Equipping Outdoor Educators & Leaders Since 1977 

Why Professional Outdoor Leadership Matters

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. Paul 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.

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Raising the Professional Bar: Become a Credentialed Outdoor Leader

Our courses equip outdoor leaders on how to uphold professional standards in the outdoor industry.

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Wilderness in a Changing World: Our 2021 Conference

How has wilderness education changed from its historic roots? What will it look like in the future? Wilderness education and outdoor leadership course delivery practices must keep pace with a changing society. We will explore how at our 2021 conference.

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"The value in WEA, for me as an outdoor educator, is in the outdoor skills content, a pathway to proficiency, acknowledgment of professionalism, and a community that supports individuals in all three pursuits. “

-Jamie Lewis Hedges-
Director, GOREC


"As a professor, one value the WEA provides is a launching point for students to see the importance of structure in outdoor education and leadership."

- Benjamin L. Rush, Ph.D -
University of Alaska - Valdez


"Through a network of scholars and practitioners, the WEA provides both standards against which we can review our practices and a gateway certificate program for entry-level through advanced outdoor leaders."

- Andrew Bobilya, Ph.D. -
Western Carolina University

Get In Touch

Our organization's strength is our professional network of colleagues in the outdoor industry. Let's connect.
Contact Us


Wilderness Education Association, Inc.
151 NC Highway 9, Ste B
Black Mountain, NC 28711
971.208.5751
nationaloffice@weainfo.org

© 2021 Wilderness Education Association, Inc.

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