Adirondack Outdoor Leadership Semester

FALL 2019

Course Descriptions

REC 363: Outdoor Leadership Practicum with NOLS – 6 Credits
This course provides an extended backcountry experience that gives students the chance to develop leadership skills through the daily application and evaluation of individual and group decision making and judgment. This 33-day course follows the NOLS’ Environmental Education, Leadership Skills, and Wilderness Skills tracks through hiking, paddling, exposure to rock climbing, and finishing with an Independent Student Group Expedition. The Outdoor Leadership Practicum offers students the opportunity to demonstrate leadership level judgment required to make and implement quality decisions while experiencing both mental and physical challenge. Students will travel in small groups in wilderness areas away from immediate medical assistance by canoe and foot. Students typically do multiple canoe portages, carry 40-75 pound backpacks, climb 4,000 foot peaks, and complete rigorous off-trail navigation exercises.

HUM 399: Guide Culture in the World– 3 Credits
Wilderness, adventure, and nature guides are a historical and modern phenomena. This course reviews guiding practices and philosophies from across the world, including in-depth case studies focusing on diverse cultures. An emphasis will be placed on guiding culture in popular nature-tourism destinations including the Adirondack Park. Students will also explore the social functions served through the dynamic between the professional guide and participants. Two professionally guided trips in the Adirondack region will provide opportunities for reflection and observation of professional philosophies and practices. Liberal Arts Elective (LAS)

REC 399– Sustainability in the Recreation Industry – 3 Credits Traveling to remote destinations. Shuttling vehicles. Buying the right gear. Practicing Leave No Trace. Recreation professionals know that the activities involved in exploring wild places have significant impacts – and not all of them are positive. This course reviews recreation industry giants like Patagonia, the National Park Service, Adirondack Mountain Club, and NOLS, and explores specific recreation activities like transportation, consumerism, and visiting remote locations. We’ll investigate how the recreation industry sectors and industry professionals promote environmentally sustainable values, and analyze how these values stack up against business practices and personal actions.

REC 499: Practicum Trip – 1 CR
This expedition planning course extends the leadership and hard skills learned during the NOLS Expedition. Student pairs will plan and lead expeditions throughout the second half of the semester, based out of Paul Smith’s College. Students will plan all logistics, including food, gear, budget, lodging, and transportation, and will take turns leading their peers through content lessons and leadership exercises while in the field. Students will implement the mini-expeditions following best practices of Leave No Trace and adhering to their unique  carbon-neutral trip plan created at the beginning of the course.

REC 399: Certified Interpretive Guide – 2 Credits
This 32-hour course combines both the theoretical foundations of interpretation with practical skills in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors. Content covered includes the history, definition, and principles of interpretation, designing programs that are purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic, using tangible objects to connect audiences to intangible ideas and universal concepts in interpretive programs, and presentation and communication skills. In addition to academic credit, this course offers a four-year, interpretive guide certification through the National Association for Interpretation.

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