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  • Jeff Baierlein

Viristar’s Outdoor Safety Training Scholarship for Ukraine

Anastasiia Volkova is no stranger to wilderness risk management. She’s led ambitious mountaineering expeditions to the Hindu Kush, the Pamir Mountains and the Himalayas, as a leader with Ukraine’s biggest mountaineering club, Globus.

At 7,000 meters in the Pakistani Pamirs, a member of her group developed frostbitten feet. Anastasiia led a complex two-day evacuation to the basecamp, where the group member was transported to a hospital by helicopter.

Anastasiia recently participated in Viristar’s Risk Management for Outdoor Programs course, with the aim learn how the Ukrainian mountaineering community might continue to improve its safety practices.

She recently gave a lecture to other Ukrainian mountain guides and team leaders on incident management and prevention, incorporating concepts from the Viristar curriculum into the training course the guides and leaders go through.

“I have fresh ideas,” she said, after taking Viristar’s course. She appreciated the opportunity to take part in the training, saying, “Thanks a lot for the inspiration.”

Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains.

Anastasiia’s participation was made possible through Viristar’s scholarship program for members of the Ukrainian outdoor community.

Viristar is offering full scholarships to its Risk Management for Outdoor Programs course, normally USD $649, for leaders in Ukraine’s outdoor education and recreation sector.

The scholarship program aims to support Ukraine and its people, who are under attack from Russia.

Viristar believes in the power of high-quality outdoor education and outdoor recreation programs to provide wellness, environmental leadership and human development benefits.

To support Ukraine’s outdoor sector, Viristar offers these scholarship opportunities to leaders of Ukrainian outdoor programs located in that nation, or temporarily living in other countries, while Ukraine remains under attack.

Anastasiia’s outdoor safety presentation, part of mountain guide training. Image: Anastasiia Volkova/Facebook

Viristar joins other outdoor organizations supporting Ukraine, with medical supplies, camping equipment, and other resources.

Viristar is grateful to Taras Ferencevych, the Director of Professional Learning and Programming at ISEEN, who is also a graduate of the Risk Management for Outdoor Programs training, for helping connect Viristar with the outdoor and experiential learning community in Ukraine.

Hiking to Mount Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak.

Outdoor Activities in Ukraine

Ukraine’s Carpathian and Crimean mountain ranges rise from an expanse of rolling hills. The Carpathian mountains climb to over 2,000 meters; their beech and spruce forests, sparkling lakes, and sub-alpine meadows make picturesque destinations for outdoor recreation and ecotourism.

Trekking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, paragliding, rock climbing, ziplining, scuba diving, horseback riding and caving have been popular outdoor activities in Ukraine.

Ukrainians wishing to learn more about Viristar's scholarship program for outdoor leaders in Ukraine can email

Sunrise in the Ukrainian Carpathians.

Слава Україні!


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