Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Staying Alive! How the “Survivorman” is helping Costa Rica Outward Bound

It’s been said that knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. When it comes to putting knowledge of wilderness survival into practice, few do it better than Les Stroud.

Stroud was the host of the popular Discovery Channel program, Survivorman, and is also a filmmaker, outdoor adventurer, singer/songwriter and author. And it is his book, Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive, that Costa Rica Outward Bound will use this summer when it runs its very first Jungle Survival Course from July 17 through August 9.

“I reviewed several books about wilderness survival while we designed this course,” said Executive Director, Dr. James Rowe. “I found Stroud’s book to be both comprehensive for the needs of our course as well as accessible for our students.”

Stroud’s book covers a wide range of topics for a wide range of environments – including the rainforest. Chapters cover areas including trip planning and preparation, acquiring essential resources such as water, fire, food and shelter, and the psychological aspects of survival.

For example, he reviews the five mental keys to survival:
  • Maintain the will to live
  • Confront and manage the situation
  • Acquire knowledge
  • Adapt and use ingenuity
  • Go with the flow of nature

The easy-to-read text is peppered with engaging anecdotes, illustrative photos, as well as a host of very practical tips for staying healthy and safe in extreme conditions.

Lessons from the book – along with the local knowledge of our Tico instructors – will be taught throughout the Jungle Survival Course. Students will learn a range of practical survival skills including building a shelter from available materials, fire starting, finding drinkable water, and First Aid.

But it’s not all about survival. After all, this is still Costa Rica Outward Bound. The course spans an adventure-packed 24 days including raftingsurfinghiking, staying with indigenous families exploring volcanoes and participating in a service project.

This mix of fun and wilderness survival will be more than carried out by what Scott (our Associate Program Director) calls, "The Power Pair."

He's talking about Orlando Zamora (center photo) and Lisa Purul (photo on right). Orlando is arguably the most knowledgeable Tico when it comes to Costa Rica, the flora and fauna, and the environment in general. Simply put, he's our very own Tico MacGyver. And Lisa, well, let's just say she graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and won both the Tallahassee Marathon and the Great Floridian Ironman.

Survivorman (photo on left) may have a lot of knowledge to impart to Costa Rica Outward Bound, but Orlando and Lisa have a combined expertise level to disorient Mr. Survivor himself.

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