About Outdoor Education at Earlham

The Outdoor Education Office at Earlham College helps promote the adventuresome spirit through safe, high quality experiential and outdoor education programs. By fostering the development of technical and interpersonal skills, students gain confidence through increasing competence. Our programs aim ultimately to develop strong leaders who can flexibly apply their skills and knowledge to a variety of situations.

Developing Leaders

hiking_turkeyrunThrough a combination of course work, trainings, and experiential practice in the field, the Outdoor Education program emphasizes the development of specific knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to lead groups and teach in outdoor associated settings. Leadership positions on month-long courses in Utah and Canada (August Wilderness and May Terms), our Miller Farm Sustainable Agriculture program, and other field-based courses and activities provide students with opportunities for in-depth, intensive study combined with real, hands-on teaching and learning.



Earlham has a national reputation for training outstanding outdoor and environmental educators. The unique combination of on-campus courses, field experiences, and leadership practicums provides an excellent opportunity for development of both technical and interpersonal skills. Graduates have gone on to careers in environmental education, park management, wilderness guiding, and youth social work. Recent Earlham alumni have found work with Outward Bound, the Student Conservation Association, the National Park Service, the National Outdoor Leadership School, and a variety of public and independent school settings.


Core Principles of the Outdoor Education Program

The Adventuresome Spirit
Viewing obstacles as challenges to be overcome. Actively seeking out opportunities to learn and to push oneself outside the "comfort zone." Living life in a "positive state of non-expectancy".

Sense of Place
A connection to the land we are traveling through such that we are not just tourists or passersby but, rather, we become changed by our relationship with the land and its stories.

Servant Leadership
Servant leadership is defined as the ability to think of others through the acquired skills of listening, observation, awareness, empathy, acceptance and foresight. It is the difference between caring "about" something or someone and "caring for" it.

The Contemplative Spirit
The art of contemplation and reflection is what brings meaning to our lives. It is also fundamental to the kind of deep and rigorous observation and scholarship we value at Earlham. On courses, there will be many opportunities to practice the contemplative spirit.

Simplicity and simple living is comprised of two parts: inward simplicity and outward simplicity. The two are, of course, connected. Inward simplicity can be defined by the priorities and goals that you have in your life and how you make decisions about them. Outward simplicity is how you manifest those priorities and goals to the world. Wilderness courses are all about simple living- both inwardly and outwardly. 

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