February 2013

According to The Sylva Herald, if you are looking for a hiking trail or a place to bicycle in Jackson County there’s a new way to find a route. Recently, all of the trails and proposed trails in North Carolina's seven westernmost counties that have public access have been mapped for the first time ever.  There are almost 700 trails in the region; 56 of them are in Jackson County.

Follow this link  to read the entire article published in The Sylva Herald:


Students at Lifeguard Course

Instructors Justin Padgett and Nathan Nahikian had the pleasure to teach a Wilderness Lifeguard Course Feb 9-10 to the water staff of Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. We all agreed to conduct the course indoors given the time of year. And it was still brrrrrr - you can tell by the wetsuits in the photo here. Students did an amazing job of staying focused having pertinent context questions and working hard on the details of their skill aquisition! Big tip of the "Rescue Tube" to Alan Baker, Loyola OAE Program Director for getting us involved with his water risk management plans

Eastern Kentucky University just hosted Landmark Learning instructors Rob Barham and Scott Lipscomb for a Wilderness First Responder class. 20 students gathered at EKU’s Maywoods environmental education center for the 9 day class. This was Rob’s 5th time teaching at Maywoods and it is one of his favorite course sites. Maywoods is a 1700 acre forest and wildlife refuge in the Knobs region of Kentucky close to Berea. The classroom is in the lodge which is situated on a beautiful lake. The classroom has a large fireplace and a deck overlooking the lake. The course site is surrounded by rolling forested hills and there is an extensive trail system circling the lake.
Many WFRs have students who commute locally during the course, but this WFR was unique because all the students stayed at the Maywoods lodge for the duration of the course. The students had lots of time to hang out after class and get to know one another as well as practice their new WFR skills. This was Scott’s first course as WFR instructor for WMI and Landmark Learning and it couldn’t have happened at a better place. Here’s a picture of Scott teaching students the BEAM (Body Elevation and Movement) for a controlled move of a person with a possible spinal injury. Thanks to Brian from EKU and Homer at Maywoods for hosting us on another excellent WFR in Kentucky. And thanks to all the students who spent their winter break with us learning how to save people in the woods!
Rob and Scott

A pleasantly mild weekend just prepared a set of students from UNC-Greensboro, Wake Forest University, USC, and a few folks in transition between schools for taking care of some medical emergencies. The Wilderness First Aid class was February 9th and 10th at UNCG's Piney Lake campus and the group dived in to learning to assess and treat a variety of traumatic problems like head injuries and wound care as well as some medical concerns. Students were eager to learn to take it back to their college programs, outdoor adventures, and Scout troop. Also, there were two folks that passed their written and practical exams to re-certify their WFR!! They were some of the best prepared students I've seen to re-certify-Congratulations Riley and Lindsey!! Good luck out there!



Landmark Learning recently headed down to Scottsmoor, Florida to teach two courses for the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS). A Wilderness First Responder class was preceded by a WFR recertification in the palmettos and orange groves of Brevard county. Instructors Rob Barham and Adam Timm welcomed the change in winter weather, although it was a little unusual to run scenarios in shorts and t-shirts in January! The re-certification had 18 students and the WFR had 17, mostly NCOBS and Outward Bound Southeast instructors and staff. Other students came from a variety of backgrounds, including military, park service and international guides.
The Scottsmoor Community Center provided the spacious classroom and we had access to a small “jungle” adjacent to the building, perfect for running scenarios. It was warm enough to have to keep an eye out for snakes, but we didn’t see any. The fireants were a different story, though! Thanks so much to NCOBS and the students for hosting us and for taking the time to spend with us in training.
Rob and Scooter

blog1 WMI instructors Deane Hodde and Justin Padgett were thrilled to teach the first Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals in Black Mountain, NC. Our course was filled with our EMT Intensive students, AT Ridge Runners, Military Medics, Fire Fighters both street and wildland, Paramedics, Rescue Squad members, a handful of EMT's looking for a great and fun way to get continuing education and a fine MD who is just about to be out of residency. What a talented and fun group of folks from around the country. The pics here are from a scenario on hypothermia. Brrrrrrrrr. blog2


Well, today the students are bringing closure to the course, beginning the morning with the final written exam, or lovingly referred to as a celebration of their knowledge. All passed and were able to take the practical exam on Saturday. It was a full day event with all successfully completing their course and on their way to full State certification after taking the appropriate test, and National Registry if desired. It was hard to believe that the majority of the same people who only 3 weeks earlier entered the classroom with little to no experience now leave knowing with confidence they have the skills to assess and treat those they find in need of those skills. To all of you who worked so hard and gave so much of yourselves to the class and to each other, we as instructors say thank you and stay safe out there.

Thanks and best of luck to you- Deane Hodde

Here we are with heavy rain and dark skies at the January EMT. A little cooler air and we would have snow. Students are busy this week learning and practicing care for medical emergencies. Clinical is underway and we are hearing cool stories of their experiences. The picture here is a student finishing up the game "Name That Abdominal Quadrant". Games often help us all to keep fun an excitement in the classroom. Never a dull moment!