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SUNY Potsdam Wilderness students sharing Washington wilderness trek tales

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POTSDAM - Students from the Wilderness Education Program at SUNY Potsdam will speak about their experiences trekking through the Pasayten Wilderness in Washington state in a presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Kellas Hall Room 101. This presentation is free, and all are welcome to attend.

Members of the Leadership 2 class will discuss their recent 20-day expedition in the Paysaten, while members of the Leadership 1 class will talk about their 16-day expedition in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area in the Adirondacks.

For 20 days in August, six students from SUNY Potsdam traveled nearly 130 miles across the Pasayten Wilderness of Washington state. Designated a wilderness area in the late 1960s, the Pasayten consists of over a half million acres of wilderness located within the Okanagan and Mount Baker national forests.

While several wilderness locations were initially considered, the Pasayten eventually became the clear choice because it offered students diverse landscapes, and ecosystems not found on the East Coast. While in the Pasayten, Lead 2 students engaged in stream crossings, mountaineering and off-trail map and compass navigation.

The Lead 1 students spent 16 days in the Adirondacks this summer as well, with their expedition through the Siamese Ponds Wilderness. Siamese Ponds is one of the larger wilderness designated areas in the Adirondack Park. It contains more than 114,000 acres of forest preserve lands.

Lead 1 and 2 are courses geared toward students who have an interest in the outdoors and seek to further develop their skills and knowledge. Lead 1 typically spends 16 days in the Adirondacks, whereas Lead 2 typically spends 20 days out West. Each course aims to prepare students to go on to lead expeditions with their own groups, in addition to a number of other outdoor careers.

Because Lead 2 is a six-credit honors course, students take a primary role in planning, preparing and raising funds to support the trip. With the help of gracious donors, and the support of instructors Mark Simon and Adam Wheeler, each group was able to successfully complete their expeditions this summer.

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