November 10, 2010

Wilderness medical training workshops planned

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is hosting a pair of intensive wilderness medical training workshops in January. The registration deadline for both courses is Dec. 1.

The Wilderness First Responder Full Course runs Jan. 6-14, 2011. This intensive, eight-day course gives people the know-how to deal with medical emergencies that may arise when they are far from help -- when calling 911 won’t bring assistance quick enough or when the call won’t even go through.

The course topics include patient assessment, body systems, equipment improvisation, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, backcountry medicine, wilderness rescue and more. Those successfully completing the course receive a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates.

Touch of Nature is also hosting a Wilderness First Responder Open Recertification Course set for Jan. 15-17, 2011. Professional instructors also teach this course with content similar to the eight-day program, allowing those previously completing the full program to become recertified for an additional three years.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Wilderness First Responder Full Course or the Wilderness First Responder Open Recertification Course. To arrange a visit to Touch of Nature Environmental Center to secure photographs, interviews and/or film, call Travis Geske in advance at 618/453-1122, ext. 238.

“The scary scenarios that we often imagine when out in the wilderness are demystified during this workshop. The what-if questions are answered with how-to solutions. The result is an empowerment of those who take the course, not with false confidence, but with practical knowledge that minimizes injury and saves lives,” said Kate Hellgren, program coordinator at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Accidents or illnesses in remote locations present a variety of problems. Victim transportation can take hours or even days, so much of the early patient care happens in the field. Likewise, the environment and limited availability of equipment may add to the difficulty of providing treatment and may increases risks incurred by all involved while necessitating improvisation and resourcefulness.

The courses from Wilderness Medical Associates address all of those issues in a fast-paced format focusing on practical skills and with ample time to practice what you learn through realistic simulations or actual medical emergencies.

“Even if you don’t go outside that much, you never know when the knowledge you learn in this course is going to save someone’s life, or even your own. It doesn’t just apply to when you are in the woods. You get to practice in a realistic environment for anytime someone needs help and health care professionals are not right at the scene,” said Lief Faber, assistant program coordinator at Touch of Nature. Hellgren and Faber are course alumni.

The cost of the Wilderness First Responder Full Course is $895 with lodging and meals while the commuter price for the instruction and all meals is $695. Those staying at Touch of Nature for the program may check in between 3 and 6 p.m. the day before the course begins. The price of the Wilderness First Responder Open Recertification Course is $395 with lodging and meals included or $315 for commuters with the price including meals as well as the training.

For more information, including registration forms, look online at Or, you can contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-1122, ext. 260, or by e-mail at To reserve a spot, you must submit a $100 deposit along with completed registration and indemnity forms no later than Dec. 1. The balance is due the first day of class.

For additional details about the course curriculum, contact Wilderness Medical Associates at 888/WILDMED or look online at