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RPTA Slideshow
RPTA Slideshow
RPTA Slideshow
Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation is one of six concentrations in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration at Western Illinois University. Upon successful completion of the program, students can find employment in camps, state parks, federal agencies, resorts, outdoor education agencies, municipal parks and recreation systems, youth organizations, nature centers, and non profit groups.

Students have academic opportunities to develop the skills to organize, lead, and evaluate a variety of outdoor adventure programs. Students will develop novice to advanced technical skills in rock climbing, caving, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, and ropes course facilitation. Students who desire a wilderness leadership experience can apply for the Environmental Conservation and Outdoor Education Expedition (ECOEE). A minor in Outdoor Leadership is provided through the travel study program called ECOEE which focuses on leadership development, group processing, adventure programming, and outdoor living skills. This course emphasizes leadership development in the field of outdoor recreation involving skill acquisition in hiking, orienteering, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, and paddling.

ECOEE students have the opportunity to obtain a Wilderness Education Association Outdoor Leadership Certificate. In addition, all outdoor recreation students have the opportunity to receive the Leave No Trace Trainer Certificate through several of their classes. Students also have the option to participate in a Wilderness First Responder training each year. A national provider is brought in to facilitate this program. The course is nine days of intensive training for emergency care in a wilderness setting. Topics covered include patient assessment, body systems, equipment improvisation, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, back country medicine, and wilderness rescue.

Students have many unique opportunities to build technical skills and leadership ability. For example, students may be employed through Horn Field Campus and the Outdoor Pursuits component of campus recreation. Outdoor recreation students may serve as trip leaders for Outdoor Pursuits or facilitate the climbing tower, low ropes, and high ropes courses at Horn Field Campus, or lead trips for the various adventure clubs.