The Wilderness Education Association (WEA) is a member-based and volunteer-driven association committed to the development of professional outdoor leaders and educators. Since its inception, hundreds of students, professionals, and academic programs have been impacted by the WEA model and vision for the professionalization of outdoor leadership. Petzoldt, Dr. Frank Lupton, Chuck Gregory, and Bob Christie founded the WEA in 1977 following a collaborative, experimental wilderness-based course with Lupton’s Western Illinois University students in the Wind River Range and Targhee National Forest of Wyoming. This seminal experience would become the inspiration and model for the educational methodology used by future WEA instructors and member organizations. 

Today, the WEA continues to serve the outdoor education and leadership industry through the development of professional standards, individual credentialing, and program accreditation.

WEA Mission

The mission of the Wilderness Education Association is to promote and support the professionalism of outdoor education and leadership by establishing standards through curriculum design, implementation, advocacy, and research-driven initiatives.

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