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BHSU’s Outdoor Education Program prepares students for professional careers across the broad field of outdoor education which includes adventure education, parks interpretation, and environmental education. Our students are grounded in experiential education theory and natural history knowledge. They develop their skills in outdoor pursuits, education methods, interpretive communications, and outdoor program management. They practice program delivery via our numerous partnerships with regional parks, nature centers, schools, and camps, as well as with BHSU’s Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program.

A degree in Outdoor Education from BHSU equips students for education careers in parks, nature centers, zoos, aquaria, natural resource management agencies, eco-tourism programs, camps, wilderness programs, 4-H extension programs, field stations, non-profits, lodges, and other locations that value hard-working, knowledgeable, well-rounded educators.


Personalize your program and develop a specialty area. Many students select certifications and minors in the following areas:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Historical Site Interpretation
  • Social Media
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Psychology
  • Business Administration

Careers in this Field

There are employment opportunities in a variety of sectors:
» 4-H Program Specialist
» Adventure Therapist
» Camp Director
» Challenge Course Facilitator 
» Environmental Educator
» Guide
» Naturalist
» Outdoor Program Social Media Specialist
» Outdoor Retail
»Parks Interpreter
» Resource Management Agency Information & Education Specialist
» Wilderness Trip Leader
» Youth Program Specialist

Jessica Alsaker in front of Mt. Rushmore.

Jessica Alsaker

Mt. Rushmore Intern
Experimental Learning

• Paid internships that match your interests
• Hands-on learning
• Outdoor skills classes like rock climbing, backpacking, canoeing, cross country skiing, orienteering, winter camping, SCUBA, & archery
• Sustainability field trips
• Wilderness First Responder Course instructed by the National Outdoor Leadership School
• Study abroad options
• Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program


Who We Are

The Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program (COLP) provides experience in planning and leading outdoor programs for the campus community.

What We Do

• Leadership Development: Attend orientations to become a “COLP Leader,” “ClimbingWall Supervisor,” “Trip Leader” or “Teaching Assistant.” • Student-Led Programs for Individuals: As a student leader, you will plan and lead outdoor activities for the campus community. Previous events have included: Rock climbing outings, lake and river paddling, fly fishing clinics, caving tours, 5K races, kayak rolling clinics, archery, shooting sports, and ice fishing. The COLP officers decide each year’s slate of programs. • Meetings: Active COLP members get together twice a month for “mini-programs” on topics such as Leave No Trace, Wilderness First Responder skills, knot tying, and more! • Programs for Groups Fundraiser: COLP Leaders plan and lead programs for groups of eight or more. • Outdoor Gear Rental Program: COLP, in partnership with the academic Outdoor Education program, rents outdoor gear to the BHSU community on Mondays and Fridays from 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Active COLP Leaders are able to rent outdoor gear for free for one week (with a $25 deposit)

Contact Info

Greg Strobel
Young Center, YC 203 Map
Phone: (605)642-6042

Outdoor Education
Black Hills State University
1200 University St.
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799