Western Adds New Outdoor Program to Curriculum

Western Adds New Outdoor Program to Curriculum

Students will learn the necessary skills to teach, facilitate, plan, and lead others on outdoor recreation experiences in the program.

ROCK SPRINGS — Western Wyoming Community College will be offering a new outdoor recreation associate degree and wilderness skills certificate in fall 2023.

This degree and certificate will provide students with practical knowledge and skills to use in the outdoor recreation sector. The program will be led by one of Western’s newest instructors, Clemencia C. Caporale.

The College Commission approved Western’s application to offer an outdoor recreation associate degree, along with a wilderness skills certificate during its February 17 meeting. These areas of study will fall under Western’s new Outdoor Program.  

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The degree can be completed in two years as a full-time student. Students will learn the necessary skills to teach, facilitate, plan, and lead others on outdoor recreation experiences in the program.

Its hands-on, applying knowledge from the classroom to the field. Classes will range from Wilderness First Aid & Survival, Leave No Trace Training & Land Ethics, to Public Speaking, and Applied Risk Management.  

The wilderness skills certificate can be completed in just a semester and a half with 23 credits. It will provide students with the ability to plan safe outdoor experiences in the backcountry, facilitate educational groups, and manage risk in various outdoor settings.

According to the Wyoming Business Council, the second largest industry in Wyoming is tourism which brought in $2.9 billion dollars to Wyoming’s economy in 2022.

Coursework will allow students to gain the necessary skills to take jobs such as park rangers (state or national), park managers (state or national), outdoor recreation guides, camp counselors, and more.

“The Outdoor Recreation program is an excellent addition to Western’s offerings, and we are excited for students to enroll in the program this fall.,” said Western’s School of Math and Science Chair Sarah Pauley. “The unique outdoor culture and recreational opportunities available in Western’s service area are prime reasons why this program will thrive in southwest Wyoming.” 

Caporale said that Wyoming and Sweetwater County has a diverse array of ecosystems that will lend itself nicely to the new program.

“I think it is important for students to understand the value wilderness and the outdoors provide and gain respect for the natural resources,” Caporale said. “Building connections to the land and its history allows people to have meaningful experiences, which in turn will make people care about and appreciate what Wyoming has to offer.”

To learn more about Western’s new Outdoor Program visit westernwyoming.edu/outdoor or contact Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Clemencia Caporale at 307-382-1711 or email ccaporale@westernwyoming.edu