people in the woods, practicing wilderness preparedness

December 17, 2021

Registration underway for SIU’s Wilderness First Responder courses

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is hosting two intensive wilderness medical training workshops next month to prepare people to effectively handle emergencies when assistance may not be readily available.

A Wilderness First Responder Full Certification Course will be Jan. 6-14, 2022, and the recertification course is Jan. 15-17, with both sessions at Touch of Nature, located about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. All outdoor activities leaders and enthusiasts will find the course beneficial, according to organizers.

The Wilderness First Responder Full Certification Course covers a wide range of topics, including patient assessment, body systems, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, back-country medicine, wilderness rescue and much more. The fast-paced format features instruction each morning and practical skills practice each afternoon and evening, covering skills ranging from constructing a makeshift stretcher to full-scale rescue simulations.

Media advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Wilderness First Responder Full Course Jan. 6-14 and the Wilderness First Responder Open Recertification Course Jan. 15-17. To arrange a visit to obtain interviews, photographs or video, contact Erik Oberg at 618-453-3945 or by email at

Upon completion of the courses, participants will be prepared to handle emergencies involving prolonged patient care in harsh environments using improvised equipment. Students will receive a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates, the wilderness medical training company that provides professional instructors for the course.

Darren Stokes, a certified wilderness medical technician with more than 30 years for experience as a professional outdoor guide and instructor will teach the sessions.

Registration is open

The full course is $750 and the deadline to sign up at is Jan. 2. The recertification class is $375; register at by Jan. 7.

Class size is limited. SIU is committed to protecting the community, so all those attending the training sessions must follow current campus and state pandemic safety protocols and wear masks in shared indoor spaces. Registered participants will receive email with instructions about registering with Touch of Nature for meals and lodging.

For more information, contact Erik Oberg at 618-453-3945 or