By Tate Stensgaard
1. Don’t flip a canoe
Through experience, I have found out I do not want to flip a canoe or kayak. During summer training, we had to flip in the pond to know what to do and how to help someone out if it ever happened. I found that it is not my best skill getting back in once I flipped. Knowing the proper way to get back in does not mean you know how to actually do it. While trying to get into the canoe with my partner, Jensen, I found it incredibly hard to get my lengthy body in after she had already jumped in so easily. Every time I would attempt to get in to paddle back to shore, I surely flipped the two of us back over numerous times until I finally got in and we ended up having Jensen dragging myself and the canoe in. So, easiest piece of advice I could give is to simply NOT flip your canoe.
2. Don’t be a hooker
While teaching at The Outdoor Campus, I have found the most nerve wracking thing to be is fishing on the dock with many kids. My fear is that while kids swing the fishing poles around like there is nobody there, someone will catch another student. We hope that every student will catch a fish, but pray that they don’t hook anyone else. There have been countless times a fish eats the worm off the hook and a student whips their pole in a full circle to have us put another on. Every single time it happens, my heart stops and I hope nobody is near the hook. When you are fishing, just be careful of where you are swinging your hooked line.
3. Don’t take home/pick up an animal
We all hear those stories of people picking up a baby buffalo, or baby deer they think is abandoned by their parents, so they feel sorry for it and want to do it good by picking it up to bring somewhere like the Outdoor Campus or Game, Fish and Parks office. Well here’s a good piece of advice…. DON’T. As lost and in need of help as the animals may look, they are usually going to be just fine on their own. If you are unsure if the animal is in need of help, don’t pick it up. It is better to call someone that is meant to help, than to pick it up when you don’t know what you’re doing. One of my favorite sayings at The Outdoor Campus is “if you care, leave it there.”
4. Don’t take the unbeaten path
Refer to Erica’s post about getting lost in the mountains if you want to know what being lost is like. I’ve never been lost because I’m too scared to be. So know where you’re going and tell someone where you plan to be.
5. Don’t forget sunscreen
My final tip for things not to do outdoors is to forget sunscreen. I have done this too many times and regret it every time. Being fair skinned, it takes 30 minutes on a sunny day to turn me as red as a tomato. The following days are miserable, everything is so much harder when every move you make, your shirt rubs your shoulders and the pain is miserable. For everyone that has been burned badly, you know the pain.
Tate is a naturalist intern at The Outdoor Campus this summer and is a recreation, park, and tourism management major at the University of Western Illinois.