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.

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.