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August Wilderness 50th Anniversary

August WildernessAugust Wilderness 50th Anniversary

2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Earlham Wilderness program, started in 1970 by a small group of Earlham faculty members dedicated to the value of experiential education. You can join the celebration!


Donate   |   Submit Your Stories   |   Plan a Trip   |   Homecoming 2020   |   Contact


Earlham’s Outdoor Education Program is integral to the Earlham experience. Ensure that future generations have access to Wilderness opportunities by donating. Watch this space and contact Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Alyssa Tegeler at for more information.

August Wilderness mountain trip student and faculty leaders, 2018.
Submit Your Stories
August Wilderness water trip, 2014.

We are compiling a book of Wilderness history and alumni experiences. We welcome your contribution! We are looking for stories of personal growth and discovery during Earlham Wilderness programs as well as logistical details of historical trips. The book will be available for purchase by Homecoming 2020.

Plan a Trip

Do you have an idea for a trip that you want to lead? Organize a trip for your fellow alumni and have some companionship for your travels. Please fill out the form below and we will post accepted trips above.

  • Broad intended outcomes to be experienced as a result of participation.
  • What is the purpose of the trip?
  • What is your trip philosophy?
  • How each goal is achieved; targeted outcomes to assess goal accomplishment
  • Create SMART goals
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Realistic
    • Time-bound
  • Correspond with participants early in the planning process to find out important information.
  • Age?
  • Group size? (20+ people should not be led into environmentally sensitive areas)
  • Gender?
  • Health considerations? Physical and mental abilities so you can provide accommodations?
  • Emergency contact?
  • Dietary restrictions?
  • Prior experience?
  • Motivation level? What are participant goals and motivations for participating?
  • Cultural backgrounds, religious practices, and gender roles?
  • What resources are available to support this expedition?
  • Budgeting
  • Can equipment be borrowed, traded, or rented?
  • What equipment and clothing will be needed?
  • WISE layering system
    • W- wicking layer- worn next to the skin to wick moisture away and to insulate. Long underwear, liner socks and gloves, and stocking caps
    • I- insulation layer- traps warm air against the body to ensure adequate warmth. It includes wool or fleece pants, fleece jackets, and gloves.
    • S- shell layer- water and windproof outer shell. Rain and wind gear made of treated nylon or other breathable fabric.
    • E- extra clothing- extra layers should be packed according to the environmental conditions and types of activities.
  • Personal equipment list
  • Group equipment list
  • Weather patterns for the area- high and low temps, wind speeds, etc.
  • Other environmental conditions- snow pack, water level, fire hazards, etc.
  • Fuel- if you are using camp stoves, fuel needs vary based on climate, altitude, size of group, food type, and stove type. Check manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • General rule for a typical white-gas backpacking stove is: pack a half liter of fuel per day for a group of 3 backpacking in the summer under moderate conditions.
  • What is the itinerary and energy control plan?
  • Itinerary: Can vary in detail but should consider leaders, participants, permit providers, etc.
  • Energy control plan
    • Energy miles- some miles require more energy than others.
    • Start time: estimated time a group will begin a hike
    • Estimated walking pace: estimated distance to be covered in an hour. Reflects the group’s fitness level, pack weight, weather, experience, and so on. Average of 1-2 miles per hour.
    • Linear miles to be covered: Route mileage is estimated using trip maps
    • Elevation gain and loss over the hike: for elevation gain and loss, expect to add “miles” to your calculations.
    • Break time: average amount of break time per hour and additional breaks for food and other activities.
    • Potential campsites: list daily destinations and backup options along the way
    • Hazards and attractions
    • Ending time: anticipated end time for the hike lets leaders estimate the total amount of time required to hike.
  • How does the group obtain proper access?
  • Make sure that you have appropriate permission to travel on public or private lands.
  • Tips to ensure good relations with private and public land managers:
    • Personally call or meet with appropriate representatives to inquire about access
    • Complete all paperwork in ample time
    • Pay appropriate fees and maintain copies of all permits and letters of permission
    • Offer to send the agency or landowner a copy of the trip plan
    • Thank individuals for their time even if you don’t have permission to use the land
    • Adhere to all regulations and wishes
    • Follow up with a thank-you note once the trip is complete
  • How will the menu be determined and food packed?
  • Calorie usage
    • Backpacking or canoeing- 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day on average
    • Difficult backpacking or snow camping- 3,000 to 3,7000 per day on average
    • Mountaineering or extended time in cold weather- 3,700 to 5,000 calories per day on average
  • Nutrient usage
    • 50-80% carbohydrate
    • 10-15% protein
    • 30% fat (only 10% saturated fat)
  • Rationing systems
    • Menu planning – contents of each mail are planned over trip. Convenient for short trips (2-5 days). Difficult to ensure nutrient breakdown.
    • Bulk rationing- buying food in bulk based on the weight of food consumed per day
  • What is the emergency plan?
  • Emergency Contact List – names, titles, primary phone numbers and alternative phone numbers.  Emergency rescue services for the area, the local sheriff, the land management agency or landowner, organizational emergency contacts, support staff, contractors, and the nearest hospital or medical services.
  • Evacuation- leaders must be aware of the nearest evacuation route.
  • Communications - satellite phones, cell phones, etc can be spotty
  • First Aid Procedures - provide aid at the level of your training and carry a first aid kit which reflects that training
  • Record-Keeping Procedures - be ready to record info in the event of an emergency for the rescue team
August Wilderness mountain trip students look at a map, 2018.
Homecoming 2020
August Wilderness alumni gathering, 2013.

Watch this space for Wilderness-specific events at Homecoming 2020. We plan to present highlights from the anniversary book.


Andy Clifford

Andy Clifford
Director of Outdoor & Environmental Education

Alyssa Tegeler

Alyssa Tegeler
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations

Margaret Lechner

Margaret Lechner

August Wilderness Student Leaders

Student Leaders from left to right: Jordan Lehman ‘19, Thea Clarkberg ‘22, Jessie Fanini ‘22 and Kai Kim ‘21.