College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Policy

Not just a job... An adventure!

Sara Edwards (Society and Environmental Issues, 2012) has been employed for three summers as a guide in Glacier National Park.  

"guide" is any person who receives remuneration for his/her services in accompanying or assisting other persons in the fields, forests or on the waters (or ice) of our natural environment.   Guides must be experts in at least four areas: technical skills, education, risk management, and expedition planning; and and have substantial prior experience related to their practice e.g., backpacking, hunting, fishing, etc.  Guides are typically certified in CPR, Wilderness First Aid, NPS Bear Management Training, and -- if they are whitewater guides -- Swiftwater Rescue.  Additionally, they must become experts in the natural history, wildlife (plants and animals), and geology of the region they are working in; and complete rigorous written and practical exams to gain certification.  

Sara was an excellent student as an undergraduate, and was an active participant in the Maryland Adventure Program, for whom she led many trips as an undergraduate.  Guiding is not for everyone -- it requires academic knowledge, physical stamina, technical expertise and commitment to high quality service (even with grumpy clients or difficult weather conditions).  Additionally, most guides hold second jobs during the "off" seasons to make ends meet (Sara works at a state park in Virginia) -- but for those who enjoy sharing the wonders of nature in nature, it can't be beat!

To learn more about becoming a guide, go to the Canadian Professional Association of Wilderness Guides website, which offers an especially well-organized description of certification opportunities and requirements.  To learn more about becoming an environmental educator in tamer situations, go to the North American Association of Environmental Education for more information.

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