The National Wilderness Skills Institute is a modern training platform for those charged with the stewardship of US Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers, organised by the Society for Wilderness Stewardship. This year’s event took place virtually, between 24-28th May. The European Wilderness Society presented Wilderness in Europe and the differences of Wilderness stewardship in Europe and the US.
The National Wilderness Skills Institute
At the start of the field season in the US, wilderness and river managers, field rangers, and partner organizations come together in each region to learn new skills, share experiences, and connect with one another as they work together to preserve wilderness character or the outstandingly remarkable values of wild and scenic rivers. These gatherings have various names – wilderness ranger academies, river ranger rendezvous, or the most common, wilderness skills institutes.
With limitations on in-person gatherings in many areas due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of these events got cancelled. Determined to continue on the annual training and networking, the National Wilderness Skills Institute hosted online various webinars, interactive sessions, and virtual gatherings. This event brought wilderness and wild and scenic river stewards together from all across the US. The event provided participants with learning sessions as well as opportunities for region-specific discussions and collaboration.
Objectives of a Wilderness Skills training
The Wilderness Skills Institute provides an opportunity to access skill-building and professional development opportunities for US wilderness professionals. It connects Wilderness stewards across regions and nationally, both inside and outside of the classroom. Courses aim to provide skills-based training at all levels of experience. The long-term objective of the Wilderness Skills Institute is to provide an evolving, integrative model for learning and practicing virtual and field-based wilderness, and wild and scenic rivers -related skills which address training needs and networking interests with experienced experts.
The National Wilderness Workshop was organised into 5 different tracks. These were Traditional Skills, Visitor Use Management, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Wilderness I, and Wilderness II. The recordings for all sessions are available here.
Wilderness knowledge exchange in Europe and globally
To bridge this gap in Europe, the European Wilderness Society created the Vlado Vancura Wilderness Academy. The Academy hosts conferences, webinars, training courses, excursions and the International Wilderness Week. The courses and webinars aim at Wilderness and protected area professionals, rangers, Wilderness researchers and Wilderness enthusiasts.
Save the date for this year! The International Wilderness Week 2021 will take place between the 18th and 23rd October 2021. More details will follow soon!