Covering the Land of Lincoln

College of DuPage, Hinsdale District 86 partner on Outdoor Living Skills class

The College of DuPage’s Field and Experiential Learning division and Hinsdale Township’s 86 High School District Bridge program have encouraged students to learn outdoor living skills.

The first course offering started in 2019 when Justin Ladas, Bridge Case Manager of District 86 reached out to COD Experiential Education and Training Coordinator Gib Egge to work on a program for students in the Bridge program to ensure a seamless transition from to enable high school to cod.

To give these students a chance, Egge and Ladas developed a course in outdoor living skills for the group.

“We are grateful that our bridge program students are able to earn COD credits and learn more about recreational, nature and leadership skills through this course,” said Ladas.

Through the District 86 Bridge Program, students transitioning from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) strengthen their skills in executive skills necessary to manage schedules and coursework at the college level are. The students get to know the COD campus, the public transport systems and opportunities for social engagement.

In first grade in 2019, students traveled to Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, Starved Rock, and Matthiessen State Park, learning wilderness navigation, outdoor cooking, leave-no-trace outdoor ethics, and basic outdoor living skills while doing them who improve know each other and with the employees and become familiar with attending college courses.

Maren McKellin, manager of COD Field and Experiential Learning, Study Abroad, and Global Education, said partnering with District 86 is an opportunity for them to learn more about the community they serve.

“The Bridge program is another opportunity to connect with our wider community,” she said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to get in touch with a group of students very early on on their university trip, with whom we can share the many advantages of experiential education and our passion for nature.”

Last summer, students traveled to the Middle Fork River Forest Preserve and Kickapoo State Park near Champaign, Illinois. During a camping weekend, students enjoyed night hikes and learned camp crafts, wilderness navigation, and trail-less outdoor ethics.

“I don’t normally deal with this type of population, but the experience is always rewarding,” said Egge. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are using the finite resource that our public land is, and many of those people don’t know how to use these areas without harming them in one way or another, saying that all of them Students who have attended this class have gone as better stewards of the country. We hope they will teach others what they have learned. “

For more information or partnership inquiries, contact Egge at (630) 942-2787 or [email protected]

Learn more about Field Studies, Study Abroad and Global Education at

Learn more about the District 86 Bridge Program at

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