July 2014

The days are counting down in the third and final week of the July EMT Intensive course.  It seems long ago when this journey began, and how far we have come in such a short period of time.  This class has continued to enjoy each others company, with many pitching in to help fellow classmates get to and from their clinical sites.  It is obvious to me that no one here thinks only of their own success but instead sees the value of giving and sharing to raise all to their best performance.  It shows in their caring for one another and will one day carry over to their patients.  Students have found a balance between their studies and fun after hours, utilizing their homemade volley ball court to stir the energy needed for the following hours of preparation and study as completion of the course nears. As we finish the final topics and edge our way to the final written and practical, one thing is for certain, the journey and the ones we shared it with will not soon be forgotten. Look back at our journey from Week 1 of EMT Intensive here.

In late June, instructors Justin Doroshenko and Rob Barham embarked on a journey with a new bunch of students at the Landmark Learning base for a Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals course. We had some stalwart Landmark alums and some folks new add to our awesome style. We had brand spankin' new EMTs fresh off their Landmark Learning EMT Intensive, and we had EMTs and paramedics with years of experience. We had our three Landmark Semester students! We had ER nurses, pediatric specialists, physical therapists -- so much medical diversity! And everyone learned in medical harmony.


Despite the hot, bug-ridden weather, the students absolutely excelled in and out of the classroom. We threw them in creeks, covered them in dirt, and managed to teach them a few things along the way. The best thing for instructors on these courses is that we get to learn from the students! We had some great discussions and debriefings after lessons and scenarios. Thanks to everyone for being so engaged, enthusiastic, humorous,clean, lively, good looking, safe, and plain old fun! We hope to see you again in the coming years!

A lot of progress was made during the first week of EMT Intensive. It was interesting to see students come to the course with various backgrounds and experiences and begin to navigate the world of the EMT.  Classroom concepts interspersed with scenarios and first reactions in students have built a foundation for learning to care for a patient in an emergency situation. Confidence is starting to build as the students are getting more familiar with using basic tools of the trade.  As the week wraps up and clinicals begin, real world application on an ambulance and in the Emergency Department has opened the door even wider in terms of opportunities that they are now prepared for.  What lies beyond the door of week two? We are all excited to find out.

I was pleased to spend some time with the medics of Medwest EMS in Sylva, NC and provide an update on drowning and resuscitation care.  The presentation was well attended.  Over the past six months or so, I have been researching, studying and talking with national experts as I travel and teach lifeguards in the US and abroad.  It's the influence of folks like Jill White, Justin Sempstrott, Seth Hawkins and Tod Schmilpfenig that encourage me to look deeper in the how we educate others on drowning. Recent inaccurate national news futher prompts me to get on board with sharing this updated information with lifeguards, rescue and emergency personnel.  And of course I've got a soft spot for the fine medics that roam the mountains of Jackson County, NC. Thanks for being interested guys!

-Justin S. Padgett, Executive Director

Landmark Learning specializes in education and training for the outdoor community and offers many water rescue courses that focus on rescue group safety and technical skills. Swiftwater Recue teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress.  The Wilderness Starguard course teaches site assessment, risk management and rescue for remote lifeguarding.  

Early this Fall,  Landmark Learning will be hosting this year's Western North Carolina River Rescue Rodeo event.  On September 28th, participants will gather for a fun and challenging series of competitive events for groups where 10 teams of 5 members with either canoes or decked boats compete in river rescue events for over $1000 worth of prizes on the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro, NC.  After, ten groups total will compete in activities including: rope throws for accuracy, a rescue knot rodeo, yard sale rescues, medical scenarios and bib-time river rescue scenarios. 

To learn more about Landmark Learning courses or the River Rescue Rodeo, please visit Landmark’s website at landmarklearning.edu.




Hydraulic fracturing involves the use of water pressure to create fractures in rock that allow oil and natural gas it contains to escape and flow out of a well. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", has played a major role in the development of America's oil and natural gas resources for nearly 60 years. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 35,000 wells are processed with the hydraulic fracturing method and it’s estimated that over one million wells have been hydraulically fractured since the first well in the late 1940s. And while the topic of "fracking" has globally been a hot topic for years, it seems the debate has become personal to many since North Carolina could start issuing fracking permits as soon as Spring 2015. 

Cullowhee's neighboring community of passed a strongly worded resolution on July 2nd to notify state leaders they don’t want hydraulic fracturing in their community.The resolution also discussed Webster’s “vested interest” in keeping its natural resources protected, clean and safe. This includes the Tuckaseigee River, which flows through the town. You can read the full article, "Webster Tells State: Don't frack in This Community" published in The Sylva Herald here.