American Wilderness Leadership School
A Professional Development Program
Nestled in the beautiful Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson, Wyoming, the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) provides the perfect atmosphere for educational programs. Established in 1976 with the vision of providing educators with a useful hands-on experience that they can bring home to their classrooms, AWLS has provided an accredited wildlife management program for 5,473 teachers who reach more than a million students annually, and a challenging experience for1,338 students.
The school offers six teacher sessions and one student session for ages 16-18. A registration fee of $900 covers meals, lodging, and round-trip ground transportation to and from the Jackson, Wyoming, airport.
John and Alane Wolner, Colorado: "The program was obviously initiated and managed with teachers in mind.From the hands on use of firearms, archery and lab skills to the curriculum instruction on Project Wild and Project Wet, we were shown how to incorporate a variety of approaches withour own students at our respective schools.It was very nice to work with a rich mix of teachers from elementary to secondary since the two of us represent both areas.We both found the activities we were involved with will be very useful in our classrooms.Most of all, we would like to thank you for the opportunity that reminded both of us that experiencing the natural world should and will be incorporated into the preparation of our youth for the lives they will lead as well rounded adults." (Read more testimonials)
Wildlife Ecology/Conservation: This is the main strand of classes in the educator workshop.Twelve hours of time is dedicated to covering the concepts/principles identified in the course. The program presents the positive role of hunters in wildlife ecology and science-based conservation. Pre- and post tests measure knowledge gained.Safari in a Box with its contents is used to demonstrate wildlife ecology concepts. Other classes and field trips support the core curriculum.
Field Trips: Ten hours of time is dedicated to off site field trips covering topics related to the main strand of classes.These are first hand interactions with practicing professionals in the field. Topics include managing habitat, managing populations, local land management, economic impact, fire ecology, federal and state policies in practice, viewing wildlife, archeology, and history. (Trips:Elk Refuge, Bureau of Land Management, Gas Fields, Big Game Migration corridor, Teton Park, Wyoming Game & Fish Dept, and Green River area).
Yellowstone Ecology: One evening class is dedicated to learning about the Yellowstone eco-system - wildlife management and land use within the park and with its neighbors, the ranchers.
Shooting: Nine hours is dedicated to shooting firearms.A firearms safety class introduces educators to pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders and rifles. It helps educators to feel comfortable and to build confidence in handling a firearm. Then, a full day of shooting a variety of firearms on the AWLS range helps provide support for shooting sports. The class ends with educators learning firearms mechanics via cleaning them.
National Archery in the Schools Program Certification NASP: A total of 8 hours of class time is dedicated to NASP.This class provides instruction in how to teach using NASP methods and equipment. At the end of the session each educator is certified as a NASP instructor. Educators learn about organizing a NASP or Community Archery Program in their school or community. The goal is to increase the number of youth participating in archery nationwide. SCIF and NASP are making history through this partnership – AWLS is the single location producing the most NASP certified instructors.
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs and Fly Tying:Bugs for beginners and understanding food chains is taught in this class. This 90-minute class introduces fly tying and enhances what is learned in Stream Ecology.
Outdoor Survival for Using the Outdoors as a Classroom: This two-hour class provides educators with knowledge and skills they need to ensure the safety of their students when they use the outdoors as a classroom. They learn what and how to teach their students to prepare themselves for their own outdoor experiences.
Journaling: Research demonstrates that experiential learning is effective and that reflection and journaling what is learned deepens the knowledge. Mark Twain said knowledge without experience is just information. There are several slots of time dedicated to individual reflection on what has been learned and responding in writing in a journal to questions, topics raised in wildlife ecology and other AWLS classes and experiences.
Stream Ecology: This is a two-hour class focused on demonstrating to educators how they can provide hands on instruction for their students as they learn about the eco system of a stream and how to keep it healthy. Educators will get the chance to get their hands dirty in Granite Creek, collecting stream samples and discussing the ecosystem stream side.
Putting It All Together: So much to sort out! How can I use what I learned with my students or in my community?This is a presentation of a number of instructional resources that educators can take home with them.It is a practica "how to" of what they can do in their classroom and in an outdoor classroom. This helps teachers to put together all they learned before they leave AWLS.
Recreation Opportunities: AWLS is full of learning that includes time for recreation. Educators have an opportunity to hike the West Ridge, sit in the hot springs, 3-D archery, and white water raft the Snake River.
Deputy Director of Education
SCI Foundation AWLS
October - May
SCIF Education Department
4800 West Gates Pass Road
Tucson, AZ 85745
May - October
9400 MacLeod Rd
Jackson, WY 83001
*SCI Foundation/AWLS is a permittee of the Bridger-Teton National Forest and is an equal opportunity service provider.