2014 Conference Keynotes

Deb Ajango - Main Keynote

Deb Ajango, owner of SafetyEd (safetyed.com), has presented nationally and internationally on the topics of risk management, emergency action planning, and wilderness medicine. In addition to presenting annually at the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, she has presented at outdoor education conferences, law conferences, and student travel symposiums. In 2012, Deb was awarded the Charles (Reb) Gregg Award in recognition of “exceptional leadership, service, and innovation in wilderness risk management.”

Ms. Ajango was written two books on safety education and risk management. The second book, Lessons Learned II: Using Case Studies and History to Improve Safety Education, is used as a text book in a variety of colleges and university across the country. Deb was a member of the Association for Experiential Education’s Accreditation Council for nine years, serving as co-editor of a manual on professional standards of the outdoor industry during that time. Deb is currently a member of the faculty committee for Wilderness Medical Associates International. She also serves on the Safety Committee for the Student Conservation Association and is a member of the Alaska State Parks advisory board. She received her Master of Science degree in clinical psychology and education from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Taito Okamura – Morning Keynote

Taito Okamura, Ph.D., president of backcountry classroom Inc., established  Wilderness Education Association Japan as a co-chair with Ayako Hayashi, PhD. in 2013. He will present the topics of the mission and vision of WEAJ, using Yin-Yan model which is the symbole of harmony with one another. We would try to make a “bond” between Western and Eastern, practitioner and researcher, organized camping and mountain guiding, outdoor education and environmental education. You will be able to find how powerful blending with the opposite energy is.

He had taught outdoor education for ten years as an associate professor at NaraUniversity of Education and the University of Tsukuba, Japan. He had contributed to the National Camping Association of Japan and the Japan Outdoor Education Society as a committee member for long time. He started his company in 2012, which provides outdoor education program to professional sports teams and enterprises, in order to connect outdoor filed to society. He also has organized the Yoshonen Camp Society for more than twenty years, which has provided youth summer camps since 1969. He has published a number of articles in Japanese outdoor journals. He enjoys backcountry trips in the Japanese wilderness throughout the year with his students and family.

Dan Dustin - Morning Keynote

Dan Dustin is professor and former Chair of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism in the College of Health at the University of Utah.  He served previously as Frost Professor and Chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in the College of Education at Florida International University in Miami and as professor and Chair of the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at San Diego State University. Dr. Dustin's academic interests center on the moral and ethical bases for leisure and recreation activity preferences and behaviors.  A past president of the Society of Park and Recreation Educators (SPRE) and the Academy of Leisure Sciences, in 1993 he received the National Recreation and Park Association's Literary Award, and in 1994, he was named an "honorary lifetime member" of the California Park Rangers Association for his contributions to the literature of outdoor recreation planning and policy. In 2001, he received the SPRE Distinguished Colleague Award for a lifetime of achievement. Stewards of Access/Custodians of Choice: A Philosophical Foundation for Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (4th Edition); The Wilderness Within: Reflections on Leisure and Life (4th Edition); Nature and the Human Spirit: Toward an Expanded Land Management Ethic; Making a Difference in Academic Life: A Handbook for Park, Recreation, and Tourism Educators and Graduate Students; Service Living: Building Community through Public Parks and Recreation; Speaking Up and Speaking Out: Working for Social and Environmental Justice through Parks, Recreation, and Leisure; and Just Leisure: Things that We Believe In are among his recent works as author and editor.