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Woman Walking in Forest

Wilderness Stewardship Certificate

h.macslarrow - August 9, 2019

Wilderness management is a complex task.  In order to preserve wilderness, keep it wild and full of adventure, there must be educational paths for new managers.  We partnered with the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center to create The Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program, and online program for wilderness managers, stewards, researchers, volunteers, backcountry guides, students, and those interested in working in wilderness areas.  

The Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program program is a self-paced learning experience, supported by expert mentors, and based on best practices from the field and is beneficial for wilderness professionals and others interested in advancing their career potential and being better prepared for contributing to effective wilderness management and stewardship.

Starting in the Fall of 2018, two certificates will be available - The Fundamentals of Wilderness Stewardship and Visitor Use Management in Wilderness. 

These certificates offer a rigorous course of study for wilderness professionals interested in advancing their career potential in the National Wilderness Preservation System and being better prepared for contirubting effective wilderness stewardship.  Students complete their work over 6 months between September and May of each year.

The Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program relies on MENTORS to work with students throughout the certificate program.  Mentors are experts in wilderness, who share their knowledge and skills with colleagues to train the next generation of wilderness stewards.  

We are actively recruiting mentors fo the 2018/2019 academic year.  Interested parties will go through the online application process and interview with staff, and complete a 4-hour training webinar, 5 e-courses (roughly 10 hours of work), an assignment communication plan and a training assignment (roughly 1 hour each).  Throughout the academic year, mentors spend roughly 10 hours grading assignments, 1-4 hours in consultation with the student, and 5 hours in online forums and webinars.  Mentorship offers a terrific way to enhance your professional knowledge, build your resume, and give back to the wilderness sector.  Mentors receive an honorarium, gift, and free membership to the Society for Wilderness Stewardship.


Bob Dvorak

Dr. Bob Dvorak is a Professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration at Central Michigan University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota, and his master’s and PhD from the University of Montana. Born and raised in North Dakota, Bob has spent much of his life hiking, camping, and fishing in the Midwest. He gained a great love and appreciation for the outdoors at a young age. In particular, he has a strong attachment to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the north woods of Minnesota. Bob’s professional interests include wilderness and protected area management, examining visitors use issues, and understanding the relationships and attachments people form with wilderness areas. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Wilderness, Chair of the Board of Regents for the Wilderness Stewardship Certification Program, and a Leave No Trace Master Educator.  In his spare time, Bob enjoys camping, canoeing, hiking, and playing disc golf with his wife Lisa, and three sons Ben, Aiden, and Emmett.

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Jimmy Gaudry

Jimmy Gaudry is the Wilderness, Wild & Scenic Rivers and Guides Program Manager for the Northern Region of the U. S. Forest Service. He has worked for the Forest Service for over 20 years. He started his career as a volunteer Wilderness Ranger in Wyoming on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and later served as a Wilderness/Trails Technician and a Wilderness Specialist on several Forests in Colorado. Most recently, we worked as the Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Reivers Program Manager for the Southern Region of the Forest Service. He holds an M.S. in Park and Protected Area Management from Colorado State University. His day to day life includes raising a four-year-old son, Bridger, and a six-year-old daughter, Magnolia, with his wife, Malinda in Missoula, Montana.

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Steve Kimball

Steve Kimball is the Natural Resources Staff Officer for the Payette National Forest. Steve served as the Wilderness-Rivers-Guides Program Manager for the Forest Service’s Northern Region from 2012 to 2015.  He was the Wilderness-Rivers Program Manager for the Alaska Region and Tongass National Forest from 2010 to 2012.  Steve’s previous positions include Idaho National Fire Plan Coordinator, District Ranger in Idaho, Alaska, and Vermont, and Silviculturist at Mount St. Helens, Washington and other locations in the Pacific Northwest. He has a degree in Forest Management from the University of Minnesota and has completed graduate courses at Oregon State University and University of Washington.


Derrick Taff

Derrick Taff is an Assistant Research Professor in the Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management Department at Penn State University, and an ex-officio board member of the Society for Wilderness Stewardship. He has a background working in outdoor adventure program management, and experience working with the National Park Service. Most of his research and teaching topics are related to visitor use management in parks and protected areas, with an emphasis on Leave No Trace-related behaviors, soundscape management, and communication strategies that aid in protecting resource and social conditions.

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