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The Next Generation of Outdoor Enthusiasts

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For the past three years thousands of college students across the country have gotten outside through a friendly competition called the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge.
Wilkes, a private university in Pennsylvania with undergrad enrollment just shy of 2,500, is probably not what you have in mind when you hear the term “outdoor mecca.” Despite being an urban campus, we have a small but passionate community of outdoor enthusiasts eager to embark on any adventure.
Thanks to the Outdoor Foundation, Wilkes was first able to participate in the Campus Challenge in 2015.
We were unsure of how we’d match up against campuses in more traditionally outdoorsy environments.
That first year, we came in 4th place out of 60 schools, with nearly 900 participants and 3,600 outdoor activities logged.
What we learned is that many people had no idea that so many amazing outdoor recreation options were available to them.
Wilkes, for example, has four beautiful state parks within 45 minutes of campus.
She got to spend time with our students, and it was neat to see how a shared love of being outside can connect people, even from opposite sides of the country.
Our outdoor community is still small, but thanks to Campus Challenge, it’s always growing.
Living an outdoorsy lifestyle and exploring what the world has to offer is a choice you can make wherever you are.

Safely Coexist with Bears

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FWC releases new videos to help Florida residents avoid conflicts with bears As part of ongoing efforts to reduce conflicts with bears, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is releasing two new videos in the “Living with Florida Black Bears” series.
These videos are designed to help educate the public about how to safely coexist with bears in Florida.
Knowing how to interpret bear behavior can help people react appropriately when they have a close encounter with a bear.
The “Scare the Bear” video illustrates how residents can reduce conflicts with bears that may come onto their property.
Bears are driven by their need for food and powerful sense of smell, which often leads them into neighborhoods and areas with readily accessible food sources.
A bear that has been frightened by people is less likely to stay in areas where people are present, which reduces the risk to public safety.
“As bears spend more time in neighborhoods, they begin to lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to dangerous encounters.
These videos highlight steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of both bears and humans.” The new videos are being added to the existing “Living with Florida Black Bears” series, which already includes the following videos: How to Make Your Wildlife Feeders Bear-Resistant How FWC Conducts Bear Population Estimates A Day in the Life of a Florida Black Bear How to Protect Livestock and Pets from Bears Cause for a Call BearWise Communities The FWC plans to release more bear-related videos in the coming months.
In addition to educational efforts, the FWC is inviting local governments to apply for BearWise funding for their communities.
A total of $515,000 will be available to offset the costs for communities to use bear-resistant equipment to secure their garbage and help reduce conflicts with bears.

Cleaning Up the Grand Canyon

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Mountaineers Gear Up to Collect Trash in the Grand Canyon.
With visitation at the park up 33 percent over the last three years, and hitting 6 million visitors in 2016, that strain is only fixing to get worse.
But between 2007 and 2011, at least two condors died from eating the coins that some tourists toss into the canyon for luck.
But at least as concerning to her, as far as types of garbage go, is plastic, much of which is also microtrash: bottle caps, rings from around bottle necks, sandwich bags.
Other microtrash can get lodged in animals’ guts, causing the same sorts of impactions as coins; this is an enormous problem with plastic bottle caps.
At the ready to purge the Grand Canyon of this and other life-threatening garbage is AMC board member John Furniss, who for the second year will lead the club’s volunteer climbers.
Volunteers wear heavy-duty canvas bags carabinered to their rappel harnesses that allow them to cart receipts, batteries, wrappers, bottles, straws, money, Frisbees, flip flops, hats, selfie sticks (which are illegal in the park), drones, GoPros, cell phones, and even the occasional traffic cone—all while keeping their hands free to work the ropes.
Out in the park’s remote backcountry, members of the Coalition of American Canyoneers (CAC) have, in past years, hauled out large volumes of rubber.
| Photo by John Furniss Do these operations—at 25 years and counting for AMC—have an impact?
“There’s a possible benefit to visitors seeing [volunteers] showing that they care about our parks,” he says.

Creek Stewart’s New Survival TV Show

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Q&A with Survival Expert Creek Stewart’s New TV Show.
There’s a new survival show premiering this weekend on the Weather Channel, and I was lucky enough to sit down for a Q&A with the show’s host: survival expert Creek Stewart.
TM: In the stories you’ll present this season, what do these survivors have in common?
CS: I’ll start with the mistakes.
Although not everyone in the stories we studied made it out alive, the survivors do have one main thing in common.
The psychology of survival is often a facet that is overlooked in survival instruction and the study of survival.
TM: What kind of disasters should people be prepared to face, and how should they prepare?
They should prepare for both very similarly: by having the tools and resources on hand, whether that be at home, in a car or on their person, to provide themselves with Shelter, Water, Fire and Food.
You’ve been a successful author, a well-known survival instructor, and even a television personality.
That’s how I’ve always felt about teaching survival skills and lived that way for more years than most could ever stomach.