November 22, 2011

Touch of Nature offers wilderness medical training

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is hosting a series of three special wilderness medical training workshops in early 2012.

The classes include the Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness First Responder Open Recertification and the Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician classes.  The Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class meets Jan. 5-13.

The WFR course provides participants with instruction about how to handle medical emergencies when health care professionals are too far away to help in a timely manner.  This isn’t just about traditional first aid.  Rather, it involves improvising and being resourceful in providing good patient care in rugged or remote locations.  It’s valuable training for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, including hunters, outdoor educators, guides, or even those who enjoy spending time in areas off the beaten path.

“I am very excited to see that Touch of Nature is offering a Wilderness First Responder course again this winter.  Anyone spending any time in remote outdoor environments would benefit from this very thorough and exciting training.  Whether you are a professional working in the field or just out having fun, this course is the industry standard,” said Geoff Schropp, program coordinator.

The cost of the class is $695 for commuters or $895 for those staying overnight.  That includes course fees and all meals for both groups and lodging for the overnighters.

There’s also a WFR Open Recertification workshop set for Jan. 14-16.  This course is for those who have previously completed the WFR course.  The cost is $315 for commuters or $395 for those also enjoying lodging at Touch of Nature.

Completion of each course provides a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates.

This year, Touch of Nature for the first time is offering emergency response personnel the Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician course Feb. 6-12. 

“I am proud to announce that we will be offering a Wilderness EMT Upgrade course in February.  If you are currently a licensed EMT, you are eligible to take this course.  The WEMT Upgrade course will further your training allowing you to help those that are in trouble when they are in the vast wilderness areas we have here in Southern Illinois and elsewhere,” said Travis Geske, assistant program coordinator.

This class essentially builds on existing EMS training and expertise to take into account the special challenges one might encounter in unusual settings.  Personnel who work in search and rescue or disaster response or those at remote job locations or who work with wilderness expeditions will find the training in wilderness medical protocols, applicable technology, providing prolonged patient care and demonstrating leadership in the field valuable.

The cost of the Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician course is $696 for commuters or $895 for those staying at the camp during the class.  Both fees cover course materials and all meals and participants earn certification upon course completion.

For more information about the classes or to register, look online at under the heading “Register Now for Wilderness Medical Associates classes.”