New outdoor and experiential education consulting firm opens in Black Mountain

Special to Black Mountain News
Brad Daniel, left, Brad Faircloth, middle, and Andrew Bobilya opened 2nd Nature TREC, a consulting firm that works with outdoor-related entities, in Black Mountain.

A consulting firm called 2nd Nature TREC (Training, Research, Education, Consulting), LLC is now operating in Black Mountain.

The company was founded by Dr. Brad Daniel, former Chair of the Outdoor Education Department at Montreat College, Dr. Andrew Bobilya, Associate Professor and Program Director of Parks and Recreation Management at Western Carolina University, and Dr. Brad Faircloth, Associate Professor and Chair of the Psychology and Human Services Department at Montreat College.

The team has conducted research and published on a variety of outdoor and experiential education-related topics including the impact of outdoor experiences on brain-wave patterns, the value of autonomous student experiences, and the impact of wilderness solitude.

Daniel and Bobilya, along with retired Montreat College professor Ken Kalisch, recently published an article on their work titled “Spending Time Alone in Nature is Good for Your Mental Health” in The Conversation.

Faircloth and Bobilya also recently published an article investigating college student’s relationship with nature in the Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education.

The firm has already completed several projects including an evaluation of programs at Isothermal Community College and the development of a research and evaluation plan for Waypoint Adventure, a unique program that uses outdoor adventure programming to serve persons with disabilities in the greater Boston area. Currently, they are developing a Certified Outdoor Educator training for the Wilderness Education Association (WEA).

“We started 2nd Nature TREC as an extension of the research we have been doing for almost 20 years. As researchers and educators, we wanted to create a firm that would allow us to come alongside youth camps, outdoor and adventure education programs, and other organizations to help them improve," Daniel, the executive director said. "We value experiential education, place-based learning and community engagement. There are other fine organizations out there doing good work in this arena. Our goal is to offer new and unique experiences to students, teachers, and community members.”

Bobilya, director of training and education shared added that 2nd Nature TREC recently signed a letter of agreement with Western Carolina University that will allow them to develop and offer unique courses, certifications, and trainings that may be taken for academic credit or continuing education units (CEU).

"We see 2nd Nature TREC as being uniquely positioned to support existing programs through supplementary staff training and other workshops,” Bobilya said. 

The founding partners have taught college courses at the graduate and undergraduate level for over 70 years combined.