Some of the adventurous students who traveled to Devil’s Lake State Park for a weekend outing.

As coordinator of the revitalized Outdoor Leadership program, Colin Norris ’13 aims to create a robust program of educational outdoor recreation activities utilizing the vast natural surroundings with which Saint Mary’s University is blessed. A snowy stargazing hike was among the first of many planned events this spring, which include camping at Devil’s Lake, Wis.; a visit to the International Crane Foundation; kayaking on the river; climbing Sugar Loaf bluff; and a campus cleanup and restoration of fire pits. Next school year could include ambitious treks to the Boundary Waters or to a western national park, and winter camping.

Outdoor Leadership adds to the vibrant campus and residential life experience, and helps Saint Mary’s realize its mission to develop students for ethical lives of service and leadership. Students will be trained to help plan and lead outdoor activities and educational programming. Through these activities, students will gain knowledge and grow in identity, leadership, fellowship, and stewardship of nature—and also have some fun.

Students have many opportunities available on our beautiful Winona Campus, including the 18K trails for walking, jogging, and skiing; a high and low ropes course; and a disc golf course. Additionally, the campus is located near the Mississippi River, with easy access via our Prairie Island field station. The university has available for checkout a fleet of canoes and kayaks, cross country skis, and camping equipment.

Beyond campus, Winona (recently named “prettiest” town in Minnesota by Expedia) is quickly gaining a reputation as “heaven” for outdoor recreation facilities and winter resources such as fat tire biking, a public ice skating rink, ice fishing, and even an ice climbing wall. In warmer months, the possibilities are endless.