WINONA, Wis. (WXOW) – Winona State University brings the classroom outdoors.
Because of all of the town’s natural beauty, Eric Barnard, the school’s Outdoor Education, and Recreation Center Director, implemented an outdoor course.
In the winter, students and community members can experience ice wall climbing, and for most participants, it usually their first time trying it out.
“Its an amazing opportunity for personal growth and introspection for people, and we can see change in people in one day, sometimes just from stepping out of their comfort zone. If we can get people to be willing just to try and go a little bit too far out of their comfort zone, that’s kind of where the magic starts happening for people,” said Barnard.
The adventure does not stop when the ice wall melts. In the spring and fall, if weather allows, rock climbing is available every Tuesday night from 4 PM to sunset with professionals there to assist.
“The greatest attributes that we are just starting to realize is that everything here is so close. Within a two mile radius you can paddle on the greatest river in North America, mountain bike, single track rock climb, ice climb, snowshoe, Nordic ski, road ride. You can do all these things, hike without going no more than two miles from our campus,” said Barnard.
This course can also become more than a single memory; people can make it a career to become an outdoor instructor bye enrolling in Winona State’s Adventure Education Minor. Those who register in Winona State’s adventure education can expect to learn wilderness medicine, a rope course, and get national certifications.