Aerie instructors John Bleicher, RN, EMT-P, Bill Taylor, RN, CCEMT-P, and David McEvoy, CCEMT-P began teaching wilderness medicine classes in 1995 with Missoula Emergency Services. Dr. Greg Moore served as our Medical Advisor. In 1997, we incorporated as Educational Services, doing business as Aerie School for Backcountry Medicine. We chose the name Aerie because of its connotations of wildness and the unique perspective gained in such a location. In 1995, we taught two wilderness first responder courses in Missoula to the Student Conservation Association. We believed then, as now, that sound medical decisions were based on informed patient assessments and that quality medical education should focus on teaching people how to conduct these assessments. We have always stressed that almost anyone can learn how to perform a particular skill; the difficult matter is making the decision to do it.
From 1995, when Aerie taught 30 students in Missoula, to 2018, when we trained over 2700 students throughout the US, Mexico, Central America, Africa and India, we have remained committed to quality. While growth highlights our success, we understand that it is not the most important index. Instead, we regard our student feedback, which is extremely positive, and the increasing number of personal referrals our students and host-agencies give to others, as our most important confirmation. We are a private, for-profit organization that believes in supporting its instructors and the communities where we teach.