ADVENTURES IN LEARNING

A parks and recreation management class produces guidebooks to area outdoor attractions

By TERESA KILLIAN TATE

Student-created booklets detailing where to enjoy fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, snow sports, waterfalls and whitewater paddling close to Western Carolina University have been posted online and printed, and a guide about climbing is coming soon. The recently released Whee Adventure Guides were developed as part of a class project completed by students in the parks and recreation management course “High Adventure Travel and Outfitting.”

“When I first introduced this project to the students last spring, there was unanimous agreement that the previous guides needed to be updated and definitely printed in color this time around,” said Debby Singleton, coordinator of health liberal studies and instructor of parks and recreation management and health and physical education.

The students reviewed guides produced in 2005 and formed groups to update them by researching and rewriting content, visiting adventure locations and taking photographs. They also developed a timeline for project completion with deadlines for each section and a grading rubric with points. The group, working with university designer Shannon Cronkrite, created full-color, foldable guides and discussed the process of getting them in a printable format. Photos selected for the guides were submitted by students, the instructor, Base Camp Cullowhee staff, Todd Murdock ’85 MAEd ’93 from Educational Talent Search-Project Discovery, Cataloochee Ski Area, and university photographers Mark Haskett ’87 and Ashley T. Evans.

Students also researched funding options and applied for and won a $600 grant from the Honors College to print 150 copies of each guide at the print shop on campus, said Singleton. “These Whee Adventure Guides are not just a class project that demonstrates synthesis of learning,” she said. “They are also a valuable tool for students, parents and visitors to use to explore the abundance of outdoor opportunities close to Cullowhee.”

The printed guides are now available in Reid Gym, Base Camp Cullowhee, Human Services Department and the Honors College, and Singleton said she and the students hope other departments interested in using them will help with future printing costs. Meanwhile, Carla Parrish ’05 MS ’10, administrative support associate assisting with technology needs in the College of Education and Allied Professions, created a website where the guides can be downloaded and printed, and linked it to the parks and recreation management website.

Singleton cited the project as a great example of WCU’s Quality Enhancement Plan and said students working in the field of parks and recreation management will most likely have to create maps, guides, program brochures or other pieces during their careers. “They may not be graphic designers, but they need to be able to articulate their ideas and work with creative professionals,” she said. “The class’ main focus is on adventure travel – history, risk and safety implications, trip planning and logistics, trends, and ethical issues. Although we explore national and international adventure travel, I also wanted students to understand that adventure travel happens in their local areas as well, which is evident from the multitude of activities we have close to Cullowhee.”

Click here to download the guides.