Contact Information: 
Chris McCart, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Outdoor Education
Black Hills State University
1200 University Street #9401
Spearfish, SD 57799
Office: 605-642-6027

Summer Office Hours: By appointment.

Office Location: Young Center Academic Offices; located past the gym balcony/fitness area through the far doors. Follow the signs.

Role: Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator in the BHSU Outdoor Education Program; an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program that combines studies in environmental education, interpretation, adventure education, and environmental science.

Education: Chris earned her Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire's Experiential Outdoor Education Program (2014). She holds a Masters of Science Degree in Biology, with an emphasis in Environmental Education, from South Dakota State University (1996), and Bachelors of Science Degrees in Environmental Management and Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Zoology, from South Dakota State University (1988). 

Research interests:  Effectiveness of outdoor ethics education programs, moral development, aquatic stewardship education programs, and non-formal education program evaluation. 

Service: Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program, Outdoor Gear Rental Program, Programs for Groups, several boards.

Work history: Since 2004, Chris has worked at BHSU with the Outdoor Education program. In 2008-2010, she was awarded an Archibald Bush Leadership Fellowship and a two-year leave of absence to begin work on her PhD at the University of New Hampshire. Previously, she worked as a naturalist/program coordinator for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks at The Outdoor Campus, coordinating fishing, hunting, outdoor pursuits, and natural history education programs. She also taught high school science, worked as a state park naturalist, coordinated a residential environmental education program, directed year-round camp and retreat programs, and led numerous adventure trips with camps in South Dakota, Idaho, and Washington, including backpacking trips, canoe trips, and ranch camps.

Certifications and trainings: Chris maintains her Wilderness First Responder, NAI Interpretive Trainer, ARC Small Craft Safety, ACA Kayak Level 2, Secondary Science Teacher, Leave No Trace Master Trainer, and NASP Archery Instructor-Trainer, and PCIA Single-Pitch Climbing Instructor & Climbing Wall Instructor certifications. She also has participated in a wide variety of trainings, including Outward Bound Instructor, ACA Canoe/Kayak (Level 3), Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, Project WET, the Leopold Education Project, PSIA Nordic, NOLS Risk Management, Project Adventure leadership and management, FFF Fly Casting Instructor, NAI Heritage Interpretation Training, AMGA Top Rope Site Manager, AMC Mountain Leadership School, and numerous educational technology workshops.

Professional memberships: National Association for Interpretation, North American Association for Environmental Education, Assocation for Outdoor Recreation and Education, the Association for Experiential Education, and the Association for Moral Education.

Selected projects:  EETAP Instructional Grant, WILD about Mountain Lions Education Project, NAI CIT Reviewer, Youth Climbing & Fitness grant, Linking Girls to the Land grant. In addition, Chris has coordinated numerous pre-service and in-service educator workshops for Project WILD, Project Learning Tree and The Leopold Education Project. At UNH, served as a teaching assistant for Water Based Experiences, Top-Rope Rock Climbing, Winter Backpacking, and Regression Analysis.

Recreational interests:  Fly fishing, cross country skiing, kayaking, backpacking, road biking, nature study, and trail running.

The mission of the BHSU Outdoor Education Program is to prepare competent, confident and caring outdoor education professionals.

2019 OEP Grads in front of wall

spring 2017 OE Grads b

Favorite Quotes

"You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give." E. O. Wilson

"Joy and inspiration don't come from comfort. They come from the same place fear does - from confronting something different and larger than ourselves, and not knowing what will happen next. The steps come in a million forms. They happen in climbing, skiing, kayaking, and they continue into our normal life. That is probably why adventure sports are so compelling. They present life in a microcosm, simplified and elemental, symbolically carrying life's biggest questions in a primal form. There's control and letting go, feeling safe and being scared, standing in the known and stepping into the unknown. We need faith in ourselves...a trust that we will learn the things we need to climb, paddle and live a full life." Doug Ammons

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity and stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Aldo Leopold

"The work of the guide implies abnegation. The guide does not go where he wants to go, but must go to the summit of which his client has dreamed. The guide does not climb for himself but primarily for the pleasure of the companion he is leading." Gaston Rebuffat

"I don't know exactly what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it is something we need to know." John Gierach