FPU Wilderness

Sierra Wilderness group hike

FPU Wilderness: Think Outside

On clear days from FPU you can see a swath of the Sierra Nevada—from the Clark Range of Yosemite National Park in the North to the Kaweah Range of Sequoia National Park in the South, the views are unparalleled. This is the FPU Wilderness classroom.

Through FPU Wilderness programs, you’ll learn and play on mountaintops, the coast, along the San Joaquin River and in the deserts of California. In this extension of the traditional classroom you’ll get an opportunity to study in an unconventional way, integrating wilderness experiences with rigorous academics.

In the tradition of John Muir, “The mountains are calling, and [we] must go.”

Mission Statement

FPU Wilderness seeks to transform students by creating wilderness-based communities of learning marked by exposure to the beauty and power of nature, open access for all, holistic reflection, growth in character and commitment to the ethical responsibilities of creational stewardship

FPU Wilderness Programs

Sierra Summer

The hallmark of FPU Wilderness is a month-long immersion. Students spend three days on an introductory backpacking trip, followed by a 10-day base camp exploring philosophical and theological ideas around environmentalism. After base camp, students embark on a second, 10-day backpacking trek in the Sierra Nevada. The month is capped with a brief return to base camp for a celebration of the learning, experiences and friendships forged.Students complete 6-7 units of their general education requirements. Courses may vary from year to year. Please contact the operations director katie.burns@fresno.edu or project director nathan.carson@fresno.edu for a current list.

Wilderness Getaways

Wilderness Getaways are a low-cost option for you to explore outside. Designed to create opportunities for both the novice and experienced, trip offerings range from half-day moderate hiking trips to overnight backpacking trips to beach camping trips.

Wilderness Bridge

Embark on a short (four-day, three-night) trip offered before New Student Orientation. Incoming students, faculty and peer mentors spend time outdoors together to forge community, build relationships and prepare for the year ahead. The Wilderness Bridge program is designed to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone, while also creating safe space to ask questions and learn more about the college experience.   

Student Guide Program

 Many students return from the Sierra Summer or Wilderness Getaways to discover that they have fallen in love with the outdoors and have a growing desire to gain more experience and develop more skills. In response, the Student Guide program allows students to participate in skills training courses, special guide training trips and, for those meeting specific qualifications, provides the opportunity to help lead Wilderness Getaway trips. 

To participate in the guide program, contact the Katie Burns, operations director, at katie.burns@fresno.edu

Katie Burns
Katie Burns

Clinical Instructor
& Sierra and Wilderness Operations Director
559-453-7138
katie.burns@fresno.edu


Nathan Carson
Nathan Carson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
& Program Director of Philosophy B.A.
& Director, FPU Wilderness Programs
MCD 214
559-453-2370
nathan.carson@fresno.edu