Academic Relationship with UNCW Results in a Trio of Field Courses

By NCOAE Headquarters December 2, 2017

Adult Courses

The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) has forged an academic relationship with the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) that will see UNCW students earning up to six academic credits for participating in and completing educationally-focused backcountry expeditions thousands of miles from campus and lasting up to a month.

Beginning next spring, UNCW students can study in magnificent outdoor classroom settings that include Chile, Patagonia or Alaska. As a result of this accord between the university and our North Carolina-based outdoor adventure organization, these adventure courses are now counted among the approved academic activities for the university’s Department of Environmental Sciences (EVS) students.

The trio of field courses — timed to coincide with scheduled breaks during the University’s 2018/19 academic year — provide UNCW students with some serious hands-on outdoor activities and lessons that are pretty much guaranteed to (more…)

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Leave No Trace Figures Big in NCOAE’s Curriculum

By NCOAE Headquarters November 3, 2017

NCOAE Curriculum

We’re sure the good folks over at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics know this, but tt was Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, the father of Boy Scouting, who coined the phrase, “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it.”

This retired British Army officer and founder of the scouting movement was adamant about improving the environment back in 1910 — especially on the trail — and his rule was later revised to, “Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.”

We here at The National Center for Outdoor Adventure & Education (NCOAE) are big fans of this “First Chief Scout,” who among many other wilderness rules, principles and musings, once said, “A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room.”

Figuratively speaking, that’s a page right out of our own curriculum.

Experiencing the outdoors outside far surpasses any classroom study or indoor book reading on the topic of (more…)

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Pivoting on Climate Change

By NCOAE Headquarters October 13, 2017

Land Management

Most libraries and bookstores offer up books in the science and nature section that address climate change, with titles that range from “Hot Hungry Planet” to  “Climate of Hope.” Many of these books focus on global warming, polar bears in the Arctic, flooding and other environmental crises on continents around the world.

Photo by Andy Brunner on Unsplash

However, for those of us working in the fields of outdoor education, adventure-based recreation, and summer camp, we don’t need books and photos from foreign lands to persuade us that changes are occurring on our planet — and happening at an alarmingly fast rate.

We see these changes on the rivers we run, mountains we climb, trails we traverse, and camping sites we claim and reclaim for seasonal programs. For many of us who facilitate outdoor education programs, we’ve observed (more…)

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Staff Profile: NCOAE Fall 2017 Intern Adam Parish

By NCOAE Headquarters September 22, 2017

Staff Profiles

North Carolina native Adam Parish hails from a coastal town called Newport that is located about 100 miles northeast of our headquarters in Wilmington. He attends the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, where he is majoring in recreation, sports leadership and tourism management — a degree he expects to pick up next spring.

Prior to accepting an internship position here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), Adam was a marine science technician with the United States Coast Guard. Our newest intern says his favorite pastimes include surfing, hunting, kayaking, and exercising.

As we often do on our blog, today we offer a brief and very informal synopsis of our newest NCOAE staffer. With that being said, and the only serious question posed at the outset of the interview, below are some winsome, hardly worthwhile queries we placed before our new intern. They’re included here mostly for our edification and entertainment, as well as for “look back material” that we can reference when Adam makes it to the big time in the field outdoor- and adventure-based experiential education:

NCOAE: Why did you apply to be an NCOAE recreation intern, and what do you hope to gain from the experience?

Adam Parish: I participated in one of NCOAE’s Wilderness First Aid courses and thought the staff as a whole was great. Individually, they were really knowledgeable, skillful and they created a fun learning atmosphere. I got to know more about the organization and its mission and I felt interning would be a great learning experience. Basically, I hope that by the end of the fall internship I will have expanded my technical wilderness skills and gained valuable hands-on experience in coordinating outdoor adventure education programs.

NCOAE: If you had super power strength, what would it be and why?

Adam: My superpower would be to have super speed. I just think it would be awesome.

NCOAE: What was the last costume you wore?

Adam: I don’t remember the last costume I put on. But I’m old and losing my memory.

NCOAE: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being weirdest, exactly how weird are you and how did you get that way?

Adam: Probably a seven! Who knows how I got to be so weird, but being weird is fun. Besides, what constitutes normal these days?

NCOAE: A penguin walks through the door at NCOAE Headquarters wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

Adam: He says he’s there to hang out with the awesome people who work here.

NCOAE: What do you think about when you’re alone in the wilderness?

Adam: I don’t think. I just kick back and relax!

NCOAE: Finish this sentence: In 10 years from now, I will be…

Adam: I’m planning on enjoying life to the fullest because life is short and that is the only way to live!

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2 Words When Natural Disaster Threatens Your Outdoor Campus: Be Prepared

By NCOAE Headquarters September 6, 2017

Risk Management

For those of us who work day in and day out at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education’s (NCOAE) headquarters in Wilmington, N.C., tropical storms and hurricanes are part of our environment.

Just last year, Hurricane Matthew paid our campus a visit — right in the middle of a three-week campus-based course. But just like the Boy Scouts, we place a great deal of stock in their motto: Be Prepared.

By the time that hurricane came roaring through, we had battened down the hatches at our headquarters facilities and moved everyone enrolled in the three-week training to the Raleigh Durham area where they finished out their course. By communicating that potential change far enough in advance, no one was surprised. Our students finished their certification program on time and were safe in doing so.

And now Hurricane Irma looms on the horizon, threatening to make landfall along our coastline sometime next week. According to the latest National Hurricane Center reports, Florida could face direct impacts, with potential paths for the storms including a move further east to encompass the Carolinas and the East Coast. Mandatory evacuations have already been ordered for the Florida Keys.

Outdoor education programs — especially those accredited by the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) — are well versed on what to do in the case of a backcountry emergency or disaster. But how do you prepare for a natural disaster on your own property?

Below are 14 tips that we undertake and suggest for other outdoor education programs facing a disaster that might affect their properties: (more…)

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Your School’s Next Custom Outdoor Education Program Starts Soon

By Stephen Mullaney August 25, 2017

Custom Programs

You don’t have to look at a calendar to know summer is quickly drawing to a close. Look at the traffic in your hometown. Notice anything different? How about the roads leading to and from local or regional shopping malls and big box stores? With most kids and their parents hitting the stores — or the Internet — in order to get properly outfitted for the school year, the telltale signs of the fall semester are all readily available.

What’s equally important as preparing for a new school year is planning ahead for personal end-of-year adventures that can keep you motivated over the next three-and-a-half months (or in the case of spring semester adventures — eight-and-a-half months) of textbooks, term papers, quizzes, and preparing for 45-minute lectures.

Outdoor Education Student Circle

With some wise planning and a vow to battle procrastination, you can have a pretty good notion as to how you’re going to spend your next holiday or seasonal break from the classroom. And by having all your ducks in a row way before the end of the year, you’ll be rewarded by having that much more time to daydream about the adventure ahead.

As for group programs at the end of this coming academic semester or year, private schools and public school districts all across the nation have already designed and implemented (more…)

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Have any further questions about our courses, what you’ll learn, or what else to expect? Contact us, we’re here to help!