Before you go camping, you probably fill up your backpack and water bottle. A host of classes and seminars this spring give you a chance to fill up your brain with outdoors know-how before you head out to the woods.
Later this month, Chattanooga State is offering a class in Wilderness First Aid and in April it will host a Leave No Trace class. Also, in April and May Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville, Ga., is hosting Wilderness Survival Training "Most people want to do the right thing, but don't know what the right thing is," says John Cousino, associate professor of respiratory care at Chattanooga State.
A paramedic and EMT for more than 30 years, Cousino offered the first aid class through the college for the first time last year. He says there is a big difference between caring for injuries in town versus in the woods. "Standard first aid, the answer to everything is to call 911," he says. "In our case 911 may be two hours, 12 hours, 24 hours away."
The class will focus on everything from splints and broken bones to asthma and cardiac emergencies. The first day is a classroom session, but days two and three are usually outside at a local state park. "I can't give them every example, but I want to get them to think," Cousino says. "Our natural instinct is we want to run in and do something, but we need to assess the situation."
Jim Greene's survival class at Red Top will touch on first aid, but the class also teaches students what to do when something goes really wrong. Greene, a former Air Force survival instructor, will teach map and compass skills, firecraft, psychological survival, improvising with clothes and equipment, rescue signals and even point out edible grasses and nuts.
He says shows like "Man vs. Wild" and "Survivorman" have stirred interest in the skills. "Those TV shows created a desire for folks to test themselves," Greene says. "I've had pretty much everyone. The majority of the people are just regular people who get out."
Wilderness First Aid Certification ($125)
March 16-18; May 25-27; July 20-22
Leave No Trace Trainer ($150)
April 5-8; May 11-13
More info: chattanoogastate.edu
Southeastern School of Survival
Red Top Mountain State Park, Cartersville, Ga.
Wilderness Survival Training Intro Course ($195)
April 7-8; May 19-20; July 21-22
Advanced Survival Exercise ($395)
More info: southeastschoolofsurvival.com