Students sailing on Gardners Lake in East Machias
Students sail on Gardners Lake, East Machias

Contact Us

Karen Beeftink, PhD
Associate Professor of Outdoor Recreation and Leadership

Why UMaine Machias?

  • Diverse course offerings with field experiences! Students are encouraged to choose complementary minors in Conservation law, Wilderness therapy, Outdoor Recreation, or Coaching.
  • Acquire nationally recognized certifications such as Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, Search and Rescue, and Padi SCUBA.
  • Multiple trails, parks, and preserves located on and near campus make for great outdoor classrooms. The DeShon Outback Trail System on campus serves as a field laboratory for students to learn trail maintenance, monitoring, and management practices. Some popular trips off campus are to Acadia National Park, Bold Coast Trail, Machias River, and St. Croix River.
  • Students work closely with game wardens, park rangers, marine patrol officers, local land trusts, and after school programs to gain hands-on experience and make connections for internships and job opportunities.

Program Details Careers

B.S. in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership

The Outdoor Recreation and Leadership major provides an integrated study of recreation and tourism services that prepares students for careers ranging from game wardens to park interpreters, professional guides, recreation resource managers, camp directors, municipal recreation directors, nature-based tourism providers, experiential educators, and many more. Students select our program at the University of Maine at Machias (UMaine Machias) because they love the hands-on nature of the coursework, the field work, the small class sizes, and placement in internships that gain them quality work experience by the time they graduate.

Our program emphasizes learning and leadership in a wide variety of environmental contexts. Students gain a broad understanding of leisure and recreation in our society while developing strong managerial skills. The curriculum is designed and selected with the expectation that graduates will leave UMaine Machias with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills pertinent to all areas within the leisure service industry (as “generalists”, rather than “specialists”). Yet, students have the opportunity to delve more deeply into their personal area of interest through our carefully designed cross-disciplinary minors and certificates, including: Conservation Law, Wilderness Therapy, Outdoor Recreation, and Coaching.

Our program maintains a balance between analytical thinking and practical application as we prepare students for professional careers. Students become very involved in campus and community stewardship and programming through many service projects over the course of their studies. These projects allow students to learn through experience while benefiting the local community.

We take great pride in our personal approach to education and our Downeast location. Our location on the coast among coves, rivers, lakes, and forests lends itself to the enjoyment of outdoor recreational experiences and, therefore, to unique experiential learning opportunities, particularly for future recreation professionals.

Indoor pool scene. Two individuals are next to their kayaks, wearing life jackets for a kayak rescue class.