The ramifications of youths’ lack of engagement in the outdoor world, in outdoor traditions, is not only their long-term health (mental, physical, emotional, academic), it is the continuation of America’s conservation legacy. Without conservation minded individuals with a personal connection to the outdoors, all that has been protected, enhanced, conserved, for hikers and hunters alike, is threatened. The solution – targeting an age group that is ready to learn, that no longer needs parental participation, that has some expandable income, a means to travel, is able to overcome misperceptions when presented with the facts, knowledge and skills, and has a strong desire to belong to something new: our leaders of tomorrow: our college students of today.
The results to date are outstanding and as we bring additional partners on board, continue to strengthen the program, strengthen evaluation methods, and provide for the next steps, the results will be even greater.
As a result of the college outdoor field skills course, students, in pre and post evaluations stated the following as a result of their attendance:
- 99% will continue recreating outdoors outside of the course
- 98% increased their ability to recreate outdoors
- 74% will purchase licenses or revenue generating permits from their state wildlife agencies
- 58% will now participate in fishing, 37% will likely participate in fishing in the future
- 48% will now participate in hunting, 37% will likely participate in hunting in the future
- 61% attended for the sole purpose to gain the ability to participate in the outdoors and learn about wildlife
- 97% stated the course met or exceeded their expectations
- 98% will now encourage others to participate in outdoor pursuits
- 46% purchase equipment immediately following the course
- 95% of students enrolled in the College of Natural Resources stated the course increased their ability to work in the out-of-doors