TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The College of Southern Idaho's Outdoor Recreation Program offers hands-on classes centered around enjoying Idaho's great outdoors.
The program has only been around for a few years, but with an unprecedented number of Idahoans enjoying the great outdoors, professors say the lessons the program is teaching about sustainability are important.
"Everyone noticed that uptick in trailheads being more crowded, rivers being more crowded, put-ins and take-outs being more crowded," said Mike Young, program manager of the Outdoor Rec Program. "They can pursue a professional track in the outdoor world like guiding and educating, or they can find a parallel track and they can focus on engineering or they could focus on business. they can focus on something else, that then they can apply their outdoor skills to directly or indirectly."
The program's classes teach students the skillsets they need to become successful
guides and recreationists, but also about being respectful of Idaho's outdoors.
"I'm super excited for people to be getting into the outdoor community right now, especially with this year," said Taylor Belin, a CSI student in the program. "I really want to learn how to teach people about how to treat the outdoors respectfully."
The hands-on element of the classes has been a challenge with COVID-19. Many of the program's classes are being held outside, and wearing masks has become a priority.
"It's definitely different and weird, but we all just have to adjust accordingly and make do with the situation we have," said Melissa Ault, a CSI student in the program.
For Celeste Sedano, her passion for the outdoors comes from wanting to share it with others.
"Sharing the beauty with everyone. With immigrants, with everyone who wants to enjoy it," Sedano said. "For those who haven't been outdoors and who want to get outdoors. Just teach others as much as I can, and translate for those who don't know English and still want to go out."