Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Sustainable Roads
Forest Service roads provide outstanding access to a breadth of interests from recreation to research to commercial activities. Faced with limited resources to maintain the large network of roads in Western Washington, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Sustainable Roads Cadre united in 2013 to research how the public uses the roads in this National Forest. The groups hosted community meetings in the Puget Sound area that attracted 224 people to speak about the roads they value most. An additional 1800 people filled in the online questionnaire, providing the Mt. Baker Sustainable Roads team with plenty of data with which to make appropriate recreation and stewardship decisions for the future. The groups are hosting a further series of meetings to discuss the results of the research and are inviting interested members of the public to join them. Check out your local event listed below!
Capacity limits attendance to a first-come basis. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 10, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Bellingham Public Library
210 Central Ave
Bellingham, WA 98227
JULY 17, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Park Place Middle School Commons
1408 W Main St.
Monroe, WA 98272
JULY 24, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Issaquah Main Library
10 West Sunset Way
JULY 29, 2:00 -4:30 p.m.
7700 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
JULY 31, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Darrington Community Center
570 Sauk Avenue
Darrington, WA 98241
For more info check out the webiste at http://mbssustainableroads.com/
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation!
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) is an organization that provides opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to give back to conservation science. ASC pairs a network of outdoor volunteers with scientific agencies that are in need of data from hard to reach places. This is a fantastic opportunity for NOLS alumni to put their wilderness skills to use in aid of conservation science! For more info check out ASC’s web page here. A recent project in the Pacific Northwest placed volunteers on a 3-month long search for Pacific Marten in the Olympic National Forest. You can explore Olympic National Park, immediately to the west of the project area, on a Fall Semester in the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Northwest Backpacking Adventure, or Pacific Northwest Backpacking course. Check out the video of the search for the Pacific Marten below (credit to ASC).
Indigenous Voices Speaking Out for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)
Miho Aida is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and former NOLS field instructor. Please join her on Monday June 30th for the Skagit Valley screening of “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins – Gwich’in Women Speak." The film provides a platform for Arctic indigenous Gwich’in women to speak out and inspire audiences around the country to protect their sacred land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska from oil drilling. The short documentary won the Audience Choice Award at the 2014 Earth Port Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2013 American Indian Film Festival. Miho is currently doing a west coast tour on her bicycle to share her film!
Monday, June 30th at NOLS Pacific Northwest (in dining hall)
20950 Bulson Road, Mt. Vernon, 98274
Stewarding the Mt. Baker area
The beautiful Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest lies to the north and east of the NOLS Pacific Northwest campus in Conway, WA. This area of alpine ecosystem wilderness serves as an amazing classroom for our North Cascades Mountaineering and Outdoor Educator Mountaineering Programs. Each summer the Forest Service looks for volunteers to serve as Mountain Stewards to help teach hikers and climbers in the area to look after and protect this beautiful area of the Cascades. For those from the Northwest, check out this amazing opportunity to give back here!
Pushroot Garden Earth Day a Success!
The Pushroot Community Garden Earth Day event went splendidly!
We would like to thank Safeway, Mr. D’s, Gannett Grill, Bread Board, and Valley Printing once again for their generous donations that fueled the work day!
Basic beautification happened throughout the garden. Here, Justin Alexandre gently pulls away any weeds that have grown in since last season.
Kevin Redmon flashes a big smile in the raspberry patch.
Monty, one of the master gardeners at Pushroot, gets his hair styled by a garden rake.
We were happy to help Pushroot prep their garden this spring. We hope that they have a bountiful and sunny season!!
In Their Words: NOLS New Zealand
Students who turn to NOLS for their semester abroad treasure the experience. Wendy Cirko and Cory McDonald both took NOLS semesters as their semesters abroad last year. Both Spring Semester in New Zealand graduates, shared their reflections on the experience and the education with us recently, and we had to share. Learn more about upcoming semesters in New Zealand here.
Wendy Cirko, 2013 Spring Semester in New Zealand:
They say that college will be the most memorable four years of your life. Here you make new friends, have new freedoms, learn new thing about yourself, and gain knowledge to shape your future. I knew that going into college I wanted to go somewhere that would allow me time to study abroad. This is how I ended up at Salisbury University, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in outdoor education and philosophy.
My sophomore year was ending and my advisor, knowing I liked the outdoors, suggested I check out NOLS for an alternative study abroad experience. I ended up in New Zealand, backpacking, kayaking, and sailing the spring semester of 2013. Getting my time with NOLS to help me earn my degree required work between my academic advisors and department heads, but in the end I received 16 transfer credits. These credits in environmental studies, risk management, and various other fields allowed me to not fall behind in school, and more importantly my NOLS semester gave me a 77-day experience that was more beneficial than any class I could have taken.
No matter where you go, spending a semester abroad is a life-changing event. The fact that I was able to spend this semester in the backcountry with NOLS was amazing and something that I would never consider trading for a more standard study abroad experience. The things I learned: taking initiative, first aid, perseverance, leading your peers, gaining self-confidence, staying positive. The new people I met: my instructors and my nine coursemates. They are the things that I will carry into my future. NOLS has helped me to further my studies, plus the skills I learned will hopefully help me in a future of outdoor education. I know that this experience has made my college years more memorable than I could have ever imagined and I am so thankful that I had this amazing opportunity.
Cory McDonald, 2013 Spring Semester in New Zealand:
I began my NOLS adventure with the intent of gaining experience in outdoor leadership for my major, outdoor recreation. As an active learner, I learn best when I am immersed in a topic, so NOLS seemed like an appropriate path. My goals going into my NOLS semester were to master practical backcountry skills such as map interpretation, route planning, risk management, and taking on leadership roles. Along with achieving these goals, I also gained insight and clarity on what I am passionate about and what is important to me.
Communication is a big part of taking on the leadership role, but the leadership role is only a small part of communication. Throughout the semester I learned how to communicate as an effective follower, an equal team member, and an individual amongst a group. Part of communication is listening and reflecting. By learning how to listen and effectively receive and reflect on feedback, you can change or expand on your self-awareness, ultimately bringing you closer to understanding yourself.
NOLS is an excellent medium for challenging and validating your self-awareness. Being engrossed in the sublimity of the wilderness along with the pure wildness of it manifested, in me, a sense of admiration for the ecological life and the geological processes that have been at work for billions of years. Contributing to this new sense of admiration was learning and practicing Leave No Trace ethical backcountry travel and learning the names of the different wildlife that surrounded me. Learning the names of the surrounding wildlife and how geological formations came to be gave me deeper respect and toward them. Through living amid the wildlife for some time, I became empathetic for the natural world.
I came away from NOLS with a new sense of compassion toward something bigger than myself. I have now added to my degree a concentration in natural resource recreation management and with that I plan to protect and preserve the natural quality of wilderness and provide opportunities for current and future generations to explore the natural world and themselves.
Third Grade Stewards Reseed Sinks Canyon!
Rake poles towered over a parade of third graders as they marched up a path to Sinks Canyon. Oh yes, the Gannett Peak Third Grade Stewards were at it again. This time, they returned to reseed the South-Facing slope of Fairfield Hill that was hit by last July’s forest fire. Lead by our trusty Park Rangers Darrel and Jamie, they headed up the path with rakes, seeds, and seed dispersers in hand.
A lightning strike caused this past summer's forest fire. The fire stretched over 1,500 acres across Sinks Canyon and into the Shoshone National Forest. It was contained in a matter of days by proactive firemen, and roads were open to the public shortly after.
The arrival of spring means that it is time to reseed this area. Sagebrush, bitterbrush, wildflowers such as gaillardia, and other indigenous plant species are on the list to be reintroduced to the area. If this area is not reseeded in an effective and timely way, the south-facing slope will suffer from environmental impacts such as loss of biodiversity and habitats. This section is also a trail to popular sections of climbing walls. Without vegetation to help hold the mountainside together, serious erosion could occur. This could cause irreversible structural damage to the land, and also cause an increase of organic matter to run into the river down below, compromising the health of an important water source.
So there we were, on the slope of Fairfield Hill raking and seeding and raking and stomping the ground. What was really impressive was the creative way the kids completed this task. Through trial and error and teamwork, the kids figured out a way to reseed that was both efficient and fun! One person would lead the train and disperse seeds across the raked ground, and the rest of the group would follow behind and re-rake the area to help cover up the freshly strewn seeds. It was powerful to see such harmony and capability come from this group of caring 9 and 10 year olds.
During our journey back down to go eat some well-deserved lunch, we turned around and looked at what we accomplished. The kids were proud, and knew that what they did will help bring beauty and life back to the forest. All in a day’s work to help keep one of our favorite outdoor classrooms healthy and strong!
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.
NOLS at the LEED Platinum celebration in Billings, Montana!
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, 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. http://www.usgbc.org/leed
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