Outdoor Education and Stewardship at Adams State University

Ever wondered what it would be like to work outside for a living? How about having a career that connects you to nature or inspires others to enjoy the outdoors and care for our natural resources? If you like hiking, camping, fishing, paddling rivers, climbing mountains, and would like to know more about how to turn that interest into a fulfilling career, look no further! The B.A. in Outdoor Education and Stewardship (OES) will immerse you in hands-on learning experiences preparing you to be an outdoor professional.

The OES is designed to give our graduates flexibility in adapting to changes in jobs and careers. Students gain knowledge and skills through classroom and numerous field based experiences in

  • Technical outdoor skills
  • Risk management
  • Teaching
  • Environmental ethics
  • Resource stewardship
  • Leadership theory and practice
  • Group development and facilitation
  • Recreation program design and management

The interdisciplinary approach for the OES degree prepares students to work in the diverse and growing field of Outdoor Recreation. The national data shows that outdoor recreation economy generates 7.6 million jobs and consumers spend $887 billion on outdoor recreation. The outdoor recreation industry is vast and outdoor recreation remains a vital part of our nation’s culture, heritage, and future. OES graduates are ready to not just lead outdoor recreation activities, but to be part of the solution to our world’s need for ecologically conscious leaders who practice and inspire stewardship of our natural resources.  Located within the department of Biology and Geosciences, the OES degree at Adams State deepens students’ knowledge of ecology through a unique emphasis on stewardship and the application of environmental science, complementing your desire to care for and protect wild places.

Bachelor of Arts in Outdoor Education and Stewardship

with areas of emphasis in

  • Adventure Education emphasis prepares students to lead, facilitate, and engage with adventure recreation programming for a variety of diverse populations, activities, and objectives. This degree track is a good match for students interested in guiding, working as outdoor programmers for colleges and municipal recreation departments, or working for outdoor recreation companies.
  • Environmental Education emphasis is for students interested in leading or interacting with programs and services that emphasize environmental education, stewardship, or outfitting.This degree track is a good match for students interested in working in environmental conservation and stewardship efforts. There are a variety of possible jobs with state, federal or non-profit agencies and organizations.

Minor in Outdoor Education Stewardship

Complementing any major with a minor is OES will give you an extra edge in pursuing your career. Students will take courses that build foundational knowledge of outdoor recreation and experiential education. Students then select from a variety of options to create a degree plan that matches their interest in disciplines such as adventure recreation, environmental education, or stewardship.


Terry Dupler
Admissions: 800-824-6494

Outdoor Education and Stewardship Program Highlights

San Luis Valley

The San Luis Valley is home to the headwaters of the Rio Grande which is the lifeline of our rich cultural and agricultural heritage. This remarkable region of Colorado includes the Great Sand Dunes National Park, 2 million acres of public lands including wetlands, wilderness areas, and 14ers, and people who are invested in the life and well-being of their communities. Here you will explore, learn, grow, and share your passion for the outdoors. Here you will shape your future.


Outdoor Education and Stewardship Program Outcomes

Colorado outdoor recreation industry jobs
22 Billion
Annual consumer spending in Colorado outdoor recreation

Your interest in outdoor recreation can evolve into an exciting career through a degree in Outdoor Education and Stewardship (OES). Whether you want to guide adventure trips, teach environmental education, work for a camp, be a park ranger, or an outfitter this program will prepare you to be an outdoor professional.

Leadership Skills

Oral and Written Communication
Judgment and Decision-Making
Assessing skills
Program design and evaluation
Teaching and Facilitation

Field Experience

Risk Management
Rock and Ice Climbing
Kayaking and Canoeing
Mountain Biking
Winter travel and camping
Challenge Course Facilitation
Wilderness Medicine
Trail design and maintenance


Parks and Recreation
Adventure Guiding Services
Wilderness Therapy
Outfitter and Guide Services
Environmental Education
Natural Resource Management
Outdoor Camps
Dude Ranches
Outdoor Retail

Hands-On Learning

Two week backpacking course
Dozens of field based experiences
200 hours of program facilitation
400 hour internship

Outdoor Education and Stewardship Program Faculty

Dupler Terry HPPE
Terry Dupler

Outdoor Education and Stewardship Program Curriculum

Explore Some of Our Courses

OES 200 Foundations of Outdoor Leadership (3 Credits)

This course is an overview of the history, theories, concepts, and practices that constitute outdoor leadership professional practice. Students learn a competency based approach to the development of an outdoor leader. Topics include historical and philosophical foundations of outdoor recreation and education, theories of leadership, judgment and decision making, teaching and facilitation, safety and risk management, and environmental stewardship.

OES 261 Outdoor Leadership Expedition (6 Credits)

This is a field immersion experience to develop and practice outdoor leadership. Students participate in a two week backpacking expedition to learn and apply principles and strategies for minimum impact environmental ethics, risk management, teaching, and leadership.

OES 370 Environmental Stewardship (3 Credits)

This course immerses students into conservation practices and stewardship. Hands-on experience participating in local stewardship projects with nonprofit, federal, and state agencies will be a primary component of the course. Students will learn professional approaches and strategies for recreational trail design, maintenance and habitat restoration. Students participate in a variety of learning experiences in various locations throughout the San Luis Valley.