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“Learning Outdoors” Discussed on Television Program

111402outdoors_dl.jpgBOONE– Using nature as a teaching tool is the topic of “Learning Outdoors,” the latest episode of the cable television program “Appalachian Perspective.”

It airs locally beginning Nov. 18.

Appalachian State University’s Chancellor Francis T. Borkowski hosts the 30-minute program which features Rich Campbell and Dave Hutchison, two coordinators in the university’s Outdoor Programs.

More than 25 percent of Appalachian students participate in Outdoor Programs activities, which include organized day hikes, rock climbing, caving expeditions, backpacking, river rafting, weeklong kayaking treks in other states, and other outdoor adventures.

Besides offering fun, the activities give students opportunities to build their self-confidence, work ethic and ability to work on a team–skills that can help them in the classroom and the workplace.

“Students respond really well in these learning environments–they learn about each other, they learn a lot about themselves, and they get to take responsibility for their own actions… Students who challenge themselves to do something, like climb a rock face that they never thought they could climb, gain a lot to support them later on. That’s the core of these programs–challenge and growth,” says Campbell.

As an example, Hutchison explains that a student on First Ascent, a four-day backpacking trip designed as an orientation program for freshmen, started out with a strong fear of woodland creatures. “It was a real challenge for her, but with the help of friends on the trip and the trip leaders she was able to talk about the realities of what’s out there. She was able to overcome her fears and had a great experience,” he says.

“Hopefully when they face a challenge in the academic setting they’ll fall back on this and say, ‘I can get through this.'”

Outdoor Programs also operates the Alpine Tower ropes course and the Group Interaction Course. Located near campus in Appalachian’s nature preserve, both courses are used frequently by academic classes.

Watauga County viewers can watch “Appalachian Perspective” weekdays at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Charter Communication’s Channel 39, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Channel 2, and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on Channel 18. The episode “Learning Outdoors” airs locally Nov. 18 through mid-December.

“Appalachian Perspective” is a production of Appalachian’s Department of Communication and University Advancement Division’s Office of Public Affairs. For more information, contact Producer Linda Coutant at (828) 262-2342 or