Wilderness First Aid

Wilderness First Aid & WFR Recertification Course Info 2019/20

Sponsored by UC Santa Cruz Recreation and NOLS Wilderness Medicine

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2019/20 COURSE DATES (click on course link for registration and more info):

Course Dates Cost Location (subject to change)
Wilderness First Aid #2 February 29 - March 1, 2020 $240 Stevenson 175
Wilderness First Aid #3 April 11 - April 12, 2020 $240 Stevenson 175
Wilderness First Aid #4 May 2 - May 3, 2020 $240 Stevenson 175

All classes are held from 8 am - 5 pm (plan to arrive 7:45 am on first day of class)



All WFA Courses are held at Stevenson or Cowell College. Specific room assignments can be seen above. 



Whether spending time in the backcountry is your passion or your profession, you should never have to ask, "What do I do now?" Prepare for the unexpected with this fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine. If you like to take short trips relatively close to medical resources, work at camps or lead wilderness trips, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, or recreate outdoors, this course is for you. You'll learn the Patient Assessment System, how to provide effective first aid treatments for injuries and illnesses common in the outdoors, how to manage environmental emergencies, and how to make appropriate evacuation decisions. You will spend half your time practicing skills and participating in realistic scenarios.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine’s course is approved by such organizations as the American Camp Association, the United States Coast Guard, and other state and federal agencies.

This course does not include CPR. If you also need CPR, please see our website for our upcoming course offerings, here!



Check in is at 7:45 am on the first day of the course. Course days run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The class format is classroom lectures integrated with practical scenarios. Attendance is required at all classes. Scenarios and practice sessions will take place both inside and outside. Please bring outdoor clothing appropriate for lying on the potentially wet, snowy, and/or cold ground playing the role of both rescuer and patient. Frequently stage (moulage) blood and make-up are used to emphasize the reality of a scenario.

Packing Checklist:

  • Notebook and pencil or pen
  • Watch with second hand or digital second
  • Waterproof outerwear top and bottoms
  • Clothing layers that allow you to be comfortable in a variety of weather conditions
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Light hiking boots or sturdy shoes
  • Water bottle, snack, and lunch (IMPORTANT NOTE: there are limited food options on campus near the course, please plan accordingly)
  • Light daypack
  • Slippers or comfortable shoes for classroom time (optional)
  • Camp chair for classroom time (optional)


For the full NOLS WFA course outline.



NOLS Wilderness Medicine certification holders may take a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course to recertify a WAFA, WFR or WEMT certification. Certification holders from other wilderness medicine training organizations cannot recertify through a Wilderness First Aid course. NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications will be afforded a one-year period after expiration within which to recertify. You should bring your certification card to the course so the instructor can verify the expiration date. For more information please visit our recertification policy at the following link: https://nols.edu/en/courses/wilderness-medicine/recertify/

The Wilderness First Aid course is an introductory course for individuals with no prior knowledge and generally does not include CPR. The preferred way to recertify your certification is to enroll in a Wilderness First Responder Recertification course, or through our Hybrid WFR Recertification course, which adds an online component in addition to traditional scenarios and skills. These courses are specifically designed for students needing recertification. You can find more information at the links below.

WFR-R: https://www.nols.edu/en/courses/courses/wilderness-first-responder-recertification-WFRR/

Hybrid WFR-R: https://www.nols.edu/en/courses/courses/hybrid-wilderness-first-responder-recertification-HWRR/

Participants using the WFA course to recertify their WFR will be required to pass both a written and a practical test. Check the following web page for information and resources on how to best prepare for your course: https://nols.edu/en/resources/wilderness-medicine-resources.



Tuition payment in full is required to reserve your spot in the course. Tuition is non-transferable. The tuition fee covers textbooks, syllabus, equipment and certification cards. NOLS is not obligated to allow any student to attend a course until all NOLS paperwork has been received, reviewed and approved by NOLS. A full refund will be given if we are forced to cancel the course for any reason.


Any student bringing pets to class will be asked to leave class until the pet is safely situated. No exceptions.



Please download this agreement and read it very carefully as it affects your legal rights.

Bring the two-page signed document to the first day of the course. If you are a minor, a parent or guardian must sign the document. Without a signed document, you cannot participate in the course.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine participants, including minors, will have unsupervised free time throughout the course. Any activities during the free time are not part of the NOLS Wilderness Medicine program and are at the sole risk of the participant. 



Pre-Course Access To College Credit: The WFA course is pre-approved for 0.5 semester hour credits through Western State Colorado University for an additional cost of $60. Thirty days prior to the NOLS Wilderness Medicine course, interested students must initiate registration and payment for credit by requesting the enrollment forms for Western from NOLS Wilderness Medicine.

On-Course Access To College Credit: The WFA course is pre-approved for one semester hour credit through the University of Utah for an additional cost of $95. If you are interested in receiving college credit, please inquire with your instructors on the first day of class for the necessary information.



Go to http://maps.ucsc.edu/ for directions to the campus and to the facility.

Directions to Campus:

Traveling from San Jose/Bay Area:

Take Highway 880 to Highway 17 South to Santa Cruz. Upon reaching Santa Cruz, take Highway 1 North towards Half Moon

Bay. Highway I turns into Mission Street. Travel along Mission and turn right at Bay Street. Bay takes you directly into the Main Entrance (east entrance) of UCSC.

Traveling from the South/Monterey Area:

Take Highway 1 North to Santa Cruz, towards Half Moon Bay. Highway 1 turns into Mission Street. Travel along Mission and turn right at Bay Street. Bay takes you directly into the Main Entrance (east entrance) of UCSC.

Directions to the Classroom:

The Wilderness First Aid Courses are taught at Stevenson or Cowell Colleges. Go to http://maps.ucsc.edu to download the appropriate map and locate the classrooms.



The UCSC campus is nestled in wooded hills above Santa Cruz, therefore finding parking and the classroom will take you more time. Please plan an extra 15-20 minutes to find parking and the classroom. For classes in Stevenson College consider parking in lots 109, 110 and if those are full the East Remote Lot. For the Wilderness First Responders it is best to park at the East Remote Lot. You will need to pay for parking during the week and in some lots on the weekend. For parking info and fees go to https://taps.ucsc.edu/ For information on Free Parking options: http://taps.ucsc.edu/parking/park-for-free.html


We do not provide on site lodging for this course. The following is a partial list of lodging available locally. You can email us for more options or visit the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Bureau at www.santacruz.org

Nearby hotels & campgrounds:

Mission Inn: (831)425-5455

Fairfield Inn & Suites Santa Cruz: (831)420-0777

Henry Cowell State Park: (800)444-PARK or go to reserveamerica.com

New Brighton State Beach: (800)444-PARK or go to reserveamerica.com

Santa Cruz Youth Hostel: (831)423-8304

KOA Watsonville/Monterey/Santa Cruz: (800)562-7701



We hope this information is helpful. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.


UC Santa Cruz Recreation

Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Phone: (831)459-2806 or (831)459-1693

email: drlewis@ucsc.edu or recreation@ucsc.edu

web: https://recreation.ucsc.edu


NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am to 5 pm Mountain Time

Phone: (800) 710-6657

Fax: (307) 332-1242

Email: wilderness_medicine@nols.edu

Website: https://www.nols.edu/en/about/wilderness-medicine/