True North Blog

True North prepares for Television!

True North prepares for Television!

I spent a fun afternoon yesterday in the woods with KDKA News reporter, David Highfield.  David had contacted me a few weeks ago because he wanted to learn more about wilderness survival, especially the context in which it is being so widely presented on so-called “reality television” programs.  In short, David wanted to learn if what is being presented to the general public is actually real or not.

So we agreed that David and his cameraman, Ian Smith, would take part in two programs to get a better feel for the topic.  First, David would spend the day with a group of True North’s students in a Basic Wilderness Survival course so that he IMG_2328could get an overview of the role of survival training and learn some basic skills.  Afterwards, he would spend another afternoon alone with me so that he could get some more involved hands on training.  David admitted that he was nervous, but he never let it stop him — He showed a great positive mental attitude throughout.

The first session on Saturday went smoothly.  The weather was wonderful, and the group of BWS students was in great spirits.  David got a chance to speak in depth with all of them to better understand why each was taking the course and what they hoped to get out of it.

The second session, however, was a bit more challenging.  David needed to learn how to navigate through the woods using only a map and compass, and then he had to build an emergency fire.  Not only was this his first time doing either, but what started out as sprinkles soon turned into heavy rains.  But David met both challenges with much grace and humor … and as such, he succeeded!

So, did David learn if “realty” wilderness survival really is reality?  I think that he learned that much of it is scripted and that genuine survival is much harder than it actually appears.  Also, I think that he came to better understand that survival skills are important, not just in some remote national forest, but even in regional parks or other isolated locations.  And, lastly, I think that David came to better understand that one can’t just learn wilderness survival skills just by watching television or reading books, one needs to actually get outside and practice … for real.

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook.

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