Backcountry Skiing (ST)

This course is designed to equip aspiring backcountry skiers with the skills and information needed to safely travel through and understand the winter environment. The course starts on gentle rolling terrain where diagonal stride is introduced and practiced. A steady progression to hilly terrain necessitates technique for ascending and descending. Concurrent with instruction on skiing technique is an introduction to “winter” as an environmental condition in which snow cover and sub-freezing temperatures are defining elements and primary consideration in terms of comfort and safety. Formal avalanche training (AAA level 1 curriculum) will be a fundamental part of the course. Students will learn about the contribution of terrain, weather, snowpack and the human factor to avalanche hazards. They will also learn to evaluate potential risks and effectively initiate self-rescue. The teaching format involves both experiential and presentation based instruction. Outings are mostly day trips into the mountains from rustic cabin or yurt styled accommodations. One short snow camping experience is planned where students will learn to construct their own snow shelters. An array of other topics will be covered, including temperature regulation; winter survival; history of skiing; equipment design, care and repair; winter natural history; snow camping; cold stress and ailments; nutritional requirements; and practical weather forecasting.

Farrier Science: Introduction to Horse and Cattle Hoof Trimming

Students interested in using draft power on the farm or in the forest will be faced with a myriad of challenges. To keep draft animals operating at peak efficiency, they must have sound hooves. Typically, an owner relies upon the work of a farrier to maintain hoof health and integrity. With an in-depth study of hoof anatomy and physiology, the impact of nutrition on hoof wall growth and a survey of the biomechanical analysis of gait coupled with proper tool selection and use and actual practice on live hooves, students will become independent of outside specialists in terms of hoof care. Students will learn to recognize quality hoof care and discern the difference between speculation and sound farrier theory, use the Natural Balance Hoof Analysis and Balance Template to develop a trimming plan for each animal with which they work, select, maintain, and use the appropriate tools for hoof care, and, by the end of the course, be prepared to pass the apprentice-level written examination from the American Farriers Association.

Advanced Livestock Project

An upper level project under the supervision of a faculty member. A proposal must be submitted to and approved by the student’s project advisor prior to the start of the semester in which the project is to take place.

Advanced Garden Project

An upper level project under the supervision of a faculty member. A proposal must be submitted to and approved by the student’s project advisor prior to the start of the semester in which the project is to take place.

Advanced Independent Study in Applied Science

Independent studies are available to students who have completed 45 credits. Advised by full-time faculty, these provide students the opportunity to pursue in more depth a focused topic not otherwise available in the curriculum. Independent studies may be proposed at the 200, 300, or 400 level for between 1 and 12 credits. Independent studies go through a rigorous approval process and must meet specific criteria in order to be approved. Proposals for independent studies of two or more credits must be approved the prior semester. Proposals for independent studies of one credit will be considered until the first day of an intensive session or the first week of a long-block session. For more details about the independent study proposal process, see the online submission form.

Please note that independent study is not available for topics already offered through classes.

Mountain Expedition Skills Practicum (Global Field Study & Field Semester)

This field course builds on foundational outdoor skills and trains students in all aspects of wilderness trip design and implementation, as well as both front country and back country field camp skills and management. The program begins with a series of vehicle supported long-term basecamps in remote locations, where students learn field camp set up, functioning and management. Specific topics include kitchen set up and management, food planning and purchasing, cooking, living space set up and management, study resources and library management, tarp and tent systems and vehicle management and logistics. Additional topics include small group decision making models and group communication skills, and self-assessment using a situational leadership and learning model. The wilderness component occurs through immersion on a series of multi-week expeditions into mountain environments in California. We begin with logistics, including route selection and itinerary development, food planning, equipment selection and preparation, and establishment of group culture. As we move to the field, we learn, practice and hone skills such as minimum impact camping techniques, map reading and navigation, water location and procurement, backcountry medicine, establishing and maintaining high functioning field camps, equipment maintenance and repair, group communication and organization, and travel skills such as on-trail and cross- country backpacking.

Course Assistant for Expedition II

Students in this course will help to support faculty and students enrolled in Expedition II as they develop skills and group dynamics through the second half of the fall semester and during Winter Expedition.

Draft Animal Power System III: Farming with Draft Horses

Draft Animal Power Systems III allows students the opportunity to explore the challenges associated with farming systems where horses are the primary source of traction power. In small learning groups, students actively use horses to manage the College’s working landscape including gardens, fields and woodlot. Students become familiar with reduced tillage practices associated with Bio-extensive gardening principles, front-end suspension logging arch, mowing machinery and other field implements. Field trips to area horse powered farming operations complement the course.

Restorative Forestry

Due to past forest-product harvesting systems the need to restore habitat and rebuild forest ecology structure and function is recognized throughout the southern Appalachian region as a significant component of sustainable forest management. This course allows students the opportunity to survey numerous approaches to forest management that a landowner in consult with an area forester in Henry County, Kentucky has undertaken for the past 20 years while familiarizing themselves with small-scale re-forestation of recently degraded agricultural land. From these baseline concepts students actively engage in aspects of woodland operations designed to regenerate vibrant forest ecology and produce marketable timber by implementing a component of the forest management plan via a small logging job. Working closely with the landowner, students develop a deep understanding of the landowner’s management goals and expected outcomes. Course faculty guide students through a rigorous chainsaw safety and use protocol including directional felling techniques, logger first-aid, tree selection and harvest, draft animal husbandry and use as a log extraction system, and direct marketing timber to a local mill. Students engage in conversation with local proponents for the rejuvenation of a local forest economy in Henry Co., Kentucky by visiting several persons engaged in woodcraft and local small-scale sawmill operations focused on niche markets.

Essentials of Bicycle Touring

This two week course is designed as an introduction to bicycle touring. Week one will include an introduction to the mechanics of a bike, bike mechanics and repairs, obtaining a proper fit, route planning, gear and tool management, and fitness. Week two will consist of a 5 day, fully supported trip traveling through northern Vermont and New Hampshire. The trip will begin and conclude at Sterling College. During the trip stops will be planned to explore local, cultural, and natural history with a potential service project. Assigned readings will review the spiritual nature and mechanics of bike touring, personal narrative, and vagabond philosophy. Students are responsible for supplying a personal bicycle, panniers/trailer, sleeping bag, and bicycle clothing.

Nordic Skiing

An introduction to recreational Nordic Skiing including both classic and skate skiing for groomed trails. Ski waxing, equipment and proper clothing will be address as well as technical skiing skills. This course will include on snow instruction with video tape feedback focusing on body position and biomechanics. We will explore local trails including the Craftsbury Outdoor Center network, a long tour from the Highland Lodge, and a day of backcountry skiing on the Catamount trail. Ski specific core training and skiing outside of class to practice skills and build strength are an intregral part of the course. As part of our immersion into the ski culture  we will read stories and help with the local ski race. Instructional video viewing and race videos will aid in understanding technique.

Livestock Project

Individual project under the supervision of a faculty member. A proposal must be submitted to and approved by the student’s project advisor prior to the start of the semester in which the project is to take place.