The application period for the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI) is now closed. The WSI planning team will be reviewing applications in the coming weeks. Students should receive notification about their acceptance into WSI by the end of the March. Please add [email protected] to your email contacts so that you don’t miss any communications. If you have any questions, please email Eric Giebelstein at SAWS, [email protected]
WSI Planning Team
We are pleased to announce that we will tentatively be back in person at the Cradle of Forestry in America in Pisgah Forest, NC in 2022. It’s been three long years since we last got together in 2019 and we are incredibly excited to return to in-person skills training! Out of an abundance of caution, we will be following CDC guidance and the policies of the U.S. Forest Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards.
We will continue to develop safety protocols as conditions and policies change, some follow up for additional documentation and requirements may be necessary as we get closer to the event. If you have any questions, please contact Eric Giebelstein, Deputy Director of SAWS at [email protected]
Course offerings this year will be reduced and will focus on field skills needed for wilderness stewardship. Participant spots are limited this year to comply with agency requirements. We will also be focused on providing classes that can function in outdoor classrooms and will teach in-demand stewardship and trail skills that have been postponed or cancelled during the first two years of the pandemic.
Apply by March 11th to be considered for this year’s offerings.
Week 1: May 23-27, 2022
A/B Crosscut and Axe Certification (Paired with CPR &WFA/FA)
Facilitator: David Finnan, U.S. Forest Service, Scotty Bowman, SAWS
Max number of participants: 20
The A/B Crosscut Certification Course provides students with both classroom-based instruction and field experience in the use of the crosscut saws and axes. Students will learn how to safely utilize these tools in a trail maintenance capacity. The course will cover tool history, best practices in the field, one-on-one instruction in tool use in the field, tool care, safety, and transportation of the tools. Successful completion of this course is required to legally use these tools on national forest lands while participating in stewardship efforts. Certification is a product of completion of this course and the ability to demonstrate safe and competent use of both the crosscut saw and axe.
C Crosscut Certification*
Facilitator: David Finnan, U.S. Forest Service
Max number of participants: 10
The C Crosscut Certification Course is designed for expert sawyers that are ready to teach A/B courses. Students will be evaluated for field proficiency addressing complex bucking and felling situations with crosscut saws. Students will also be evaluated on knowledge of material, teaching the crosscut saw curriculum and evaluating A/B students in the field. This course is not designed to teach expert sawyers how to be C sawyers and instructors, rather it is designed to evaluate students that are ready for the certification. A letter of recommendation from the district ranger or your partner organization leader is required to be considered for this course. Space is limited and not all applicants can be selected.
*Letter of recommendation required
CPR & Wilderness First Aid Certification (or First Aid) (Paired with A/B Crosscut)
Lead Instructor: TBD
Maximum number of participants: 20 (same participants as A/B)
The Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course will help you prepare for the unexpected. This fast paced, hands-on training is designed to meet the needs of trip leaders, camp staff, outdoor enthusiasts, and individuals working in remote locations. It will introduce you to caring for people who become ill or injured far from definitive medical care. Classroom lectures and demonstrations are combined with realistic scenarios where mock patients will challenge you to integrate your learning. At the end of the course, you’ll have the knowledge, skills and ability to make sound decisions in emergency situations. Learning takes place both in the classroom and in outdoor settings regardless of weather conditions. Come prepared for wet, muddy, cold or hot environments.
Leave No Trace Master Educator
Lead Facilitators: Stephen Eren, ATC and Sarah Adams, ATC
Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Maximum number of participants: 8
This five-day Master Educator Course, hosted by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The course is designed to provide recreation users and educators an in-depth look at the practices and ways of teaching Leave No Trace skills and ethics. Through classroom discussions, lectures, demonstrations and a four-day backpacking trip in Shining Rock Wilderness, this course will cover the seven principles of Leave No Trace, discuss wildland ethics, and provide participants the tools and techniques necessary for disseminating these low-impact skills to others. Upon completion of the course, participants will be qualified to teach Leave No Trace Trainer courses.
* Course Cost: $400 (most general enrollment master educator courses are generally $700-800). Some scholarship funds may be available to participants on this course. However, upon course acceptance, a deposit will be required for this space-limited course.
Week 2: May 31-June 3, 2022
Wilderness Stewardship Performance: Data Collection and Monitoring Techniques
Lead Facilitators: John Campbell, U.S. Forest Service and Kaitlin de Varona, SAWS
Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Maximum number of participants: 15
This course is designed for field-going personnel that are tasked with data collection and monitoring for Wilderness Stewardship Performance (WSP). Students will learn protocols, techniques, and strategies for monitoring solitude, invasive species, recreation sites and other elements for Forest Service wilderness areas in the Southeast.
Lead Facilitators: Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards & Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Skill Level: Introductory
Maximum number of participants: 25
This course is an opportunity for beginners to familiarize themselves with the basics of trail maintenance and an excellent refresher for those with more experience. The course will be field-based and hands-on, so be prepared for dirt and sweat as we tackle common maintenance issues on real trails in the Pisgah National Forest. Topics covered will include safe and effective use of hand tools, trail assessment techniques, and mitigation/remediation of common erosion issues.