December 08, 2015

Wilderness workshops set at Touch of Nature

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students and outdoor professionals and enthusiasts will want to check out a pair of intensive, wilderness medical training workshops at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center in early 2016. 

The Wilderness First Responder Certification Course is set for Jan. 6-14 at the center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. The Wilderness First Responder Open Recertification will take place Jan. 15-17 at the center. 

The Wilderness First Responder Certification Course provides participants with valuable information and training to enable them to handle medical emergencies that occur in a setting where calling 911 and getting help isn’t possible or there isn’t time to wait. The course is open to the general public but also offers SIU students the opportunity to earn three credit hours. As a credit class, it is called REC 434 –Wilderness First Responder. 

The course covers patient assessment, body systems, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, back-country medicine, wilderness rescue and other relevant topics to prepare those who complete the class to handle emergency situations in unusual or harsh environments, providing emergency medical care using improved equipment. The fast-paced course features classroom instruction in the mornings and hands-on, practical skills sessions in the afternoons and evenings incorporating lessons on everything from constructing a stretcher to a full-scale rescue simulation. 

Those who successfully complete the course receive a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates, the training company providing professional instructors for the class.  

The cost of the course is $895, including room and board. Commuters pay $695. 

Those who have previously been certified and are completing the open recertification course will pay $395, including room and board, or $315 if commuting. 

The deadline to register for both courses is Dec. 22. Organizers encourage early registration while space remains. 

The courses are a collaborative effort of SIU’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center and the Health Education and Recreation Department in the College of Education and Human Services along with Wilderness Medical Associates. 

SIU students planning to take the course for credit should contact Clayton Sheehan at 618/453-1121 or by email at to register. 

Anyone else seeking more information or wanting to sign up to participate should contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-1122, ext. 260, or by email at