everyone will simultaneously shout the name of their favorite toothpaste
and get with others who have the same brand. When all are done finding their groups
the facilitator goes around and recognizes each group ("and who do we have here?"
CREST!). This can be repeated any number of times with favorite car, and other
themes. You can also limit the groups by giving them set choices (i.e. favorite dessert:
ice cream, cake, or fresh fruit). To work effectively this game must be high energy and
very playful.

Objective: A hilarious rendition of Rock, Paper, Scissors, this activity involves
attempting to ―evolve‖ from an egg to a human. Everyone begins as an egg (in
crouched pose) and play rock paper scissors with neighbor. If you win, you ―evolve‖
up to a chicken (with requisite chicken pose), if you lose you stay an egg. From a
chicken you move to a monkey and then, finally, a human. You must do rock, paper,
scissors, with a someone at the same stage of evolution. If you win you go up, if you
lose, you go down.

Finger Jousting
Objective: In pairs facing one another with hands behind back. Each pair on count of
three throws out any number of fingers. First person to add up BOTH sets of hands
and say number out loud ―wins.‖ Repeat. Drip Dry.

Objective: The ultimate warm-up. Introduce 3-4 different handshakes to group (in
circle). Ice-fishing (flapping forearms), Gunslinger (high ten, slap hips and draw),
LumberJack (thumbs up, grab thumbs, and saw), Dairy shake (fingers clasped upside
down and ―milk‖ thumbs), and 30 second intro (standard handshake with life story
told at same time in 30 seconds). After demo of one, have parts. find a partner across
circle and do handshake and find another spot to stand in circle. Repeat with new
handshake and different partner. At end challenge them to remember all different ones
in same order as afst as possible. Finishing with 30 sec. intro is nice.

Transformer Tag (heads or tails tag)
Objective: Demo to parts. 2 body positions (suitable for fast walking). The historical
choices have been: one hand on top of head, one hand attached to gluteus (right or left
behind). After a moment to determine their game identity, indicate the start o of the
game. Players than immediately declare their identity by adopting one of the body
positions. The action involves one team--the heads for instance--trying to tag the other
team and transform them into heads. Once transformed, the person continues to tag
anyone of the opposing team. The action continues until one team successfully
dominates the world.

Trust Progression
The Trust Progression is a staple of experiential education programs. It establishes an
atmosphere of positively, focus, and mutual reliance and support. There are a number
of different options within the progression, but remember to see it as a
PROGRESSION. That is, a series of activities that gradually build trustfulness and
trustworthiness. Also recognize the limitations of your group and what might be an
appropriate level of challenge

Educational Goals:
This is a gradual progression of physically-oriented trust activities culminating in
either the body lift, willows, or trust fall. Key Facilitation Points: relationship building,
positive communication, trust worthiness and trustfulness, communication, support,
teamwork, surrender, asking for help, and safety.

Objective: Have parts. partner up with someone about the same height and face off.
They will apply pressure on each other by leaning in towards each other with arms
outstretched and hands clasped. When they are comfortable with that they can take
steps backward. Variation: have partners lean-in and touch elbows, thus requiring a
committed forward lean. Precursor to the Low V‘s Initiative.

Lean Back
Objective: In this activity the facilitator must introduce the spotters stance before
doing the event. It requires a series of commands to be communicated between the
spotter and the leaner. Depending on the level of the group, you may want to start with
hands on back, then move to hands off. Leaners hands should be crossed in front of
chest. The commands are: Spotter Ready? Spotter Ready! Jane Leaning. Lean-On

Objective: This activity is a take-off of the backward lean. In groups of three, have one
leaner in the middle and two spotters in front and in back (bookends). With the same
commands as above, leaner gets passed forward and back (gently) by levering on heels
and toes and standing stiff as a board. Group rotates positions until all have had the
opportunity to try it.

Objective: An extension of Bookends, this is a great low-impact activity for groups
that are more physically challenged. The exercise uses 8-16 parts. per group that stand
in a tight circle with the ―leaner‖ in the center. Remaining stiff with feet together, the
center person ―falls‖ slowly in any direction. Before she moves very far off center, the
circle of people re-direct her to another part of the circle (gently). The fall-catch-pass
sequence continues in a gentle fashion until it is obvious the person in the center is

Body Lift
Objective: This is a great trust activity and should be done last if it fits clients goals
and outcomes. The activity involves the group lifting a (willing) part. over their heads.
Specific safety steps must be taken for this activity. There must be a minimum of 4
people in each line facing each other (extras can support lifters from behind). The
lifters and spotters are instructed on how to stagger their feet while lifting and
spotting. They are taught how to zipper their hands and lift at the same speed and
height. The person being lifted goes through the following commands: Line zippered?
Line zippered! Line ready? Line ready! Jane falling. Fall on Jane! The lifters lift the
person just to their waist at which time the person being lifted is stiff as a board, has
arms crossed across chest, and relaxes their head. The group then lifts the person up
above their head (no higher than the less tall person in the lifting line) and holds the
person there for a few silent seconds. The group then lowers the person to their hips
and then stands them up feet first.

Simple/Mobile Initiatives
These are activities that can be done virtually anywhere provided you have a few
simple props (like a rope). Great for more advanced team building and problem
solving. The events introduce the concepts necessary for effective teamwork that are
used throughout the program. These activities provide a progression of experiences in
which participants learn specific teamwork and leadership skills. It should be noted
that these events, as well as most all events, can be made more or less challenging
through the addition and deletion of variable factors concerned with the problem
solving process ("the winds of fate"). Some of these variables include: verbal
communication, sight, time limitations, and physical handicapping.

Educational Goals:
Team development, positive communication, appropriate risk-taking, listening, trust,
support, and creativity.

All Aboard
Objective: To see how many people can get on the platform at one time (can use a
small tarp). Each person must have both feet off the ground. The group must be able to
hold a balanced pose for a determined amount of time.

Snake Tie
Objectives: Participants grab a hold of a long piece of rope with both hands. Facilitator
then shows them a smaller model with a figure eight tied in the middle. Participants
are instructed to tie that same design into their rope without letting go with their hands.
Variation: Three or so parts. are outside the snake and can touch the model and try to
figure out the knot. They may not touch the big snake however. Also, group still
touching the big snake may not talk. Great for big picture/small picture de-brief

Traffic Jam
Objective: The facilitator lays out carpet squares in a straight line on the ground. The
same number of carpet squares are laid out as there are team members, plus one more.
Divide team into two groups. Both face the middle, unoccupied space. The two groups
must move past each other to the other end. It is illegal for anyone to move around a
person who is facing the same direction or to move backward around anyone.
Participants are permitted to step forward into empty spaces or to step around people
who are facing them into empty spaces (one space at a time).

Objective: Mark out a space (square or circle) in a flat area and "litter" it with
obstacles (no balls). Parts. then partner up with one partner on either side of the
boundary lengthwise. One partner is then "blinded" and must be directed across the
minefield by his/her partner. Groups can either go one at a time or all together.
Stepping on a "mine" results in some kind of consequence. Variation: put the entire
group on one side and then begin handicapping them: 3 are blind, 2 are missing one
leg, two missing both legs, 1 cannot speak, etc. Then as a group they must all get
across successfully. Key: They can only pass through the minefield ONCE.

Blindfold Shapes
Objective: Group, holding on to a designated length of rope must form some type of
shape. Easiest: Square. Harder: Circle. Hardest: Star. Tell them that when they think
they have it to put it on the ground and see how they've done.

Nuclear Reactor
Objective: Using a bungee corded contraption, group must retrieve the designated
object from an encircled area. Group may not enter the encircled area at any time. The
only way to retrieve the "device that will save the world" is to use the bungee cord
with all members pulling equally on their strand. Variations: this event is often done
making half of the group blind.

Birthday Log
Objective: Given team on a log, parts. must silently re-distribute themselves based on
birthday day (no years), shoe size, height, or whatever else you want to throw in.

Stepping Stones
Objective: Get from point A to point B without touching the ground. Set them up with
one carpet square less their number and tell them to get to point B with all their team
in the allotted time. Anyone who touches ground faces dire consequences. Someone
must be touching a carpet square at all times. Carpet squares cannot move backwards.
Add 3-5 feet of open space between props to mark out the distance from start to finish.
Variation: Divide group in half and have them start from opposite ends.

Metaphoric Tools and Processes

Educational Goals
We make meaning in the outdoors often through framing- the conscious use of
metaphors and processes that help participants understand the context of the activity
and make connections to their larger lives. Check out some of the activities listed
below for examples or ideas or use some that you have learned. Some of these also
work well in one-on-one meetings with students or for times when you are giving
personal feedback. Remember to think about timing and where the group is at before
you jump into your ―favorite‖ activity. Is the group ready for it?

Key Points

Best after group has known each other awhile. Person sits in the ―love seat or hot seat‖
and group goes around and shares a quick feedback comment. You can do both or just
the positive- probably a good idea not to just do the hot seat part.

Make a middle line, a agree line and a disagree line. Have students stand in the center
(neutral) and then make a statement. Example: ―the death penalty is unjust.‖ Then
students SILENTLY move to where they believe- no standing in the middle. You can
up the ante to more difficult ones or stay pretty light (Star Wars is the best sci-fi movie

Paper plates-best done at end of program. Kind of like the high school year book
signing ritual. Students each get a plate. Students start by putting a quality they most
admire about themselves in the center. Then they wear it on the back (string helps
here) and go around and write on other peoples plates. No one looks at their plates
until the end. A nice keepsake from a trip.

Great activity to do in the middle of a longer course. Have the group write down as
individuals 1 thing that they wish the group would continue to do, 1 thing they wish
the group would start doing, and 1 thing they wish the group would stop doing. Then,
as facilitator, read off the responses anonymously and hold a group discussion after
about what everyone heard.
Have each person (or the group as a whole) keep a natural history journal which
documents the birds, plants, animals, and other cool or neat natural things they have
seen or learned about. Have them add information through field guides and other
resources to make it of appropriate depth. Perhaps have a plant or other item per page
that could be added to as more are found. Note where items were seen or found and in
what contexts. This can be great when bundled with an observation project.

Have students go off by themselves and begin with a ten minute (or so) observation of
a 1‘X 1‘ square of their choosing. Have them record everything they see in that small
box. Then have them expand to a 10‘ X 10‘ square around them and have them record
that. Finally, have them move to a 10 mile X 10 mile area. Have students share the
experience when they return and discuss how your perspective changes from ―small‖
to ―big‖ picture. A great sense of place exercise.

Student stands in center and makes eye contact with each person who shares a word or
quick phrase about qualities they admire about them. When person is done in center
they get a group hug and the next person goes. Also a nice trip conclusion activity.

A paired-share process. Group partners off and shares the following 3 questions: What
is something I don‘t know about you? What is something you like about me? What is
something we agree on? You then rotate partners and repeat for several rounds. A nice
low energy ice breaker.

O-Observation T- Thought F-Feeling D-Desire. A great way to teach communication
skills. ―Open The Front Door‖ to communication. Example: ―Eric, I observed that you
were late to our group meeting. That made me think that you don‘t understand that it
is important that we start on time. That makes me feel frustrated because I thought we
had clearly talked about that as part of our group expectations. My desire is for you to
take ownership of the expectation around meetings and be here on time. Teach
students this skill and have them practice with the next one.

4-part apology. 1. Acknowledge. ―Jane, I acknowledge I was late to the meeting.‖ 2.
Apologize and mention cost. ―I apologize. I realize that this cost the group time in
waiting for me to start the meeting and maybe some trust too.‖ 3. Make It Right. ―To
make it right, I will make a better effort to get to meetings on time in the future and
tonite- I‘ll do the dishes.‖ 4. Re-Commit. ―I re-commit to the expectations around
getting to group gatherings on time.‖

Have students write letter to self that they will receive later (after course, 6 months, 1
year). More effective when you give them something specific to write about (see
article on journaling earlier in this section for more information).

Similar to above but have students pick a coach or mentor in their lives and then have
them write down what that person would be saying to them at that moment. If
appropriate, have people share about that coach or mentor and possibly some things
that they wrote down in their journal if they feel so led.

Have students plan for a ―shipwreck‖ by only being able to take 3-4 items with them
for the night. This is a great teambuilding exercise and a good way to spice up the
middle part of a trip.

Another nice novel thing to do toward the middle of a trip. Particularly with a loud
group! You can do a silent paddle or silent hike. Talk about the importance of
contemplation in our lives and what role silence can play in that and in the tradition of
Friends. Have folks end the time with some journaling if possible, or, at the least, have
a discussion about it around a break or around lunch. This is a great exercise to work
up to a bigger ―SOLO‖ experience.

Gather round a campfire or lamp/candles and hold a poetry night. Make the scene one
of respect and reverence. Have staff members stand-up and share poetry they have
written to model the tone. Then, give students some frames for writing poetry such as
a haiku. Other frames: the alphabet…‖a is for achieve, I have achieved much in the
last week.‖ Or repetitive lines…‖I am alone but together with many. I am paddling
with the wind at my back. I am…‖ Have students go off to write poetry for an hour or
so. Then have folks come back and share.

An initiative about communication. The rules: the alien understands English but takes
everything literally. The Alien will never do something that is degrading or hurts
itself. The Alien does not like to be touched and does not understand visual
demonstrations. Have students each give the alien a direction…‖put the peanut butter
on the knife‖ and then have the staff member (who is hopefully dressed up like a silly
alien) take the directions literally. The ensuing hilarity usually reveals how much we
assume when we communicate.
Notes :
                   ECWP ―SOAP NOTE‖ MEDICAL FORM
        White copy-with patient; Pink Copy-remains w/ group
Name                      Sex ___ Age ___ Weight ___
Chief Complaint (PQRST)

Date, Time, Location of Incident
History of Present Illness/MOI

VITALS monitor every 5 minutes until stable, then every 15 min.
Time         LOC/Pup.     HR       RR      Tº      CRT      SCTM   BP

Exam: locations of pain and injuries

Past History (Allergies/Medications/Previous Inj./Food/Events)

Emergency Care Rendered/Changes in Patient’s Condition
                             ECWP FIELD EVACUATION FORM
                White Copy-with patient; Yellow Copy-remains with group in field

Patient's Name                                      Sex ___ Age ___Weight____ Instructors'
Names                                      Date _______Time _______ Location (be

VITALS/HISTORY/EXAM (attach SOAP sheets as needed)
ASSESSMENT Overall condition: Good               Fair   Serious
List of problems in order of severity

PLAN (Include map with locations marked)
Patient will
- stay put at
- be evacuated a short distance to ____________, then wait for aid
- travel out with evacuators to ____________________________
On scene party will: names, condition of those staying, and plans

Evacuators: names, plans of evacuators until they rejoin brigade

Assistance requested:
rigid litter specialized medical assist. helicopter/plane horse/other
Attachments: SOAP‘s, maps, patient medical form, I.D.‘s, etc.

Altitude Sickness …………………………………………………………….. 152
Athletic Injury………………………………………………………………... 152

Backcountry Policies………………………………………………………. 31-43
Baking…………………………………………………………………… 131-132
Behavior (student/staff)……………………………………………………….. 32
Benefits-Staff………………………………………………………………….. 17
Brain-Based Learning……………………………………………………… 50-58

Campfires……………………………………………………………………… 32
Campsite Selection…………………………………………………... 33, 118-120
Challenge Education………………………………………………………….. 162
Cold Injuries……………………………………………………………....111, 151
Communication during Emergencies…………………………………………... 22
Communication Skills……………………………………………………. 156-160
Compass…………………………………………………………………... 138-141
Consensus Decision Making………………………………………………… 82-85
Cooking …………………………………………………………………… 120-122
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)………………………………………... 100

Death/Serious Injury……………………………………………………………. 24
Decision-Making Skills……………………………………………………….. 154
Dehydration……………………………………………………………………. 113
Driving……………………………………………………………………….. 29-30

Emergency Documentation……………………………………………….. 176-177
Employment…………………………………………………………………. 16-17
Equipment Care…………………………………………………………………. 33
Evacuation Form…………………………………………………………………17
Expectations/Course Objectives Talk……………………………………………96
Expectations of Wilderness Staff……………………………………………….. 19

Facilitation Skills …………………………………………………………………56
First Aid ………………………………………………………………………… 100
First Aid Kits……………………………………………………………………... 34
Footcare …………………………………………………………………….. 122-125
Footwear………………………………………………………………………. 34-35
Forest Fires……………………………………………………………………. 35-36
Frontcountry Camping………………………………………………………… 28-29

Gender Medical Concerns………………………………………………………. 101
Gender- Teaching Strategies…………………………………………………...... 63
Group Development…………………………………………………………158-159
Group size………………………………………………………………………… 36

Headlamps………………………………………………………………………… 36
Heat Injuries………………………………………………………………… 110, 151
Hiring Process…………………………………………………………….…..... 16-18
Hydration……………………………………………………………………. 112-114

Ice Breakers- Challenge Education………………………………………………. 161
Incident/Accident………………………………………………………………..… 22
Instructor History Form……………………………………………………………... 3
Journaling………………………………………………………………………….. 59

Leadership Skills …………………………………………………………………. 154
Leave No Trace………………………………………………………………. 126-131
Lightening………………………………………………………………...…… 37, 107
Lost/Alone……………………………………………………………….. 37, 104-105

Major Injury………………………………………………………………………... 24
Map Reading………………………………………………….……………… 134-136
Medical Evacuations……………………………………………………………….. 23
Metaphoric Tools …………………………………………………………….…… 169
Mobile Initiatives …………………………………………………………………. 167

Navigation……………………………………………………………………. 133-136

Non-Medical Evacuations……………………………………………………….... 23
Nutrition……………………………………………………….. …………… 112-114

Pack Packing…………………………………………………………………… 97-98
Paperwork (Trail Documentation)……………………………………………….... 38
Place-Based Education and Learning…………………………………………….... 77
Preparing for your Course…………………………………………………………. 86
Post-Trip Documentation………………………………………………………….. 28
Pre-trip Guidelines………………………………………………………………… 27
Pre-Trip Meetings (PTM)…………………………….………………………….… 91
Private Property……………………………………………………………………. 38

River Crossing………………………………………………………………...141-147
Safety………………………………………………………………………… 148-153
Sanitation…………………………………………………………………….. 117-118
Search and Rescue……………………………………………………….. 25, 132-133
Small Group Travel…………………………………………………………….. 38-39
SOAP note(s)…………………………………………………………………...… 176
Soft Tissue Injuries ………………………………………………………………. 150
SOLO‘s…………………………………………………………………………….. 40
Stoves…………………………………………………………………...... 38, 101-104
Stylish Courses…………………………………………………………………….. 86
Supervised Independent Traveling……………………………………………….... 41
Swimming-backcountry…………………………………………………………… 42

Teaching Methods……………………………………………………………... 47, 63
Tent and Fly Pitching………………………………………………………... 105-107
Time Control Plans (TCP)…………………………………………………… 136-138
Trail Etiquette………………………………………………………………….. 42-43
Training Requirements………………………………………………………… 19-20
Triangulation…………………………………………………………………....... 139
Trust Progression …………………………………………………………..... 165-166

Water Treatment…………………………………………………………….. 114-115
Weather ……………………………………………………………………… 107-109
Weight Limits……………………………………………………………………… 43
Wilderness Program Mission……………………………………………………...... 9
Wilderness Core Principles/History……………………………………….….... 10-15