Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Stephanie de Sam Lazaro


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Despite recent advances in outdoor recreation accessibility, many people still face barriers to spending time in nature. This doctoral capstone project was completed in partnership with outdoors equity organization Wilderness Inquiry to address outdoor accessibility through an occupational therapy lens. This project aimed to enhance knowledge and confidence of Wilderness Inquiry staff and volunteers on topics related to working with individuals with physical or neurodivergent abilities during Wilderness Inquiry activities. Needs for training topics were ascertained through survey, interview, and observation of organizational activities. The quality improvement project included the development, dissemination, and evaluation of educational modules on the topics of transferring participants on the trail, working with neurodiverse populations, and when/how to use adaptive gear. The outcomes of dissemination of the educational modules showed statistically significant differences in comfort with transfers when comparing pre-training and post-training responses. A self-reported increase in knowledge and comfort with neurodiversity was also noted and no change in knowledge was noted related to the topic of adaptive gear. Despite limited sample size for evaluation, positive feedback from those who completed the module indicate potential for usefulness in future training. Through this project, access and inclusion in Wilderness Inquiry trips was enhanced through providing leader/volunteer education that will make them more aware, skilled facilitators when working with diverse populations. Because of the alignment of OT scope with the Wilderness Inquiry mission, there are many more opportunities for partnership for further education and process development.