What is the Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program?

…a professional development program

that builds credentials and increases capacity

in individuals, agencies, and organizations working with 

America’s National Wilderness Preservation System…


The WSCP was developed with the following goals:

  • to provide proactive and strategic succession management and personal growth opportunities for youth aspiring to work in wilderness and backcountry areas
  • to advance wilderness stewardship as a profession through continuing professional development
  • to create a community of practice among wilderness professionals by accelerating the spread of ideas, encouraging innovation, and providing a forum for peer-to-peer collaboration across land management agencies

To achieve these goals… The WSCP is developing a suite of certificate topics, including:

Fundamentals of Wilderness Stewardship

Coming Soon:

Wilderness Planning 

Wilderness Visitor Use Management

Wilderness Natural Resource Management

Wilderness Cultural-Paleo Resource Management

Managing Special Provisions for Wilderness

These specialty certificates build upon each other and vary in complexity, allowing students to progress through the learning experience in a logical manner – from learning, practice and examination, to application and assessment.


History The Wilderness Stewardship Certificate Program was born out of a collaboration between the Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center and the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public lands at Indiana University. Over the course of many years, more than 30 e-courses about wilderness management and related topics have been developed by these partners. The WSCP builds on these course offerings by bundling related courses, adding a mentorship component that strengthens the learning experience, and maintaining rigorous assessments and assignments tailored to each learner’s unique environment.


How it Works… The WSCP student registers for a certificate course of study via the Eppley Institute’s online learning catalog. Once registered, the journey begins with an introductory email from WSCP and pairing with one of the WSCP mentors. Over the next four months, the WSCP student and mentor progress through a competency-based educational program at their agreed-upon pace. Students typically have about four months to complete all coursework and earn a certificate in wilderness stewardship.Certificate Progression Flowchart_141015

Courses and Assignments: Each certificate topic has a curriculum of four to six e-courses and related tests and assignments. After the WSCP student completes each online course and its assessment, he or she discusses the related assignment topics with the mentor. The mentor and student work together to determine the wilderness setting on which the assignments are based. Each assignment is based on the student’s wilderness setting, and the assignments build upon each other. The mentor reviews and grades each assignment, and the student and mentor discuss it before moving on to the next e-course in the curriculum. The final ‘capstone’ assignment is reviewed by both the student’s mentor and another WSCP mentor and then feedback is provided to the student.

Kate Wiltz Written by:

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