Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Fall Season Field Instructors Welcomed to the Appalachian Program

The Mountain Institute’s Appalachian Program welcomed eight new seasonal staff for the fall season this August.  Some of them came as far away as South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Illinois, but most of the new staff are from the nearby states within the Mid-Atlantic region.  They all have their own special skill sets, backgrounds in the outdoors, and experiences forming a well-balanced and experienced staff.

Our new staff arrived shortly before the start of our field and residential courses to participate in an eight-day field-based staff training that was conducted here at Spruce Knob Mountain Center, in the Monongahela National Forest, and on the South Branch of the Potomac River.  To be fully prepared for our fall season adventure and education-based courses the training lessons and exercises focused on how to effectively facilitate expeditionary behavior and experiential and inquiry-based education while acclimating them to Spruce Knob and the surrounding area.  These lessons consisted of the framing and safety of rock climbing, gear and course procedures, West Virginia history, tree planting, stream study, forest ecology, astronomy, map and compass orienteering, beaver ecology, geology, caving, canoeing, survival skills, and sensory awareness activities just to name a few…

New staff participating in an orienteering lesson

Some of the new staff started their season with the Winston Preparatory School from New York City paddling the South Branch of the Potomac River, caving in the Sinks of Gandy, and rock climbing and zip lining at NROCKS Outdoor Adventure Center.  While others so far this season started on courses with Mountaineer Montessori from Charleston, Mater Dei from Bethesda, North Fork Elementary School from Circleville, Morgantown Learning School, and Edgewood Elementary School from Charleston implementing field and residential based experiential outdoor education courses at and around the Spruce Knob Mountain Center.

By Thomas Komir  

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