After five years of visioning and development, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute is going big into the outdoors. Really big.
The Institute has officially launched Outdoor Pursuits, which oversees outdoor recreation services and experiences for the campus community. This includes Outdoor Orientation, weekend outings and trips, the campus bouldering wall, a Nordic ski center and trails, a logistical support center to assist academic field-based classes and recreational programs, and the Outpost, providing gear rental for campus and the greater community.
“Rooted in the philosophy of Sigurd F. Olson, Outdoor Pursuits curates experiences and services which help students develop a sense of place in our region as well as a sense of belonging within the Northland culture of connecting with others in the out-of-doors,” said Evan Coulson, Bro Professor of Sustainable Regional Development and assistant professor of outdoor education.
Piloted last year, Outdoor Pursuits facilitated ninety different outings and trips for 563 participants. Student trip leaders shared their passion for the outdoors and led their fellow students along the tranquil bends of the Namekagon River, the historic winding trails of Forest Lodge, and through the snow-laden hemlocks of Sylvania Wilderness among other destinations.
Most trips are within fifty miles of campus.
“What excites me most about the program’s approach to this work is that it’s for students, by students,” Coulson said.
Students have filled the calendar with an outing or trip nearly every weekend that classes are in session, kicking off with a sea kayaking adventure on September 11. From there it’s on to canoeing, Bayfield apple picking and cider pressing, the seventh Annual Starlight Ramble Bike Ride and so on.
“We are thrilled to finally be at this point that’s been years in the making, to welcome new and returning students into the Outdoor Pursuits family whether they see themselves leading as staff or joining in the fun as participants,” said Ellie Priester ’21, one of the Outdoor Pursuits professional staff.
Where to find us.
The Outpost gear rental shop is in the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute.
The Nordic ski center is in the basement of the Ponzio Campus Center.
The Logistical Support Center is in the basement of the Center for Science and the Environment provides gear and rations for trips and academic field courses.