September 11, 2020

Touch of Nature course will help in preparing for any wilderness medical emergency

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A Wilderness First Responder Certification Course offered next month by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center will help in handling any type of medical emergency, particularly when 911 assistance or emergency responders are not readily available.

The workshop’s goal is to enable participants to be ready to respond to medical emergencies of all types in any locale, especially in backcountry or deep forest settings.

The class will take place Oct. 12-18 at the facility, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. Anyone age 18 or older may participate. The program will comply with current Illinois COVID-19 safety measures.

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Wilderness First Responder Certification Course, set for Oct. 12-18, at Touch of Nature Environmental Center. To arrange a visit, contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-3945 or by email at 

Class is very comprehensive

The certification class covers a wide variety of topics including patient assessment, backcountry medicine, wilderness rescue, trauma, toxins, environmental medicine and related subjects. Participants will learn to handle diverse medical traumas, even under harsh conditions, using improvised equipment.

The course is intensive and features classroom instruction each morning and hands-on activities each afternoon so those attending can practice the skills they have learned. Participants will master techniques from building a makeshift stretcher to completing a simulated emergency rescue.

Everyone welcome

The workshop is open to the public. Outdoor educators, guides, members of search and rescue teams, researchers, military personnel, disaster relief workers, or anyone who may face a situation where the need for medical assistance or rescue is possible will find the class beneficial.

Touch of Nature offers enhanced social distancing measures, including open spaces for classroom instruction and outdoor venues. Group sizes will be limited in compliance with Illinois guidelines. The class is limited to 12 students.

Participants who complete the course will receive a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates, the wilderness medical training company that provides the course’s professional instructors. Darren Stokes, a certified wilderness medical technician with more than 30 years of professional outdoor guide and instruction experience, is slated to guide the class.

Sign up now

Advance registration is required and the cost is $750. Meals and lodging are available for an additional fee.

Additional information and registration details are available online at

Contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-3945 or or Wilderness Medical Associates at 207/730-7331 or 888/WILDMED for answers to additional questions.