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REI and the WRMC

As we busily prepare for this year’s Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC), we thought we’d take some time to reflect on our awesome community and those who help make it that way. We want to highlight some of the organizations that continually come the WRMC and find out why they attend and how the WRMC has influenced their risk management practices.

In our continuing WRMC Blog series, we caught up with Rebecca Bear, Outdoor Programs & Outreach manager at REI, in Kent, Washington and asked her some questions. Perhaps you will see similarities to your own program and discover how the WRMC community can help you.

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WRMC: Tell us more about REI members and participants.

Bear: We primarily serve REI members and customers who are looking to learn new outdoor activities or deepen their skills in a particular outdoor sport. There are 5 million active REI members of all races, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, ages, genders, etc. It is a large [and] diverse group of outdoor enthusiasts.

WRMC: What do your participants gain from wilderness or remote settings?

Bear: Actually most of our Outdoor School participants are not in remote settings. We help our customers connect to the great, iconic, local destinations close to urban areas, like Climbing at Carderock [near] D.C. or learning to stand up paddle under the Statue of Liberty.

WRMC: Why does your organization send employees to the WRMC?

Bear: I send my field managers to the conference because I think they benefit from the cross-pollination of ideas and some of the foundational risk management concepts discussed in the workshops.

WRMC: How has attending the WRMC helped you provide a better experience for your participants?

Bear: Our managers appreciate the time we have to discuss concepts and how they apply to REI’s risk management. Many of them leave with tangible ideas and concepts they take back immediately to their work.

WRMC: How has attending the WRMC changed the way you manage your program?

Bear: Our program is relatively young (10 years old) in comparison to Outward Bound, NOLS and SCA, etc. As a result, we have benefitted from the knowledge, resources, and tools from the WRMC as we have built our risk management structure. Our training program includes articles from the WRMC library and concepts that are foundational to outdoor programs risk management (like subjective v. objective risk). We’ve also been able to innovate off of these concepts and design them for the unique circumstances of our urban day programming.          

We would like to extend a big thank you to REI’s Outdoor and Outreach Program for their contributions to the WRMC. We look forward to having them share their knowledge and experiences again this year. Bear and her colleague, Jeremy Oyen, will present a workshop offering solutions and techniques for training part-time and seasonal field staff. If your program faces challenges with how to incorporate seasonal staffing with the risk management needs of your organization, especially in an urban setting, come take advantage of the opportunity to network with the great folks at REI and other similar organizations. Join us at Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta, Georgia, October 1-3, 2014.

Click on the image below to learn more about the WRMC or to register online.

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Permalink | Posted by Rahel Manna on Jul 22, 2014 in the following categories: Curriculum, Leadership, On The Net, Professional Training, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

Rocky Mountain Power Foundation Supports NOLS Scholarships

NOLS is delighted to receive a $3,500 grant from the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation to provide scholarships to students from Wyoming and Utah. The funds will support underserved youth living in Wyoming and Utah as they embark on the educational adventure of a lifetime this summer. 

Each year, NOLS offers $1.5 million in scholarships, enabling students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to benefit from the school’s unrivaled experiential outdoor skills and leadership training. The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation’s contribution to this initiative is of great importance to NOLS’ mission.

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Rocky Mountain Power's Craig Nelson and NOLS' Pip Coe commemorate the grant in front of NOLS' solar panels, another project made possible by Rocky Mountain Power.

“The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation is pleased to support this worthy organization and its efforts to teach students valuable lessons in communication, decision-making and teamwork,” said Craig Nelson, Rocky Mountain Power customer and community manager.

“We believe positive, ethical leaders change the world,” said Pip Coe, NOLS Alumni and Development Director. “The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation demonstrates the impact of ethical community leaders while also supporting the development of future leaders by helping them take NOLS courses.” 

Students interested in applying for a NOLS scholarship should submit the standard NOLS scholarship application. Find the form and learn more about scholarships at NOLS at http://www.nols.edu/financialaid/nols_scholarship.shtml.

Permalink | Posted by NOLS on Jul 16, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, In The News, Leadership, On The Net

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

FORMER OLYMPIAN & NOLS INSTRUCTOR, SARAH KONRAD, FEATURED ON NBC 2014

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    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.” 

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     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 TeamUSA.org, "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). 

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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.

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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.

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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

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

4-7-1

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

Water World - Lynn Petzold's 9 Favorite Backcountry Locales

NOLS Senior Field Instructor and Professional Training Account Manager, Lynn Petzold is no stranger to stunning and captivating backcountry locales. Working NOLS courses in Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, British Columbia, and the U.S. and living in Bolivia and Spain has given her access to so many beautiful spots, it came as a real surprise when she agreed to whittle down her favorite spots to just nine. While she has experienced some of these places as an instructor on NOLS courses, there are a few that she has pursued on her own accord. Here they are, in no particular order...

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~ Lynn Petzold ~

1) Baja coast from San Felipe to La Paz (Sea of Cortez, Baja, Mexico)

"This coastline holds a special place in my heart. I started paddling here in 1993 and since then, I've witnessed changes like development of the area and a decline in the fisheries that used to thrive along the coast. I've enjoyed reconnecting with the local Mexicans every couple of years."

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El Nido - Photo by Lynn Petzold

"While I was paddling at sunrise one morning along the southern end of San Basilio, I encountered these formations just off the coast. There was something really captivating about the contrast between these sharp protrustions and the serene, white beaches just behind me. This area holds some great memories!"

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Bahia San Basilio - Photo by Lynn Petzold

2) El Pulpito (Sea of Cortez, Baja, Mexico)

"2009 was a great year for paddling down in Baja! There was a point at which we were able to get really close to these caverns at El Pulpito. This is a north facing wall coming straight out of the ocean near San Nicolas. When there are high winds (which is typically the case in winter) and a built up sea, this is an area that you want to steer clear of. We were lucky enough to hit it just right. Being able to get close to these features was pretty special."

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El Pulpito - Photo by Lynn Petzold

3) Laguna San Ignacio (Baja, Mexico)

"I've visited San Ignacio several times. These particular photos were taken during a NOLS Alumni Trip in 2008. We were there to witness part of the annual Gray Whale migration. The Baja Pennisula is the final stop along their journey from the Chuckchi Sea (which is just north of the Bering Strait)."

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Photo by Lynn Petzold

 

Lynn touching a whale
Lynn, making contact

4) Deer Isle Archipelago (Maine)

"Deer Isle is one of my favorite spots to paddle on the Atlantic coast. This photo was from a NOLS Alumni Trip in 2008. I'm a member of the Maine Island Trail Association, which is an organization that promotes stewardship of this Archipelago. They also provide information to members regarding camping spots, since many of the islands are privately owned."

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Photo by Doug Lowry

5) Rangitata River (South Island, New Zealand)

"Rangitata River is a unique spot on the South Island of New Zealand. I lived in nearby Christchurch for a year in 1995 and on the weekends, we'd escape to the river to go rafting. It is a little more remote and off the beaten path, a favorite spot for locals. Paddling with local Kiwis made it that much more special. Their fun-loving, adventureous spirit was infectious."

Rangitata gorge
Photo by Lynn Petzold

"Headwaters of the Rangitata River above the gorge. This is a salmon fishery and generally a beautiful, serene spot."

Above gorge
Photo by Lynn Petzold

6) Eastern side of Knight Island (Prince William Sound, Alaska)

"Knight Island might be my favorite spot in Prince William Sound. This area is special, simply because its fairly remote and partially protected from the ocean. This area is great for humpback whale and orca watching!"

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Looking out toward Knight Island - Photo by Doug Lowry

 7) Harriman Fjord (Prince William Sound, Alaska)

"In 2011, I was working a STEP course in Prince William Sound. Harriman Fjord is located at the southern end of the Chugach Range, and the surrounding terrain feels immense. Between the rain, fog, and tide-water glaciers, it seems as though you're stepping...or paddling...back in time. This location brings back many memories and is my current desktop background!"

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Harriman Fjord - Photo by Lynn Petzold

8) Lofoten Islands (Norway)

"In the summer of 2001, I went to Norway on a personal trip to paddle with one of my students, a Semester in Patagonia grad and native Norwegian. I was attracted to explore this area after hearing about it from my friend Lena Conlan, a NOLS/WMI Instructor and co-owner of a guiding company, Crossing Latitudes, which operates in this area."

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Lofoten Islands - Photo by Lena Conlan

9) Coastline from Bella Bella to Port Hardy (British Columbia, Canada) 

"Part of the Inside Passage, this coastline provides 'world class' paddling. Between the Pacific swell, the lush, old growth forests, and spectacular islands along the coast, this place is surrounded by beauty."

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Photo by Lynn Petzold

"Sunsets here are pretty special as well!"

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Photo by Lynn Petzold

What's next on Lynn's list?

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Exuma's, Bahamas - Photo by Mary Nicol




 

Permalink | Posted by NOLS on Sep 12, 2013 in the following categories: Alumni, Instructor News, On The Net

NOLS Rocky Mountain makes ‘back to school’ more fun

NOLS Rocky Mountain brought extra adventure to Lander Valley High School freshman orientation in this week.

NOLS facilitated two days of climbing for rising freshmen "to coalesce the incoming freshman class, experience problem solving through challenge and uncertainty, and provide a shared experience going into their four-year experience of high school," said NOLS Rocky Mountain Special Projects Manager Brian Fabel.

Over 70 students participated at no cost to them or to Lander Valley High School.

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Kyle Duba photo

The program was documented by local news source County 10.

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Aug 15, 2013 in the following categories: In The News, Instructor News, On The Net, Rocky Mountain

Best Place to Work ... Still

For the sixth year in a row, NOLS has been named one of Outside Magazine's "Best Places to Work." NOLS is one of only five nonprofit organizations selected and, along with Natural Habitat Adventures, Patagonia, Smith Optics, and Smartwool, earns the distinction of being included all six years Outside has published this list. A review of NOLS and other top-performing companies is available at www.outsideonline.com.

"As a world leader in outdoor education, NOLS staff share their passion for wilderness medicine, mountaineering, and more with students age 14 to 70. Here, employees are more likely to wear Chacos than dress shoes, which better prepares them for frequent post-work climbs or hikes," the article states.

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NOLS instructors work in the greatest classrooms in the world, and in-town staff find ways into these same breathtaking places with great frequency with the support of NOLS. Deborah Sussex/NOLS photo

NOLS Executive Director John Gans gives all of the credit to the staff and faculty. "As we approach 50 years of wilderness education it is clear that our staff are the core of our success. Their consistent dedication to our mission is the reason for our success and also for our ongoing placement as a top national employer," he said.

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Aug 12, 2013 in the following categories: In The News, On The Net

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