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Deep in the Woods: Carol Smith immerses herself in outdoor education

Carol Smith, associate professor of wellness, spent 50 days hidden deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina as part of the Outdoor Educator course through the North Carolina Outward Bound School during her sabbatical. 

Associate Professor of Wellness Carol Smith spent 50 days during her sabbatical hidden deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina as part of the Outdoor Educator course through the North Carolina Outward Bound School. She joined 11 other participants from places including California, Kansas, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, North Carolina and the United Kingdom.

The participants in the Outdoor Educator course through the North Carolina Outward Bound School received in-depth training in technical, interpersonal and educational skills that apply to being an outdoor educator. With a progression of teaching and leadership skills where instructors and peers provide feedback in an organized setting, participants were prepared to step into the role of an instructor for a short outdoor education experience.

Participants were challenged to try new things, step outside of their comfort zones, and do things they never before thought they could do. Each group worked together as a team to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel, expedition living and outdoor leadership.

The course included three phases: immersion, skill development, and Wilderness First Responder (WFR). It also provided participants with the opportunity to earn their WFR certification – an 80-hour course stretched over 9 days through Landmark Learning.

The expeditions offered hands-on teaching experience – the participants practiced technical outdoor expedition skills, how to cook and set-up camp in the backcountry, orienteering, rock climbing and rappelling and navigating Class I, Class II and Class III rapids.

By learning ‘hands-on,’ the participants gained a better understanding of both the technical and teaching skills needed for a career in outdoor education.

Base camp was the North Carolina Outward Bound School at Table Rock. Participants hiked and rock climbed throughout the Pisgah National Forest and whitewater canoeing was conducted on the French Broad River (North Carolina and Tennessee) as well as the Tuckasegee River (North Carolina).

Funding for the completion of this course was provided by FR&D and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

Jennifer Strange,
Staff
5/14/2018 1:35 PM