Managing Wildlands and Wild Spaces Certificate

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In this certificate you will learn the basic steps for decision making and management that are applied to federal wilderness areas, and how they can be interpreted and implemented on other, non-federal protected areas. These wildlands can benefit from the same systems and strategies the US government uses to identify the wilderness characteristics, develop plans for stewardship, manage visitor usage, and protect the natural resources.




About the Course

This certificate consists of six online courses that present a wildland planning framework for managing the many types of outdoor spaces we refer to as “wild.” Based on the concept of Wilderness Character, consisting of five qualities of wilderness, these courses describe a resource management and planning approach for wildlands of all sizes managed by state and local agencies, as well as private land trusts and other organizations.

Whether a natural preserve, forest park, greenway, or other wildland, these natural areas are managed to promote a sense of wilderness for visitors and the local community. Understanding the wildland character and qualities of any wild site will drive better stewardship of the wilderness resources.

Upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate issued by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University.

Course Schedule

This program allows for complete flexibility. You may take a couple of months or up to a year to complete the program. The Eppley Institute recommends that you complete one course and all companion assignments each month to ensure maximum retention and connection of material.

The certificate program includes the following elements:

  • Six self-paced, self-study e-courses
  • Course assessments and independent study assignments, which are reviewed by course instructors, with substantive feedback provided
  • A Distributed Learning Platform site for storage of work and feedback

Following the course, you will complete an assessment which requires you to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment you will be awarded an electronic certificate of completion.

Course Progression

  • What is Wilderness Character?
  • Talking About Wild Places and Spaces
  • Planing Wildlands
  • Strategies of Wildland Character Management
  • Monitoring Wildland Character
  • Special Scenarios in Wildlands

Course Objectives

After completing this course, learners should be able to:

  • Define and describe “wilderness character” and its qualities
  • Recognize how planning and management activities impact wilderness character
  • Identify wilderness and wild-like areas on the public lands with which they are familiar
  • Utilize wilderness values to inform management of near-wilderness and wild-like spaces
  • Select management approaches and tools to meet wilderness character goals
  • Determine specific management strategies for maintaining wild spaces

Recommended Background

Managing Wildlands and Wild Spaces is designed for resource managers and other staff working at state or local agencies, or private organizations that manage open space. No prior knowledge is required to complete this certificate.


Aside from an internet connection, what resources will I need for the course?

No additional resources are required for this course.

Will I get a certificate after completing the course?

Yes! All courses include a final assessment to evaluate your understanding of key course concepts. A certificate of completion will be offered to you if you complete the assessment with a score of 80% or higher.

Why should I take this course?

Each Eppley e-course is designed collaboratively among experienced instructional designers, subject matter experts, and our partner organizations and institutions. The course curriculum includes current information and best practices in the field, and it is recognized by national leaders in parks, recreation, and land management. Not only will this course benefit your career by expanding your knowledge base, but it will also enhance your application and problem-solving skills.

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