NAU is a beautiful campus surrounded by dozens of hiking trails and camp grounds. One of the great features that NAU has to offer its students is the NAU Outdoors program. The program offers a variety of ways that you can experience the outdoors! For instance, the Wilderness Welcome Trips are 1-3 credit courses that take students on small trips to the Grand Canyon, San Juan River, Colorado River, and other amazing places. Each semester the Parks and Recreation Management program organizes 10-15 outdoor classes. For example, there are rafting courses and wilderness survival classes that will be launching during the Fall 2016 school year. You can experience these awesome trips all while earning credit and learning new camping skills!
NAU Outdoors also offers experience based trips that are not designed for any academic credit but are there for the experience. You could go to Havasupai Falls, go mountain biking or do yoga down in Sedona with the red rocks! Some of these trips are day trips but they sure are days to remember! They even offer a backpacking trip to Zion!
Another great way that you can get involved with NAU Outdoors is through their Customized Trip Program. Through this program, NAU Outdoors can work with other departments who offer an academic component to the trips while they provide the field based aspect of the course. For example, Field Based Eco-Ethics (SYS 208) is a course that was recently offered and NAU Outdoors worked with Environmental Sciences to look at the water shed within the San Juan River.
I encourage all students to try out one of these courses or trips no matter what your wilderness experience is! You will learn basic camping and cooking skills, leadership skills and even practice the Leave No Trace Principle. All you have to do is pay the fee for the trips/course and you are all set to begin your adventure! Your fee covers the cost of transportation, gear, food, permits, as well as guides and instruction.
NAU Outdoors gives students a hands on experience while learning several transferrable skills that can be placed on your resume, or expressed in a job interview. While learning how to light a ‘whisper light stove’ may only benefit you while backpacking, getting out of your comfort zone and gaining leadership or problem solving skills will show a great deal of grit. You can tell your future employers that you know how to follow through both on the trail and on the job!