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Earth Day Celebration at Pushroot Community Garden

NOLS and Pushroot Community Garden are at it again! For this year’s Earth Day event, Rocky Mountain Intern Marisa OlGrady and Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Intern CC Camilliere are working together with Pushroot for a day filled with volunteering and spring cleaning!

Founded in 2008 by a handful of passionate gardeners, Pushroot has blossomed into a vibrant and welcoming part of the Lander Valley community. In addition to providing space for locals to grow their very own organic plants and produce, Pushroot holds workshops in local schools and other nonprofits in town. Their Lights On program is held after school for 3rd-6th graders, and is designed to teach kids about organic gardening, local ecosystems, and in effect connect them to nature. Pushroot is also linked to the Lander Care and Share Food Bank, a partnership through which they inspire and encourage local gardeners to share both their produce and their knowledge with the rest of the community.

To help this garden grow, we will be spending the day volunteering our efforts to prepare for the approaching summer season.

We would love to have you join us on Saturday, April 26th! We will be at the garden from 11am-3pm on 715 Amoretti Street. Children are more than welcome but we request that they be accompanied by an adult. Food and beverages will be provided by Mr. D’s, Safeway, Gannett Grill, and Breadboard. We would also like to thank Valley Printing for donating our beautiful posters. Hope to see you (and the sunshine) there!

There will be a Pushroot Kick-off meeting 7pm on Wednesday, April 23rd at the Lander Library for those interested in having a garden plot this season.  

Earth Day Poster NOLS:Pushroot
Poster created by Caroline Henley

Permalink | Posted by Caitlin Camilliere on Apr 17, 2014 in the following categories: Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Rocky Mountain

Get to Know NOLS Rocky Mountain

At the helm of NOLS Rocky Mountain is Gary Cukjati. Learn about why he loves all he can offer students from just one location:

Christensen_20120516_img_7254If you had one sentence to describe your staff, you would say:

NOLS Rocky Mountain staff are dedicated to helping each student have to opportunity for a life-changing experience in the backcountry.

How long have you been NOLS Rocky Mountain Branch Director?

7 years.

What is your background with NOLS? Or how did it all begin for you? 

I was a Fall Semester in the Rockies student in 1982. I realized that being in the Wilderness was simply a wonderful experience and came back to work for NOLS in 1986. 

What is your favorite aspect of running courses in your part of the world?

I know the landscape of the Rocky Mountains and the Canyons of Utah are simply stunning classrooms, which affords each student to have the opportunity of a positive, life-changing experience.


Dave Anderson/NOLS

What unique or particularly appealing aspect of this branch do you think potential students should know about?  

There was a reason that Paul Petzoldt chose the Wind River Mountains to start NOLS. He had traveled the world and settled here in Wyoming because he knew how special of a place it truly was. 

What would you say most surprises students when they arrive or during their course in the Rockies? 

I believe most are surprised by the open spaces both in and around the mountains and hence the overall scarcity of people. 

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Apr 11, 2014 in the following categories: Leadership, Rocky Mountain

NOLS at the LEED Platinum celebration in Billings, Montana!

Leed Presentation1

WMI Director Melissa Gray and Assistant Director Shana Tarter represented NOLS at a LEED Platinum celebration hosted by High Plains Architects in Billings, MT.  High Plains Architects were the lead designers for the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus.  In addition to a recognition certificate from the Montana chapter of the USGBC, representatives for Montana Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh, and a representative for Governor Steve Bullock shared words of support for sustainable building.

Leed presentation

* LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project.

Permalink | Posted by Leslie van Barselaar on Apr 11, 2014 in the following categories: Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus

Run the Red Trail Half Marathon

The Wyoming Outdoor Council, Wyoming Wilderness Association, and NOLS are hosting the first annual Run the Red Trail Half Marathon! Join us on May 31st at 9am in Wyoming's beautiful Red Desert. This area is home to seven proposed Wilderness Areas and stretches over 6 million acres. But don't worry, we're only running a 1/2 Marathon.

This trail run through the Red Desert offers expansive views of the Boar's Tusk, North and South Table Mountains, the Killpecker Sand Dunes, Steamboat Mountain, and the Wind River Mountains. Runners will enjoy wide-open spaces while traversing this wild landscape.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the 30th anniversary of the Wyoming Wilderness Act. Since 1964, more than 100 million acres have been designated as Wilderness. This status provides the highest level of protection for wilderness values, and maintains the area’s pristine state. This race celebrates those achievements and our wild Wyoming places.

Bring family and friends for interpretation of the White Mountain Petroglyphs by renowned naturalist and Red Desert expert John Mionczynski and cool down after the run with yoga provided by Sylvia Carl from Lander's Ananda Yoga Studio!

To sign up, go to

RUN the RED_email







Permalink | Posted by Caitlin Camilliere on Apr 11, 2014 in the following categories: Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Triple Platinum

On April 10, High Plains Architects will celebrate the construction of three new LEED Platinum Certified buildings, one of which is our very own Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus!


"Every once in awhile, a rare opportunity comes along to work with a client who not only shares your values but challenges you to strive for more ambitious goals," the High Plains website states on a page about the Wyss Campus. "For us, that was the National Outdoor Leadership School. They selected High Plains Architects to closely work with them to spearhead designing the state of the art, high performance Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus outside of Lander, Wyoming."

This campus was designed to at once have minimal impact upon the beautiful setting and include outdoor and indoor classroom space for wilderness medicine students. So far, 618 students in 26 courses have been educated in (and outside) these remarkable facilities. You can learn more about all the campus has to offer in this video:

Congratulations and thanks, High Plains Architects!

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Apr 9, 2014 in the following categories: In The News, Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus

NOLS Invited to D.C. to Support Recreation Enhancement Act

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), an act that directly impacts NOLS, is currently up for discussion of reauthorization in the House of Representatives. A member of the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability department is invited to Washington D.C. this week to add an outfitter’s voice to the discussion. As a recreational outfitter that holds many permits through our country’s federal land agencies, NOLS hopes for a swift and smooth passage of this bill.

FLREA allows the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Forest Service to charge user fees in areas that help maintain recreation areas and improve visitors’ safety and experiences. These fees supply restrooms, picnic tables, trail maintenance, and other amenities to the public. This act’s sunset was postponed following last October’s government shutdown. Its end date was extended for another year, after the act was deemed beneficial and necessary for the continued management of recreation on federal lands.

NOLS supports the speedy and direct reauthorization of FLREA. The consistent and reasonable permit fees in place are beneficial to all players in the recreation economy. Our representative will be testifying at a hearing at the Committee of Natural Resources in front of the subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation this Friday morning at 7am MST.

Tune in tomorrow morning and listen to the hearing live!


Permalink | Posted by Caitlin Camilliere on Apr 3, 2014 in the following categories: Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Chilean Earthquake


Chilean earrthquake map
Click for full size map.

An 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile, on the evening of Tuesday, April 1. The epicenter was nearly 2,000 miles north of NOLS headquarters in Coyhaique and NOLS operating areas in southern Chile. 

A tsunami alert was issued for all of the Chilean coast. No NOLS courses were on or near the water. On Wednesday morning, April 2 the tsunami warning was lifted.

NOLS Chile is in communication with Headquarters in Lander. NOLS staff in Coyhaique did not feel the earthquake and there have been no reports of damage in the area.

NOLS continues to monitor the situation. The NOLS admission office is open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 AM (9 ET; 8 CT; 6 PT) until 6PM Mountain Time. On Friday the office is open from 7 AM until 5 PM.

4/2/14 7:20 AM-- This post has been updated to indicate that the tsunami warning has been lifted and that the epicenter was off the coast.

4/2/14 11:00 PM-- Another earthquake, reported as 7.8 magnitude, has been reported in the same location as last night's event. Officials have issued another tsunami warning. As was the case yesterday, NOLS courses are not on or near the water. One group is in Coyhaique completing their semester. The other group is in Cochrane, further south, preparing for their student expeditions. We spoke with the group today and all is well.


Permalink | Posted by NOLS on Apr 1, 2014 in the following categories: Patagonia

Get to Know NOLS Australia

NOLS Australasia Director Mark Jordan gives some insight into the world NOLS Australia students explore.

Brad_christensen_20121013_3556If you had one sentence to describe your staff, you would say:

Like the staff at every NOLS location: driven, enthusiastic, and skilled. 

How long have you been NOLS Australasia Director?

Two years 

What is your background with NOLS? Or how did it all begin for you?

I did a Waddington Range Expedition course in 1992 with NOLS Pacific Northwest, and a Rocky Mountain Instructors Course in 1993. 

What is your favorite aspect of running courses in your part of the world?

Australia has some of the most varied and unique ecosystems in the world. The cultural interactions are fantastic as well. 

What unique or particularly appealing aspect of Australia do you think potential students should know about?

The Kimberley region, where NOLS Australia operates courses, contains some of the world’s most remote wilderness. The area covers over 423,000 square kilometers (larger than the state of California) and has a population of less than 40,000 people. The areas where NOLS groups travel are true backcountry. 

What would you say most surprises students when they arrive or during their course in that part of the world?

In Australia we have only two seasons: wet and dry. This is a unique change for persons coming from more northern latitude climates.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I firmly believe a NOLS course, at any location, will be a watershed event in a person’s life. Australia is a great place to experience NOLS as well as a fascinating part of the world to explore.

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Apr 1, 2014 in the following categories: Australia

Fresh Pesto for the Field

Riley's have been busy in the kitchen making fresh pesto which is being sent into the field for students and instructors.
Ingredients are mostly from intown staff vegtable gardens and local producers. 
Pesto seems to be a welcome nutritional addition to the field ration, as does the freshly baked bread and locally grown fruit.









Camine with some of the pesto ingredients 

Image_2Riley produce for salsa

Permalink | Posted by Roo Riley on Mar 25, 2014 in the following categories: New Zealand

Climate Change and the Ocean of the Northwest

Following up on the glacier research blog post two weeks ago, the National Park Service has also released a video about the impacts of climate change on the coasts and intertidal biological communities of the Northwest. In this video Dr. Steven Fradkin, coastal ecologist at Olympic National Park, explores these communities on shore and by boat and discusses how the stunning breadth of biological diversity are indicators of environmental health.

Interested in traveling through similar terrain this summer, take a look at the Sea Kayak and Sailing course. Want to explore these same intertidal communities of Olympic National Park while earning a full semester of college credit, check out a Semester in the Pacific Northwest this fall.

Permalink | Posted by Chris Agnew on Mar 24, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Pacific Northwest

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