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Adventure class backpacks through the Great Smoky Mountains


Students in the School of Human Ecology’s Adventure Education class took the trip of a lifetime Oct. 21-23 when they hiked through the Great Smoky Mountains.

John Peden, Ph.D., associate professor of recreation and tourism management, Barry Joyner, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, and eight recreation students backpacked roughly 12 miles through Sunkota Ridge, primitively camped for two nights and visited Indian Creek Falls.

During the trip, students were designated as leaders for different portions of the day and were responsible for guiding the group.

“Students learn to plan and organize all aspects of the trip, including site selection, logistics, food, equipment, risk management, transportation and budgeting,” said Peden. “They work as a team to assemble a detailed trip plan, which must be approved by the instructor prior to departure. Students lead the trip in teams of two, serving as designated leaders who are responsible for decision-making and facilitation of group activities.”

As a first time backpacker, Taylor Wozniacki, senior recreation student, is grateful for the Adventure Education course and what she learned from this journey.

“The trip allowed me to develop relationships with my classmates, Dr. Peden and Dr. Joyner,” said Wozniacki. “Spending time outside does a beautiful thing of bringing people together in a unique way, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to be part of the Recreation Program and the Adventure Education class.”

This is the 40th Adventure Education course trip that Peden has led, and he certainly plans to continue taking unique trips every semester with his students.

“I feel that this was perhaps the best experience I’ve ever had with a class,” said James Crockett, junior recreation student. “Being able to apply what I’ve learned in a natural setting did not only deepened my understanding of core concepts, but it also solidified my desire to work in this field.”

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Posted in CHHS, Newsletter, School of Human Ecology