Garden 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.

Wilderness First Responder

This course is a comprehensive and in-depth look at the standards and skills dealing with backcountry emergency care. The Patient Assessment System is the foundation from which we learn the skills to manage injuries and illness. Classroom sessions include lecture, discussion, and practicing basic skills and more advanced skills, such as traction splinting, blood pressure, long-term care, and spinal cord considerations. Outdoor sessions include scenarios and a mock rescue. Leadership skills, rescue skills, and writing accurate field reports are included. Successful completion results in Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification through S.O.L.O., and the registration fee with S.O.L.O.

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.

Advanced Rock Climbing

This course challenges students to integrate and build upon all of the skills learned in AS190 or AS225. Students in this class will further develop their rock climbing techniques, rope management skills, safety and rescue protocols and site assessment. Exposure to multi-pitch climbing and management may be reached by the end of this course. To supplement work in the field, students will explore the current structure of mountain guiding in the United States as compared to around the world.

Introduction to Ice Climbing

The course begins with an indoor introduction to the tools of the trade: ice tools, crampons, climbing boots, and ice screws. We cover proper clothing and comfort in the cold and sometimes wet environment of ice climbs. The outdoor sessions begin with a review of knots, climbing signals, belaying, and site safety. Climbing techniques on varied terrain are demonstrated and then practiced by students. By the end of the course, students will have climbed several hundred vertical feet of class III ice. More difficult climbs are possible if skill levels and time permit. Students are expected to become familiar with terms and techniques explained in readings and other media.

White-Water Canoeing

Paddling starts as soon as ice is off the rivers, usually the last week of March. Students must provide adequate cold weather and splash resistant clothing.  Initial training with strokes and maneuvers takes place on moving water and class 1 rapids. As the class’s overall proficiency increases more challenging sections of local rivers are utilized. One or two weekend sessions may be required for rivers that are farther away. The paddling curriculum matches closely with ACA standards. Written assignments emphasize good judgment and active risk management.

Advanced Flat Water Canoeing

In this intensive summer course, participants will enter into a conversation about North Country paddling—throughout the course students will study the region’s paddling history, its watersheds, and explore local rivers and lakes; realize the treasures in our back yard and environmental issues affecting them. Students will be guided to and work toward mastering basic paddling skills; paddle a canoe straight tandem and solo, mastering the J stroke. Highly motivated students will be able to build their own wooden canoe paddle before the longer trip.

Participants will start exploring some local lakes and rivers, but the bulk of this summer’s course will be a 20-day overnight canoeing expedition down the Vermont/New Hampshire section of the Connecticut River. Discover the wide range of flat water paddling and understand boat characteristics; racing, solo and tandem, canoes and kayaks. Sterling is proud to partner with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the Craftsbury Outdoor Center to help further the organizations’ missions to educate the public about northern New England waterways, riparian ecosystems, and watersheds. In the context of this experience, participants will engage in a range of activities that draw attention to the interconnections inherent in watershed ecosystems across the region. Participants will leave with a set of practical skills, a new understanding of and appreciation for North Country rivers and lakes. They will build relationships that bring one back to the water time and again for years to come.

In Summer 2018 this course has a co-requisite of NS205 Environmental Science.

Canoe Trip Guiding

Students learn skills necessary for leading an extended trip (5 or more days) on the waterways of northern New York, northern New England, or Canada. Students are involved in trip planning, food packing, and equipment choice. During the first trip, students refine their own paddling, portaging, navigation (map, compass, and GPS) and leadership skills. Written reports before, during, and after the trips place the student in the role of a commercial canoeing outfitter with emphasis on detailed planning, risk management, and setting appropriate expectations for clients. Current plans for the coming summer include a trip down the Connecticut River

Introduction to Hand Tools and Woodworking (ST)

This course will explore traditional methods of carpentry, both dry and green (mostly green). It will focus exclusively on hand tools, used in traditional woodcraft and on wood as a living medium. Students will learn methods of squaring boards, milling lumber, and riving workable pieces from round logs. Activities will include the use of pitsaws for milling lumber, hand planes for squaring boards, froes for riving handle blanks, and hatchets for crafting spoons and tool handles. Students will be responsible for an individual project in which they will select a tree, fell it, render it into usable pieces, and work it into a unique, individual project chosen by the student.

Introduction to Rock Climbing

Crag, cliff, and beyond dealing with challenging situations, trusting in others and ourselves, moving through fear and doubt to attain goals. Outdoor sessions begin with an introduction to the history of rock climbing and then proceed to ground school training in knots, rope-handling, and belaying. Next balance, movement, and technique are practiced on the climbing wall. In addition students are introduced to rappelling. We then climb at more extensive sites, while practicing all the basic skills and working as a group to ensure each member feels both supported and challenged. Final activities include simulated mountain rescue scenarios to provide a group challenge and teamwork practice.

Draft Animal Power Systems II: Work Applications

In this course, students use horsepower to actively manage the College’s farm and forest. Typical work applications include equipment maintenance, logging, sugaring, soil fertility management, tillage, planting and cultivation. Economic considerations of using horses on the farm will be discussed as we compare and contrast animal-centric versus mechano-centric agriculture power systems.

Draft Animal Power Systems I: Driving Principles

This course introduces students to the systems required to safely manage and work a team of draft horses or oxen. Topics include the natural history of draft animals, functional anatomy, physiology, and care methods including both conventional and alternative medical approaches. Following extensive practice with ground driving maneuvers, draft animals will be hitched to a variety of carts and implements to learn safe hitching and operational procedurals to do farm and forest work.