Posts Tagged ‘outdoor’

Adventure Education Immersion Semester Highlights

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

One of the unique program offerings that the Bachelor of Arts degree has is the “Immersion” semester.  

This is a  15-credit immersion semester where you take only Adventure Education courses, spending 4 to 10 days at a time backpacking and canoeing in the mountains and deserts of the Four Corners region. Courses include Wilderness Expedition (AE 201), Adventure Leadership (AE 210), Teaching Methods for Adventure Educators (AE 220), Wilderness First Responder (230), Challenge Course Fundamentals (AE 251).  Students participate in outdoor education, learning by doing what they will be teaching others.

Check out our Facebook Group page “Adventure Education at Fort Lewis College” for more photos of these expeditions, as well as other AE courses.

Why Adventure Education is so suited to Durango, CO-even Outside Magazine says so…

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Animas River Valley

Animas River Valley near Durango    Photographer: Greentheory

Durango, Colorado

Next Big Thing  By:

Think of it as a border town. It has Southwest underpinnings—Mesa Verde National Park is only 47 miles to the west—but because it sits in the lush Animas River Valley, it serves as the geographic and cultural link between high desert and high country. A thousand miles of mountain-biking trails surround the city (pop. 16,900), the largest wilderness area in Colorado is just to the north (500,000-acre Weminuche Wilderness), two ski resorts are an easy drive away, and the paddle-friendly Animas flows almost down Main Street. At night, four local craft breweries appease the nearly 4,000 students at Fort Lewis College.

Outside Magazine, October 2011

Five Great Reasons to Get A B.A. in Adventure Education at Fort Lewis College

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Another magazine (in this case, Men’s Journal) declares Durango CO the best place for an outdoor life!  It is also one of the great reasons that makes the Bachelor of Arts program of Adventure Education at Fort Lewis College (location location location) a hands-down choice for your degree.  Not to mention great instructors, curriculum and low cost.  More reasons to come here?  How about:

We are one of the few undergraduate programs in the country to require our majors to do a senior research project. This makes our graduates very competitive which graduate schools and employers love. In addition, we require our graduates to complete an internship. Together, we believe these experiences will set you apart from similar degree programs. 

Have years of real-world experience. They’ve directed Outward Bound schools, started prominent outdoor programs, taught in K-12 schools, and worked and ventured all over the world. One has served as a board member of the Association for Experiential Education, our largest professional organization  

Fort Lewis is a gem of a school! As a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, we’re part of a prestigious group of affordable, yet rigorous, liberal arts colleges that focus on undergraduates. 

We offer a variety of innovative courses for our majors and minors in everything from teaching methods for adventure educators to backcountry skiing. And, since we’re affiliated with a liberal arts college, our majors can easily earn a minor in one of many fields of study from environmental studies to anthropology to business. 

Durango is one of those special places in Colorado that is unforgettable. Surprisingly sophisticated, this town with a year round population of 16,000+ boasts nearly as many dining establishments per capita, as San Francisco! The downtown area on the National Historic Register, retains its Victorian charm, and teems with galleries, great shopping and other entertaining pursuits.

Wander just a few miles outside of town, and a world of outdoor activities awaits; world class downhill skiing, mountain biking, gold medal trout fishing, and river rafting/kayaking to name just a few.

And Men’s Journal is just the most recent to declare Durango a favorite outdoor place.  Here’s a few (ok, a LOT) of other’s opinions: 

Destinations Magazine calls Durango a Creative Haven.

Mountain Bike Magazine ranks Durango under Best Fans, Best Promoter, Ed Zink, and Coolest Dirt Destination.

Hooked on the Outdoors places The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and Animas River Days as “Can’t Miss Events”.

Paddler ranks Durango in the Top 10 Best Whitewater Towns.

Western Style states, “Vallecito Lake is considered to be one of Colorado’s most beautiful lake resorts.” And calls Durango a “must see.”

Sports Illustrated for Women ranks Durango as the Best Mountain Biking.

Hooked on the Outdoors “Most classic boots, bike and boat travel in the southwest.” Bike: Molas Pass with soaring scenery and trail cracking 11,000 feet make this one a classic, even for Durango standards.

Hooked on the Outdoors “Hot Winter Sports”, Durango Mountain Resort boasts an average of 260 inches of white stuff and more than 300 bluebird skies per year.

Outside Magazine ranks Fort Lewis College among America’s top 40 colleges and universities.

Princeton Review ranks Fort Lewis College among best western colleges.

Where to Retire ranks Durango in the top 8 for Great Towns for Art and Music.

Society of American Travel Writers ranks Durango and Silverton Train ride as Top 10 most exciting train journeys in the world.

Ski Magazine ranks Durango #1 for weather.

Outside Magazine ranks Durango as Top 15 sports towns.

Ski Magazine ranks Durango in the Top 10 most livable ski towns in America.

Ski America stamps Durango as a hidden gem.

Mountain Bike Magazine lists Durango to Silverton ride as a sample of great rides.

4-Wheel Drive and Sport Utility states, “The San Juan Jeep trails are the most beautiful and the most popular alpine four wheel drive trails in America.”

Mountain Bike Magazine ranks Durango in the Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Towns.

Fitness Plus states, “ Durango is an outdoor paradise, it is Colorado’s secret hideaway, an old mining town , Durango is the perfect summer getaway.”

For more detailed information about the Adventure Education B.A. program please vist our website at  It’s all good!

Adventure Education, Outward Bound and Fort Lewis College Professor Lee Frazer

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Our Assistant Professor, Lee Frazer, has accepted an invitation to speak at the Outward Bound (OB) National Trainers Training, a gathering of staff trainers from throughout the OB system.  He was the only professional invited to speak who is not a full-time Outward Bound employee.  His talk is entitled “Neuroscience and Adult Learning Theory: Implications for Innovative Training and Development.”  Since this an inside event and only for people associated with Outward Bound, I don’t have a link for you, but you can check out the Outward Bound website at

Testimonials from our Adventure Education students at Fort Lewis College

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

“I chose Adventure Education because…”

Spencer Lewis
Tyler, TX
Major: Adventure Education

I chose Adventure Education as my major because I enjoy the outdoors, as well as teaching others. There have been several experiences that I love, but what has made me so engaged within this degree was definitely the block semester. During this semester I was not only learning outside the classroom, but I was learning new ways to teach new topics. I also was learning in a environment that was new and I loved what I was learning the whole time. I plan on working for Outward Bound or NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), and at wilderness therapeutic camps. I also love the size of the Adventure Education program. The AE program feels like a family. Most of the time when AE students walk into a classroom, other AE people know their names and are eager to see them. I had no idea that by declaring AE as a major, I would find my second family. Most Adventure Education people are uplifting and encouraging to others. We are constantly building each other up to be the best to all of our abilities at this degree.

Ross McWilliams
Fort Collins, CO
Major: Adventure Education

I chose Adventure Education as my major for two reasons. First, I love doing almost any outdoor-related activity, so the major naturally fit my interests and personality. Second, after working at an orphanage in Kenya for six weeks during the summer prior to coming to Fort Lewis, I developed a passion for education. I hope to use the non-traditional educational techniques taught through AE to develop educational opportunities for children in Africa and other impoverished areas. The best part of the program is the level of attention that the professors give to each student. I really feel that I am someone who is known to the department as well as listened to on many issues. Also, I value the many friends I have made through the AE program. In addition to the AE degree I am pursuing, I am also looking at minoring in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies. I feel that these two fields will pair very nicely and match my future goals well. Ideally, I want to utilize the skills I learn through my AE degree to promote peace through education in conflict zones around the world.

Jeffrey Horvat
Arvada, CO
Major: Adventure Education

I chose Adventure Education as a sort of alternative to traditional teacher education. I am passionate about nature and education and believe an adventure setting is capable of providing an exceptional learning experience. The AE program offers students an opportunity to take on the role of educator, in both the classroom and the great outdoors. The multi-day expeditions are always an exciting challenge, but I’ve grown to appreciate the challenge brought about by teaching my fellow students. I feel that the opportunity to teach at the college level has prepared me for a future in the field of education. I have applied for and am currently waiting to hear about a possible job and internship with the Telluride Academy, a highly respected outdoor education school. Beyond this internship I hope to attend graduate school, but may end up in Antarctica guiding clients and photographers on expeditions. I feel that Adventure Education and Fort Lewis College in general has opened up an almost endless array of opportunities for me. Now the challenge is deciding which opportunity I will take!

Skyeler Congdon

Grand Junction, CO
Major: Adventure Education

I chose Adventure Education as my major because I believe in the power that wilderness experiences possess to inspire personal growth and catalyze social transformation. The best part or experience of the program for me has been working with remarkable people, both faculty and students. The backcountry trips I’ve been on with AE have been a blast. One favorite was 10 days on the Green River with a solid crew during the Block Semester. Riding my snowboard off the summit of Engineer Peak might be my favorite outing, but there are too many to name! I specialize in leading international trips. Last summer I led trips to Ecuador and the Galapagos. This fall I hope to return to Asia to lead trips that balance service learning with adventure!

Will Marsh
Anchorage, AK
Major: Southwest Studies
Minor: Adventure Education

I went to a small high school in Alaska. From day one, I’ve been an outdoor kid. My parents in their younger days were totally outdoor people, so our whole family loves to do things outdoors. I just grew up with that and have been doing it for my whole life.  At Fort Lewis, we don’t have teacher aides who grade the class work and teach the class. I like the student-teacher ratio here, and the quality time with teachers.It’s all individualized, I feel you can talk to professors about anything. They’re always helpful. If you need to spend time in their office, they’ll be there. This kind of environment makes you feel good about what you’re learning. I love exploring. I love seeing what’s actually here and not just reading about it. Now every time I go up into the mountains, I think about the things I’ve learned in class. It’s pretty great.

Processing and facilitation in Adventure Education

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Here’s a quick update from the front lines on this Veterans Day.

I’m taking an awesome class this semester called AE 350 – Adventure Processing and Facilitation.  In a nutshell, we are learning  about theories and methods of effective facilitation of adventure activities, as well as creative and meaningful ways to debrief the experiences.  This has been my favorite class in the AE program thus far (not counting the expedition portions of the AE block semester, of course).  It is fun, challenging, practical, and thought provoking.  It is the synthesis of many of the theories and concepts we have been learning since AE 101.  And as Professor Bob Stremba is fond of saying, it is “The WHY behind the What.” 

Our current class projects involves co-leading an initiative with another classmate and debriefing it at the end.  My partner, Veronica, and I are developing a prop and activity called The Pipeline which involves a group rolling a marble from point A to point B using sections of PVC pipe.  I spent this morning cutting and sanding various diameters and lengths of pipe and we will glue fittings and paint them shortly.  The point of the activity is to assist groups with communication and teamwork.  I am excited to try it out when we present next Wednesday.

Okay, I’ve got to run to Home Depot for a few supplies.  Until next time…

Thank a vet.  Freedom isn’t free.

– Dave Lynch

Lead Rock Climbing Classes Start at Adventure Education Program

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

el rito1The AE 321 Lead Rock Climbing Course has commenced for the semester.  This is an advanced climbing skills course focusing on traditional lead climbing, including selection and placement of protection, route finding, lead climbing and belaying techniques, multiple pitch climbing, advanced anchor building, rescue systems, and climbing instructional strategies..

Like other Adventure Education outdoors skills courses this course is not an activity course per se, but a professional skills course designed for preparing adventure educators to work effectively in institutional surroundings.  Students participating in this course often go to El Rito, New Mexico to climb.   Also starting up for this semester is the AE 350 Adventure Process and Facilitation class.  This course provides the skills necessary for facilitating a variety of client groups in indoor and outdoor experiential and adventure programs.  Included is group development stages, group discussion leading, active listening, debriefing, front loading, metaphors, and transfer of client learning.  Students will develop and facilitate a program with a client group.

Adventure Education Top Rope Rock Climb Class

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

These are just a few of some outstanding photos taken by AE Major Dylan Weldin in instuctor Ball’s rock climbing class this semester.  These guys are doing their learning “on the rocks”….Class goes out to various local locations to practice rappels, belays, and all the necessary risk management issues that come with this type activity.  On an experiential level, they are learning valuable lessons in critical thinking, team building and leadership skills.  These are skills that can be applied to any career path a student may choose.  Most of our AE majors are interested in doing therapy work with at-risk populations, children and young adults. 

As an example to our students, Program Director Dr. Bob Stremba used skills similar to what the Top Rope Rock Climbing class were learning.   Over the summer of 2010 Bob instructed an Outward Bound course in the Colorado Rockies for teens who have lost a family member through death. “On ‘Heroic Journey’ I was impressed how these kids embraced the challenges of backpacking, rock climbing, and a high ropes course.” They dedicated their climb of a 13,000 peak to the one they lost, then built a rock cairn with each of their names on it. The combination of inspiring wilderness, with a supportive group of others who have been through the same circumstances was a wonderful example of how adventure education, in this case through Outward Bound, has such a strong effect.”

WHY ADVENTURE EDUCATION ROCKS AT FORT LEWIS COLLEGE!!  This  is just one way in which our students can utilize their degree in Adventure Education.  If the word “Education” inspires you at least as much as the word “Adventure”, then this may just be the program for you!