Willow Conley ’25 enjoys being in the great outdoors. She’s an avid hiker, and when she was younger she participated in a three-week camping class.
Conley, a biology major from Bluffton, South Carolina, decided to take her interest to another level during Interim, signing up for the Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival at Glendale course.
“Learning to live off the fewest supplies possible, or learning to live off the land is something that interested me, especially considering our reliance on manmade things,” says Conley. “The fact that you can live, not necessarily easily but with preparation, off such simple things is really appealing to me.”
Dr. Amy Telligman, assistant professor of environmental studies, and Dr. Youmi Efurd, Wofford’s museum curator, taught the class. They focused on wilderness first aid, land navigation with a topographic map and compass, wild shelter construction, animal tracking and trapping, and other basics such as building a fire and practical uses of knots and cordage. In addition, students developed leadership and communication abilities by working with a partner.
The class culminated with students building shelters and camping out on Jan. 30-31.
“We’re trying to do skills building so they can have some basic knowledge and feel comfortable going out hiking, camping or overnighting and be safe,” says Telligman. “We concentrated on first aid basics and key things to stay safe in the wild.”
Telligman says the idea for the class developed from her sustainability science class. In that class, students have to imagine a world where basic infrastructure and the power grid are disrupted, and they can’t easily get the resources they’re accustomed to.
“We talk a lot about what you would need to know or learn, but I thought it would be cool if we had a skills building class,” Telligman says. “What skills would you need to create a sustainable community if you didn’t have cars, energy and other resources? We’re re-skilling students in ways that are old-fashioned or with lost knowledge sets so they’ll be more adept at these things.”
Ben Marler ’25, an environmental studies major from Okatie, South Carolina, enjoys hunting and fishing. He says he signed up for the course to enhance his outdoors experience.
“I learned a lot of useful skills,” Marler says. “We learned how to build a shelter and did a lot of first aid training, like performing CPR and how to apply a tourniquet. We also had a class on knot-tying, and I found that super useful as well.”