Wildereness Survival Small Group Instruction : Course Description

In the event of an emergency, you need more than hope: knowledge, the will to live, and a small preparedness kit will get you home safely in most situations.

Geared for a maximum of ten adolescents and/ or adults, this course is repeatable, lasting for a span of four weekends during any given month of the year. All students will meet with the instructor, either individually or in small groups, prior to our first camping trip for a general orientation and safety briefing. We will meet at a predetermined location and then proceed together to a preselected base camp for an overnight outing or up to a two-night adventure into the surrounding wilderness.

Hands-on training will be the standard operational procedure for the entire course curriculum to ensure that all students are proficient in all course related tasks. Furthermore, all students should take advantage of supplied on-line course materials to better prepare for the upcoming week's lessson's content, as all tasks will be measured for accuracy, effectiveness, and efficiency. As the course progresses, the emphasis will shift from small group problem solving towards pair work and finally to individual self-reliance. Likewise, materials you are allowed to pack each week will diminish, as your knowledge in wilderness survival dramatically increases.

Even though all facets of the curriculum will be addressed throughout the duration of the course, every week we will focus on two fundamental sections, taught in a logical sequence, necessary to sustain you through a typical survival situation.

NOTE: Please note that no smoking, drugs, alcohol, or video games are allowed on the course.

First Session: Survival Kits and Ropecraft

Prior preparation and prevention sum up what this course is all about: keeping you alive throughout all climate and environmental conditions. A survival kit is a package of basic tools and supplies prepared in advance as an aid to survival in an emergency, varying in size while containing supplies and tools to provide a person with basic shelter against the elements, help them to keep warm, meet their health and first-aid needs, provide food and water, signal to rescuers, and assist them in finding their way back to help and civilization. Furthermore, ropecraft teaches us about knots which enable one to tie or hold things together. Knots covered will be specifically aimed towards wilderness survival situations, allowing the student to secure objects, lash, make a net, and set snares. At advanced levels, emergency situations will be covered to enable the student to have a general knowledge about rappelling and mountain climbing.

Second Session: Survival Shelters and Firecraft

Understanding how to create effective wilderness survival shelters is one of the most important outdoor skills. From keeping you protected from the elements to providing a place to rest, wilderness shelters serve a key role in survival situations. Shelter site selection and types of shelters focusing on size, structural integrity, insulation and cover in addition to feasible heat sources will be covered and discussed in depth with further review throughout course duration. A thorough knowledge of firecraft provides both physical and psychological benefits which require basic fire principles to be met while paying attention to site selection and preparation, fire material selection, campfire types, and fire starting methods ranging from modern to primitive.

Third Session: Water Filtration/ Disinfection and Survival Food Acquisition

Don't assume that even crystal clear water is safe to drink. When traveling to a foreign destination, water filtration and disinfection become important where questionable water safety might be practiced. Attempting to drink water from outside sources in both running and standing bodies of water may cultivate a range of organic and inorganic materials, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, chemicals, and sediments. This section of the course teaches how portable water filters, utilizing chemical treatments and gravity fed bottles, and filterless disinfection through boiling and ultraviolet radiation effectively eliminate lurking contaminates that cause diseases such as dysentery (the number one killer on earth), cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis. Also learn which purification methods pregnant women or women that may become pregnant should avoid. For survival food acquisition, various stages of gathering, hunting and fishing with minimal materials will be taught, depending on students' proficiency levels.

Fourth Session: Land Navigation and Rescue

Being able to operate independently in the outdoors requires confidence in your abilities, and that confidence comes from instruction, pragmatic application and practice. Likewise, land navigation, the ability to navigate across terrain with or without a compass and map takes specific training and time on your part. In this section of the course, I teach how to use different types of compasses to determine direction and improvised methods for both day and night time conditions, read topographic maps, and locate known and unknown positions while focusing on dead reckoning and terrain association. In a survival situation, the entire purpose of navigating from one point to another should focus on finding civilization, rescue or medical attention. When signaling for rescue, seconds can mean the difference between life and death: be prepared at all times to activate your signal. Optimal signal locations and different types of rescue signals for varied climates and regions will be covered.