March 2014

Bill Hodge

At a ceremony March 18, The White House honored Bill Hodge of The Wilderness Society with a Champion of Change Award for Engaging the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders, meant to “celebrate local leaders across the country who are working to get young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors.” Hodge was honored for his work connecting young people with conservation and forest stewardship projects as the director of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) program at The Wilderness Society. Read the entire article here.

On March 16, 2014 Landmark instructors Laura and Beth successfully graduated 29 new Wilderness First Responders and sent them off into the world with big smiles all around. This day marked the completion of the first WFR course ever held at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and it was a resounding success. We thoroughly enjoyed springtime temperatures in the 60s and 70s and spent much of our time outside, practicing splints and ankle taping in the sunshine and watching the cherry blossoms come into full bloom. Students thoroughly enjoyed the multitude of activities and scenarios that Beth and Laura kept throwing at them to test their critical thinking skills, although our most exciting adventure took us to the base of Lookout Mountain where students got to put all of their new medical skills to the test in a truly rugged environment. The sky was overcast and the wind was fierce, which heightened our awareness and attention to everyone’s safety. Students had to work together to triage multiple victims, treat critical injuries, and evacuate patients down a steep and slippery path with litters and backboards. It was an intense but incredibly rewarding experience for both patients and rescuers alike, and many lessons were learned about leadership, communication and going slow to go fast.  Later in the course we returned to Lookout Mountain for another extended rescue scenario which took place as the sun was setting and the light was fading, and during which students had to rely upon their training to deal with unforeseen emergencies well into the night. Upon returning to campus the next day, we discussed all the challenges that arose and shared the lessons we had learned about emergency preparedness and prevention. Because after all, prevention trumps medicine, every time. Best of luck to you newest of WFRs; we had a blast teaching you and can’t wait to return for future courses at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. -  Laura and Beth


Scott and Kevin headed out to a windy Blowing Rock for an awesome course with 26 students. Blowing Rock Conference Center proved to be a great host for our 9 day Wilderness First Responder Course. We had a great course with very amazing students who were ready to learn. A big shout out from the instructional team to those students who made a great course happen!


Every year, campers hear and ignore advice on how to keep the site safe from bears. That's why if you plan on going camping, you need to watch this video from ZooMontana. Their two adult grizzlies make short work of campsite. Wait until you see what they do to a "bear-proof" cooler!

WRMC Atalanta

Attend the Wilderness Risk Management Conference and gain practical risk management skills, network with others in the industry, share field and administrative techniques, and help develop risk management standards for the adventure and education industries. This year, the WRMC Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on October 1st-3rd. Mark your calendars now and click here to visit their Facebook page for the latest information.  

Aquatics International

Last month, Aquatics International Magazine featured an article on Landmark Learning's Wilderness StarGuard Course and had the pleasure of interviewing the Padg. Below is an excerpt from the article. Lifeguarding in a remote location is very different than lifeguarding in a pool. That difference led Justin Padgett at Cullowhee, N.C.-based Landmark Learning to develop a different kind of lifeguard training program, Wilderness StarGuard, with Starfish Aquatics Institute in 2000.“We started talking about how to merge … an open waterfront lifeguarding course with wilderness medicine,” Padgett says. The outdoor training organization was just accredited by the Accrediting Council on Continuing Education and Training, a U.S. Department of Education nationally recognized accrediting agency for an initial five-year period. “Now we’re in a position to offer college credit transfers,” Padgett says. Check out the article in  Aquatics International on page 24 here. To explore all the courses offered by Landmark Learning, click here.

 The Appalachian State University Job Fair has really grown over the years. As a 1993 graduate of ASU it was really great to talk to students about grooming and development for instructional work at Landmark Learning. We had 50-70 students come by our booth for information about employment, coursework for their professional development and really just to hang out. It seems that these events are stellar for reconnecting with our course sponsors, alumni and friends within the industry. The ASU Alumni luncheon was also a great opportunity to hear from and reunite with many folks who have been influential with Landmark Learning over the years. My face hurt from smiling as I drove back down to Cullowhee!