Wilderness Experiential Education

Outdoor experiential learning programs help students develop increased self-reliance, a  stronger connection to their peers, and a sense of responsibility to themselves, others, and the natural world

Partnering with experienced, professional guides at DBA ensures a safe and secure experience for your students and staff.

The DBA Difference

Experienced, professional guides:  Our team of guides draws from a wide-range of backgrounds in education, experiential learning, youth programming, and team-building. Our lead guides are all NYS Licensed Outdoor Guides with decades of combined guiding experience.

Logistics: From pre-trip gear arrangements, to transportation, menu planning that covers all dietary needs, and detailed daily itineraries, we can guide you through each part of our experiential learning adventure. We follow all NYS hiking, camping, and wilderness/backcountry regulations. 

Safety: Our guides have wilderness first aid certifications. We have detailed emergency plans and procedures and extensive liability insurance. 

Catskill and Adirondack Specialists: Our intimate knowledge of the Catskill and Adirondack regions allow us to design a program that aligns with your institutions's mission and learning outcomes. We can choose trails and wilderness destinations in the backcountry that focus on geology, wildlife, local history, and more.

Strong partner network: We work directly with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to secure proper backcountry permits for all adventures, as well as Leave No Trace Master Educators, the Catskill Interpretive Center, and more. 

"Besides being extremely experienced and professional outdoor guides, Dave and his crew from Destination Backcountry understand and connect with kids in authentic and meaningful ways. Each day we were with them, the guides, through both word and deed helped our kids understand the importance of both independence and pushing yourself beyond your limits and interdependence and the importance of being a fully integrated member of a group."

Karl Palmgren, Head of Upper School, New Caanan Country School

Benefits of Experiential Outdoor Education

The scientifically proven benefits of outdoor experiential education have been well documented in many studies, a few include: 

Resiliency and self-confidence

Communication and team-building

Technology detox

Accessible by any learning style

Regard for the natural world

New knowledge and skills

Carry over to daily life

"I have been passionate about education since my first full time job as a high school teacher in Connecticut. When I became an outdoor guide, I found my calling helping adults form a closer bond with nature. Creating our school experiential education program brought together these two passions and is the most meaningful work I've done as an outdoor guide and educator, seeing the incredible transformation students experience in just a few days in a wilderness setting."

—Dave DiCerbo, Founder, Destination Backcountry Adventures

Sample Itineraries

We work with each school to customize the perfect itinerary for their goals, students, and requirements. Here are a few of our most popular offerings. 

Multi-night wilderness basecamp: Three day backcountry backpacking trip, including Leave No Trace course, climbing a mountain, and map & compass practice.

Overnight canoe trip: Paddling trip focused on team-building and developing an understanding of stream and river ecosystems.

On-campus psychology of survival class: Learn the principles of survival on-campus before testing out new skills in an off-campus wilderness adventure.

School Adventure FAQs

What kind of accommodations can we arrange for students?

For overnight adventures, we only offer wilderness experiences, where students sleep in tents or under tarps. We do not offer indoor accommodations for our trips. 

Do you have liability insurance?

We have general liability insurance that covers our adventures. Please contact us directly with more specific questions.

What emergency procedures do you have in place?

We have extensive emergency procedures outlined in our Guide Manual, which we gladly share with interested schools. Please contact us for more information.

Do you teach Leave No Trace Principles?

Yes! We also work with LNT Master Educator partners who can open your adventure with an LNT lesson.