November 16, 2018

Learn to handle wilderness medical emergencies at SIU’s Touch of Nature

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Learn how to handle medical emergencies wherever you are, including places where calling 911 can’t get a quick and easy response, at a pair of intensive wilderness medical training workshops hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

The center is hosting the Wilderness First Responder Certification Course Jan. 2-10, 2019, and an open recertification course Jan. 11-13, 2019. Both will take place at Touch of Nature, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.

The goal of the courses is to prepare participants to handle medical emergencies of all kinds, particularly in wilderness locations or other settings where medical assistance isn’t readily available.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Wilderness First Responder Certification Course set for Jan. 2-10, 2019 or the recertification course on Jan. 11-13, 2019. To arrange a visit to Touch of Nature Environmental Center to obtain a story, photos or video, contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-3945 or

Register now

The cost for the complete training course is $750 and the deadline to register is Dec. 12.

Register online.

An open recertification course for those who have previously earned the certification is $350 and organizers encourage participants to sign up early online because spots go quickly.

Comprehensive coursework includes simulated rescues

The certification class will cover a wide variety of topics, including patient assessment, body systems, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, back-country medicine, wilderness rescue and more.

Participants will learn to handle emergency medical situations using improvised equipment, in harsh conditions. A fast-paced format includes classroom instruction each morning and practical skills practice each afternoon, focusing on everything from constructing a stretcher to performing full-scale simulated rescues.

Earn a certificate

All who complete the course will earn a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates, the wilderness medical training company whose professional instructors teach the course.

The Wilderness First Responder Course and recertification course is a collaborative effort between Touch of Nature Environmental Center and Wilderness Medical Association. Darren Stokes, a certified wilderness medical technician with more than 30 years of experience as a professional outdoor guide and instructor, will teach the courses.

Lodging and meals available as well

After registering online, participants will receive an email directing them to the Touch of Nature website where they can, for an additional cost, register for meals and lodging. Find all of the information about the courses, meals and lodging at

Contact Erik Oberg for details

For assistance with registration or to find out more about either class, contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-3945 or