OUTSIDE…..Students Learn Outdoor Skills


Hands-on learning in North Idaho College’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership program was unaffected by freezing temperatures on February 23.

Students in the Intro to Outdoor Cooking class drove to a frozen campus parking lot for their day’s assignment – cooking a breakfast casserole and cookies from scratch using coal-fired Dutch ovens and gas camping stoves.

Outdoor activities coordinator and course instructor Jacob Rothrock said the group of 11 students have been spending every Wednesday this semester cooking without the benefit of an indoor kitchen.

“The program started on day one with how to make great coffee,” Rothrock said. “We used at least six different methods to brew coffee outdoors.”

The class spends time learning cooking techniques, tools and recipes outside of the traditional indoor kitchen as part of a program that also allows students to learn whitewater guiding, winter skills in the backcountry and wilderness ethics and interpretation.

Although the Introductory Outdoor Cooking class is only available to students enrolled in the program, Rothrock said there is enough demand to run community one-day outdoor cooking classes as well. air at least once per semester.

“He’s been very popular,” Rothrock said. “Registrations were full with a waiting list each time.”

NIC Outdoor Pursuits has planned a Dutch oven cooking class open to the community through the Workforce Training Center this semester, but Rothrock said registrations filled up so quickly for the 11 March that they decided to schedule more community classes.

Registration is open for a second class from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, March 18, at McClain Hall on NIC’s main campus in Coeur d’Alene. The course is open to the public and costs $55. Registration is open at nic.edu/wtc/dutchoven.

Rothrock said a third community course scheduled for June will be available to the public and registration will open in mid-March through the WTC registration portal.

The success of the NIC Outdoor Leadership program expands the skills taught to students. Rothrock said the Wednesday cooking crew will also begin experimenting with a new outdoor cooking tool — a Harvest Right freeze dryer funded by a grant from the North Idaho College Foundation.

The freeze dryer will allow students to store meals so they are compact, lightweight and easy to prepare in the field by adding water and heating as needed. Rothrock said any leftovers from Wednesday’s session were directed to the freeze dryer to help program staff and students better understand how the machine works and affects food.

“Once we get it dialed in and figure out how it works best, my goal is that we’ll be able to cook our own food for all the trips we do in a semester with NIC Outdoor Pursuits. “, said Rothrock.

Each semester, NIC Outdoor Pursuits, part of NIC’s Student Wellness and Recreation Program, organizes a number of outdoor adventures for students on campus. Trips this semester include yurt camping at Silver Mountain, hiking along the Snake River, rafting the Grand Ronde River, and surfing the Oregon Coast.

Outdoor Recreation Leadership student Trysta Ledgerwood spent Wednesday cooking a vegan breakfast casserole in a Dutch oven and said the program provides a unique college experience.

“For people who don’t like the traditional classroom setting, this is a really great program,” Ledgerwood said. “There’s a sense of community, which is really nice, and the thing is, jobs like these aren’t going away. In retail, for example, there are now self-checkouts, so cashier jobs will eventually disappear, but outdoor recreation jobs will still be there.

The value of spending time outdoors will continue to grow in our increasingly digital society, said Heather Neill, who took a break from her job as a Montessori teacher to enroll in NIC’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership program. .

“Bringing kids outside to experience the outdoors and learn new skills not only empowers them and gives them confidence, but also gives them independence and hopefully starts their fire for them to enjoy. be interested in doing things like that because right now in education we’re doing a lot of things in front of the screen,” Neill said.

As for her own continuing education, Neill said she was nervous about enrolling in the program, but quickly learned that the NIC Outdoor Recreation Leadership program is for everyone.

“At first I was a little intimidated and wondering if I could follow everyone else, but anyone with a passion for the outdoors can do it,” Neill said.

For more information about the Outdoor Recreation Leadership program, contact Paul Chivvis at 208-676-7169 or paul.chivvis@nic.edu.

For more information about NIC Outdoor Pursuits, contact Outdoor Pursuits Coordinator Jacob Rothrock at 208-769-7809 or Jacob.rothrock@nic.edu.

For a complete list of outdoor activities this spring, visit nic.edu/op.

Photo 1: North Idaho College students Trysta Ledgerwood and Hannah Smith arrange coals on a Dutch oven during an introductory outdoor cooking class Feb. 23 at NIC’s McClain Hall. /Elli Oba, College of Northern Idaho

Photo 2: NIC student Hannah Smith measures flour for making cookies in a Dutch oven during an introductory outdoor cooking class February 23 at NIC’s McClain Hall. /Elli Oba, College of Northern Idaho

Photo 3: NIC student Luke Vogel prepares coals for Dutch ovens during an introductory outdoor cooking class February 23 at NIC’s McClain Hall. /Elli Oba, College of Northern Idaho

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