You don't want to miss this.

2024 July 2-Day Kayak School for Naturalists and Trip Leaders

This workshop is designed for naturalists and for the general paddler who wants or needs to improve their paddling skill and knowledge to keep themselves and others safe on the water. Time will be spent 1/3 in the classroom and 2/3 on the water.

The workshop focuses on kayak paddling skills, avoiding and identifying hazards and river reading. The class will also touch on group management, risk management and learning styles. Kayaking has a large range of types and styles, and the types of kayaks

we will be using are designed to try to encompass all the different types and styles into one type. The types of kayaks we use are not the typical kayaks that most students are familiar with, however it is necessary to use these types of kayaks to teach the proper skills required by the American Canoe Association (ACA).

ACA provides the curriculum, instructor certifications and class materials. The goal of this class is to make the participant competent and comfortable with their kayaking skills. Because kayaks are so specialized, versus other types of crafts like canoes, communication with the instructor before the class must be done to ensure that the equipment we are providing fits each participant properly. We have alternative kayaks and gear and can provide accommodations for most individuals. Without a proper fit, the participant will not be able to experience all that the class has to offer. In addition, swimming is an important part of this class, as it should be with any water sport.

Participants will be required to wet exit from any craft that they are using in the class before they can proceed with the on-water portions of the class. The chance of swimming out of one of the kayaks is small and usually occurs when we get to the moving water section of the class. Participants should be prepared to swim and be assured that the instructors are well-trained and the venues we use are extremely safe.

What’s included:

  • Two days of instruction with one day on flat water (Lake environment and on the river)
  • Experience in tandem canoes
  • Classroom and on-water hands-on training
  • Improved efficiency for skills on the water
  • Improved leadership skills
  • Increase safety, lower stress, have fun and pay knowledge forward based on ACA instructional foundations.
  • You will receive an Iowa DNR certificate of completion.
  • FUN!

Lodging, dinner and lunch are not provided.


Lodging is on your own but here are two options in the area:  

AmericInn by Wyndham

Super 8 by Wyndham

Another option is to tent, RV or cabin camp at Briggs Woods Park. More details and registration links can be found at Hamliton County Parks


The workshop will be held at Briggs Woods Park in Webster City, IA in the Red Barn Shelter. 

Briggs Woods Park

All sessions will be taught in the Red Barn Shelter:

Make sure to bring the following:

  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Closed-toed shoes or water shoes
  • Dry bags
  • Clothes that you can get wet in
  • Sunglasses
  • Croakies or eyewear retainer - If you are wearing it, you can lose it if it's not attached

Class Expectations:

#1 - to have fun…and we will!!!!!

#2 - learn how to be more efficient with paddling and boat control

#3 - learn how to read a river and judge the conditions

#4 - learn how to manage a group. This will include risk management, how to conduct pre-launch briefings, how to perform rescues, etc. 

#5 - you WILL get wet, especially during boat-over-boat rescues and rope throwing in the river. You can opt out of anything, but it is recommended that you try it all. We are there, you are safe. We would never put you in a dangerous position. Again, you will have a blast and learn so much!!!!!

#6- It can be physically demanding at times, so let us know if you have any concerns as far as previous injuries or medical conditions you want us to know about.

Before Class:

Please review the following resources and come ready to discuss. 

Waiver and Release of Liability

Water Trail Maps

Low Head Dams (The Drowning Machine)

Smart Start for Paddlers