Understanding the complexity, diversity, and fragility of wild lands guides how and where we teach, eat, sleep, travel, and learn skills. Based on understanding of ecosystems, students develop an ethos to protect the ecosystems.

Students learn guiding principles and develop ethics based on protection of the land around us:

  • A wild land ethic based on ecology applied to outdoor education, and a sense of place
  • Personal responsibility: implications of a land ethic and Leave No Trace (LNT) concepts
  • A global perspective: widening the circle of awareness to other cultures and environments
  • Federal land management in the United States : roles of the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, & Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Wilderness Preservation System – The Wilderness Act of 1964
  • Transference: citizenship and stewardship from back country to front country

Leave No Trace (LNT) is a guideline of ethical behavior in wild places co-developed by NOLS in collaboration with the U.S. federal land management agencies. The LNT principles are:
1) Plan ahead and prepare; 2) Travel and camp on durable surfaces; 3) Dispose of waste property, 4) Leave what you find; 5) Minimize campfire impacts; 6) Respect wildlife; and 7) Be considerate of other visitors.  [See more detail at: https://lnt.org/]


2 sh

Course Types

Society; Adventure Based Learning Elective


This course was previously only offered to the Elon Gap Experience students and was taught through NOLS and the University of Utah, offered as transfer hours.

Course Outcomes

  1. By the end of the course, the student will:
    • consistently demonstrate sound minimum-impact living and travel skills on personal and group levels; be able to extrapolate knowledge to varied settings

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