NOLS: National Outdoor Leadership School Home Request a CatalogContact Us


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

Australia Spring semester students take off for an outback adventure

Spring semester students ready to work
Spring semester students ready for an adventure

Last week saw our NOLS Australia base transformed into a hub of activity, with the first course of the season preparing to embark on a journey into the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The 15 students on this course travelled from all over the United States, to congregate in the tiny town of Broome. For some students the tropical climate came as a stark contrast to the freezing temperatures of their hometowns in the US. The heat, however, did nothing to dampen their spirits as they got stuck into two full days of rations and equipment preparation.  

Getting sorted with rations
Getting sorted with rations

Day 1 began with an early pick up in town, a brief tour of the base then straight into bagging 75 days worth of rations. With the support of in-town staff and their awesome Instructor team (Jim, Dale and Kurt), students were able to complete the bagging process before lunch. After lunch, the ration process continued with sorting and weighing of the entire 2000 pounds of dry food! The highlight of the afternoon included a visit to the Broome crocodile park – where students learnt the important differences between freshwater and saltwater crocodiles.

One of the friendly locals...crikey!
One of the friendly locals...crikey!

Day 2 saw students delving into their packs and planning their equipment needs for both the canoeing and hiking sections. Total weights for the entire load of gear and food was finalised before lunch – excellent work! A high level of efficiency and organization from Instructors and the group enabled them to kick back and relax in the pool for the afternoon, whilst setting themselves up for a successful expedition with a class on creating a positive learning environment.

Pool party - students cool off from the afternoon heat
Pool party - students cool off from the afternoon heat

Day 3 - An early breakfast and a celebration of Nick's Birthday was followed by one final check around the base, then time to leave...

Happy 21st Birthday Nick!
Happy 21st Birthday Nick!

The entire group, all the food and the equipment was loaded into several fixed wing aircraft and headed north for a spectacular 2-hour scenic flight up to Drysdale River Station, where the real adventure begins!

Flight crew Michelle, George, Harry, Sim and Joseph with pilot Simon
Flight crew Michelle, George, Harry, Sim and Joseph with pilot Simon
Ready to fly - Frankie, Adeline, Nick and Travis with pilot Nicko
Ready to fly - Frankie, Adeline, Nick and Travis with pilot Nicko
Pilot Chris with his crew - Andy, Caroline, Moira, Jim and Kurt
Pilot Chris with his crew - Andy, Caroline, Moira, Jim and Kurt
Heading north - Kaitlyn, Jake and Elliot
Heading north - Kaitlyn, Jake and Elliot

The group will spend the next 40 days following the path of the Drysdale River as it flows through thickets of tropical rainforest, pours over spectacular waterfalls and meanders along the open savannah. Students will learn technical canoeing skills along with the leadership skills to live comfortably in the Kimberley wilderness.

Upon completion of the canoeing section, students will take to the rugged mountains of the Drysdale region by foot. The start of a new adventure…

A brief outline of their schedule is provided below: 

Canoeing section – Drysdale River

9 March – 17 April

Students will be resupplied by helicopter on April 17th

NO access to any outside communication devices is available during that time.

Hiking section, Drysdale River National Park

17 April – 12 May

 Students will most likely be in Broome for the night of May 12th

 Pay phone access may be available. 

Coastal/Cultural section

13- 19 May

Students will be in Broome, for the final night of the semester on May 19th

Pay phone access may be available. 

On May 20th students will graduate, celebrate and then get dropped at their accommodation for the evening.

For those wishing to send mail, students will only be able to receive it on the following dates - May 12th and May 19th - address details provided below;

(Student Name) 
AAU 3/7/14
NOLS Australia 
PO Box 3472 
Broome 6725 WA


Please be mindful that we are a long way off the beaten path, therefore, if you would like something to arrive before these dates, be sure to allow at least 2 weeks for delivery! 

Remember to check this Blog site for updates and photos around those contact dates. You are also welcome to share this link with your friends and family!

Cheers from the NOLS Australia crew

Permalink | Posted by Cassandra Colman on Mar 12, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Australia

Glaciers, Climate Change, and the National Park System

In the North Cascades, scientists are hard at work analyzing glaciers to evaluate the impacts of climate change. In this visually stunning video, Dr. Jon Riedel, lead glaciologist at North Cascades National Park, discusses and interprets his glacier monitoring research. 

Many National Park Service employees got their start learning how to safely travel through and lead others in terrain just like this video on a North Cascades Mountaineering or Outdoor Educator Mountaineering course.

Permalink | Posted by Chris Agnew on Mar 12, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Pacific Northwest

Congratulations to our Olympian!

Holly Brooks (WFA ’02 and WFR ’04) completed her second race in the Olympics today, and everyone at NOLS would like to congratulate her on all she has accomplished as an athlete. In her second Olympics, the Alaskan placed 35th in the women’s 10k classic today after taking 47th in the skiathlon Saturday.


Brooks in action during the FIS Cross Country World Cup Women's 10km Mass Start on December 17, 2011 in Rogla, Slovenia. (Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Skiing is not just a race for Holly. In her free time, she admits, she likes to ski—ski tour, crust ski and backcountry ski. According to her biography on the U.S. Ski Team website, she has become a poster child for active, healthy lifestyles in her new home of Alaska.

“Luckily I live in a place where the outdoors are extremely accessible, and I love living in a community where my friends and peers are as active and adventurous as I am,” she said.

NOLS is proud to have played a role in the life of someone making such a difference while following her dreams. Congratulations, Holly!

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Feb 13, 2014 in the following categories: Alaska, Alumni, In The News, Wilderness Medicine Institute

Help Us Name the Expedition Denali Film!

In the summer of 2013, NOLS brought together the first team of African Americans to blaze a trail up America’s highest peak—Denali. Though the summit was a goal, the ultimate objective was to build a legacy by paving a way for young people of color to get outside, get active, get healthy, become passionate about America’s wild places, and chase their own Denali-sized dreams.

 Distill Productions’ upcoming film will tell the compelling story of Expedition Denali and the team’s incredible journey.

 “There’s never been a group of black climbers coming together in an expedition to get to the summit of Denali. And that’s a big deal,” said team member Stephen DeBerry. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why this feature-length film needs the perfect name to reach and inspire a broad audience. Help us name the Expedition Denali film!

Watch the promo, then fill out the form to send your ideas (as many as you want) our way. If we use your suggestion, we’ll send some sweet Expedition Denali and NOLS swag your way!

Expedition Denali Promo from Distill Productions on Vimeo.

Submit your ideas here!

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Feb 12, 2014 in the following categories: Alaska, Alumni, In The News, On The Net



    During the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Sarah Konrad made history when she became the first American woman to qualify for two sporting categories: Nordic skiing and the biathlon (pictured above). Fast forward eight years and Konrad has, for the second time, agreed to serve as an expert educational correspondent for NBC’s Emmy award-winning video series entitled, “The Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.”

    Konrad served as a NOLS instructor from 1986 to 1994 on courses ranging from Semesters in Patagonia and Alaska Mountaineering to Sea Kayaking and Semesters in the Rockies, and now she can be found teaching the rudiments of snow science in a different sort of classroom. The “NBC Learn” and “NBC Sports” webisode series, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, “explore the science, technology, engineering, and math at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games” and provide great visual aids for children and adults alike in learning about all of the applied science that goes into making the Olympic games run smoothly and efficiently behind the scenes. NBC’s “Learn” series also provides, “lesson plans and activities in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association.” 



     During the NBC “Learn” webisode “The Science of Snow,” Konrad, a glaciologist, conducts a brief scientific experiment in the University of Wyoming’s Geology Building using “supercooled” water and explains the freezing process of water and how it can be directly applied to ski course maintenance and race outcomes. The video also touches on the importance of snow engineering during the Winter Games. Being a former Winter Olympian as well as an accomplished academic with a PhD in geology (specializing in glaciology), Konrad’s webisode on snow science is the perfect fit for NBC’s 2014 Winter Olympic “Learn” series. Konrad is currently serving as the Chair of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Athletes Advisory Council. According to, "the AAC is responsible for broadening communication between the USOC and active athletes, and serves as a source of input and advice to the organization’s board of directors". Konrad is currently serving as the Associate Project Director for Wyoming’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Department (EPSCoR). 




Permalink | Posted by Rahel Manna on Feb 11, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, In The News, Instructor News, On The Net, Rocky Mountain

Expedition Denali Wins Outdoor Inspiration Award

Expedition Denali: Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors earned the Outdoor Inspiration Award for its work to inspire youth, particularly youth of color, to get outside, get active and become stewards of our wild places.

The Outdoor Inspiration Awards recognize individuals, groups and companies whose efforts are above and beyond in inspiring others to enjoy, participate in and support outdoor activities. Expedition Denali won the group award, in the company of individual award recipient Timmy O’Neill and company awardee Timbuk2.

Organized by NOLS, Expedition Denali is the first African American team to attempt to summit the tallest peak in North America—Denali. Though they had to turn back just 1,000 feet from the summit due to a lightning storm, the team made history and is inspiring a generation of youth to reach their own great heights in the outdoors.

Attachment-1 copy

Expedition Denali on the mountain. Hudson Henry photo

“The class of 2014 Outdoor Inspiration Award winners truly have a love for exploring the outdoors and use their passion to impact and change people’s lives,” said Kenji Haroutunian, Emerald Expo Outdoor group vice president and OR show director.

Two members of Expedition Denali, Rosemary Saal and Scott Briscoe, were present to accept the award on behalf of the entire team.

“Last fall we shared our story with about 3,000 youth, and this spring we’re on par to share that with an additional 6,000,” said Briscoe upon accepting the award. “We’re going to schools, community centers, churches, colleges, and talking about our climb and trying to inspire and get more people in the outdoors and diversify the outside.”

This tour of the nation will inspire youth of color to connect with America’s wild places and take on outdoor pursuits they never imagined possible by sharing the story of their historic attempt on North America’s tallest peak. Their story will have an even broader reach upon the completion of a film about the expedition by Distill Productions, LLC. Watch the latest teaser of the film below.




Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Jan 28, 2014 in the following categories: Alaska, Alumni, In The News, Instructor News, On The Net

Imagine your 2014 summer

Summer is here!

Well, at least the 2014 summer NOLS course catalog is here, and that's even better, because you still have time to plan the perfect summer with NOLS.


We have boxes and boxes and boxes of the summer catalog here at NOLS Headquarters, so request one here. If you'd prefer a paperless version, we've got you covered, too. Download the iPad version of the 2014 summer catalog here.

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Jan 16, 2014 in the following categories: Alaska, Alumni, Amazon, Australia, Curriculum, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, India, Instructor News, Leadership, Mexico, New Zealand, Northeast, On The Net, Pacific Northwest, Patagonia, Professional Training, Rocky Mountain, Scandinavia, Southwest, Teton Valley, Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus, Yukon

Campaign NOLS: Explaining Our Core Values, Part 6

NOLS’ core values are at the heart of our institution. Leadership, community, safety, excellence, wilderness, and education inspire everything we do. We share a commitment to these values; they define and direct who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

We seek excellence in all we do. We recognize that maintaining excellence requires that we question decisions, learn from failures, and celebrate success. We are committed to high quality experiences where every moment and every relationship counts. We evolve and adapt with new technology, changing techniques and differing circumstances.
Climbing pic

Luis Rosario, 2009 Pacific Northwest Trip Leader alumnus.

Luis Rosario on Excellence

Around the office, I’m known as GSD (Getting Stuff Done). That’s because when a project needs a hard-hitter, I will implement my do-whatever-it-takes (DWIT) attitude to get it done.

Flash back to 2007. Like so many young adults growing up in urban areas, I had never experienced true wilderness. When I read about NOLS in a student travel magazine, it sounded like an exciting challenge. I pinned the article to my dormitory wall as a reminder of my new goal. Two years later, after graduating from Florida Atlantic University, my dream became a reality with the help of a scholarship.

Pic 2

Enjoying the wild mountaints of the Pacific Northwest.

And so I traveled from suburban southern Florida to the wildlands of Washington, where I found myself a little out of my comfort zone. I’ll admit that heading into the woods with a bunch of other people you don’t know, into a place you’ve never been, without any outside contact or communication, was kind of worrisome.

Group pic

Luis and coursemates high in the Cascades.

Yet, by taking risks and taking the lead, I opened doors of understanding for opportunities of that nature. As the course progressed, and I learned the tricks to pack packing and keeping a clean camp, I even began to thrive. I realized that there are many things in life we avoid because of uncertainty and that when you overcome fear, it opens up doors.

Before my course, I would have been willing to settle for a normal nine-to-five job for the security. Instead, I’ve taken a calculated risk by accepting a job as the Director of Business Development with The Alive Foundation, a young organization that promotes changing consciousness for the better. Everyday I get to use my NOLS skills of overcoming uncertainty by implementing my DWIT philosophy.

There’s a quote out there that says, “One bite at a time.” I learned that during my course, but it’s the same in life. It’s a good reminder whenever I become overwhelmed.


Luis uses the lessons he learned at NOLS daily, which is why he's chosen to give back through the NOLS Annual Fund.

To support the NOLS Annual Fund and Campaign NOLS, please consider making a gift today.

Permalink | Posted by Larkin Flora on Dec 19, 2013 in the following categories: Alumni, Campaign NOLS, Pacific Northwest

The 12 Days of NOLS

We’ve found the perfect way to get you into the holiday spirit and fight the cold snap with a hearty laugh. Watch NOLS Creative’s newest (and possibly goofiest) release, “The 12 Days of NOLS,” a NOLS variation on the classic tune, to get a taste of the NOLS experience or reminisce about your course! Written with extensive input from the peanut gallery, shot and edited in less than 12 hours, and brought to you with only mild shame, we now ask you to watch the video and sing along.

On the first day of my course Paul Petzoldt gave to me ...


Windpants with a reinforced knee

Two trekking poles

Three Peaks Ranch


Five pounds of cheese

Six dudes belaying

Seven miles a' shwackin’

Eight malt balls missing

Nine quickdraws clipping

Ten backpacks bulging

Eleven toasty hot drinks

Twelve students mapping

 Happy Holidays from NOLS

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Dec 10, 2013 in the following categories: Alaska, Alumni, Amazon, Australia, Books, Curriculum, India, Instructor News, Leadership, Mexico, New Zealand, Northeast, On The Net, Pacific Northwest, Patagonia, Professional Training, Rocky Mountain, Scandinavia, Southwest, Teton Valley, Wilderness Medicine Institute, Yukon

Home | Courses | WMI | Apply | Resources | Alumni | Giving | Store | About Us | Contact Us
NOLS Professional Training | Books | Research | Jobs | Request A Catalog | WRMC | Leave No Trace
Información de NOLS en Español | Privacy Statement | Site Map | Donate Online
Request a Catalog or call 1-800-710-NOLS
NOLS, 284 Lincoln Street, Lander, WY 82520-2848, USA

Copyright © 2014 National Outdoor Leadership School. All rights reserved.
Top of Page
NOLS Home About Us Courses Apply Wilderness Medicine Institute NOLS Professional Training Alumni Store Donate NOLS Home Parents Press Room School Resources Photos NOLS.TV Events WRMC The NOLS Blog