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Exploration Film Tour Celebrates the Spirit of Adventure

The first annual NOLS Exploration Film Tour features two and a half hours of exciting short films based on themes of wonder, discovery, curiosity, and the timelessness of the wilderness experience. 

 

For one night, come celebrate the wonder of the outdoors through film. NOLS believes these films will inspire viewers to get outside and have their own adventures.

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Permalink | Posted by Kim Freitas on Aug 22, 2014 in the following categories: In The News

Lander Valley High School and NOLS team up for incoming freshmen orientation

On August 12th and 13th NOLS teamed up with Lander Valley High School to provide a taste of outdoor recreation to the freshmen orientation. This is the second year that NOLS has helped out with the freshmen orientation and NOLS hopes to make it an annual event for years to come.

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Permalink | Posted by NOLS on Aug 15, 2014 in the following categories: Alaska, In The News, Rocky Mountain

City Kids Wilderness Project and the WRMC

The Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) unites hundreds of the nation’s leading outdoor organizations, schools, and businesses annually in an effort to “offer an outstanding educational experience to help mitigate the risks inherent in exploring, working, teaching, and recreating in wild places.” WRMC attendees absorb and learn a lot from one another through workshops, exercises, structured networking sessions, and much more.

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. Recently, we interviewed Colleen McHugh, the program director of City Kids Wilderness Project (CKWP), an outstanding nonprofit youth organization that has been returning annually to the WRMC.

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Permalink | Posted by Rahel Manna on Aug 14, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Leadership, Professional Training, Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

Montana Conservation Corps & the WRMC

In this installment of the Wilderness Risk Management Conference blog series, we are focusing our attention on the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC). This nonprofit development program for young adults has been following in the footsteps of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, using conservation projects to foster citizenship and personal growth in its members. WRMC staff caught up with Montana Conservation Corps Program Director Lee Gault, who represented MCC at the WRMC 10 years ago, and asked him about the dynamic relationship that has been evolving between MCC and the WRMC for over a decade.

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MCC

In the span of one year, the MCC, as a single branch, is able to train 300-400 participants of varying age groups and backgrounds. The different programs offered at MCC also vary greatly. One program in particular, the Veterans Green Corps, serves American military veterans who are “transitioning from military to civilian life” and “range in age from 24-35” said Gault. Using the training and exposure that the MCC program provides, many American veterans who are MCC alumni are able to transition into civilian positions and go on to work with the national parks service and the national forest service.

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Permalink | Posted by Rahel Manna on Aug 12, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Leadership, Professional Training, Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

Thoughts From the Field: Rediscovering My Calling

Thoughts From the Field:  Rediscovering My Calling

By Scott Taylor, 2013 Spring Semester in Australia

Before my NOLS course, I had taken a break from the university of Vermont because my priorities had become unhinged. I saw NOLS as a way to get my feet wet in an untraditional educational arena as well as embark on the coolest adventure I have ever done.

On the plane from Boston to Western Australia, the contrasting emotions of apprehension and excitement pulsed through me. upon our arrival at NOLS Australia, my coursemates, instructors, and I divvied up 75 days worth of food and medical rations for 16 college-aged students from the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands.

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Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Aug 4, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Australia

The Australia Backpacking Course Back From the Bush

After 35 days out bush, our Backpacking Course students returned to Broome for their final pack up and graduation. Their backpacking section was quite an adventurous journey through the King Leopold Ranges. They experienced some of the true wonders of the Kimberley environment, hiking through open savannah grasslands with pockets of tropical rainforests. Some of their highlights included close encounters with the local wildlife, swimming under crystal clear waterfalls, exploring the Munboon Plateau, a 40 hour solo and a highly successful Small Group Expedition.

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Permalink | Posted by plus.google.com/111321812422337541486 on Aug 4, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Australia

The Australia Backpacking and Sea Kayaking Course Returns From the Sea

The ACS spent the first 26 days backpacking in Western Australia’s Kimberley region in the King Leopold Ranges. It's beautiful country to backpack through.  

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Permalink | Posted by plus.google.com/111321812422337541486 on Aug 4, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Australia

In-Town Staff Value Out-of-Office Play

It's no secret that NOLS is a great place to work. Listed in Outside Magazine's "100 Best Places to Work" for the last six years, NOLS has been recognized nationally for its commitment to outdoor education and encouraging a good work-life balance. [Read more on this recognition here.]

NOLS employees are allowed to work flexible schedules so they can get outside and play. Many staff members at NOLS take advantage of this perk. With support from supervisors, employees can take time out of the workday to participate in community-wide lunchtime bike rides, climb at the local crag or complete individual training regimens.

The organization also takes that support a step further by encouraging staff to participate in races and multi-day events, even when these events take place on weekdays. NOLS employees are participating in outdoor ventures all over the world but are also playing roles in Wyoming’s growing adventure race scene. 

For example, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute employees Kira Gilman, Jill Moeller, and Anna Horn entered and competed in the inaugural REV3 Casper Strong Full Day Adventure Race at their supervisor's urging. 

The team members cheered each other through a series of unique and entertaining events in Casper, Wyoming. The Casper Strong race was a team effort and these three ladies bonded while tackling challenges along the course.

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Permalink | Posted by Kim Freitas on Jul 31, 2014 in the following categories: In The News, Wilderness Medicine Institute

Fremont the Backpack

By Kaybe Loughran

Fremont the backpack sat in a heap
Of bags, tents, and jackets, three feet deep
He waited there for a future cold weather snap
When Nate finally would have time to repair his strap

Fremont remembered his first trip out
He hadn’t an idea what the Winds were about
Back then he was Deuter pack 2602
And his nylon was shiny, factory new!

Johnny the student carried him over ridges and creeks
Together they scrambled over so many peaks
One day they hiked and hiked what felt like nonstop
Until they found themselves on Fremont peak, right at the top!

Johnny was so happy that he marked the event
By naming his trusty pack after their first mountain ascent.
Over the next few weeks, Fremont and Johnny traveled together
The land was so rugged and so was the weather

Fremont became less shiny and acquired more wear
His nylon was breaking and he needed repair
Johnny’s instructor taught them packs could be sewn
So that buying a new one could be postponed

He showed them his gaiters and other gear
Which he would probably keep using for many a year
“Take care of your things and repair them here!
You’ll eliminate work that NOLS staff must endure.”

Fremont came back into town with a little red patch,
A mark that adventure never comes without a scratch.
He hung out, rested, and became ready to spring
For the excitement the next course could bring 

A few days later Fremont met Carrie Jean,
A young energetic girl of sixteen.
The first night at camp Carrie forgot
To put her snacks in the bear fence, and guess what they brought?

A little brown mouse who nibbled right through
Fremont’s fabric and into her shoe
“Eek!” she said in the light of the morning,
“My gulch crunch is gone and the ants are swarming!!”

Fremont was dragged across granite and mud
His zipper was dirty and could not be tugged
"Help" he cried, though only the tent could hear,
"Someone please teach this girl about gear!"

The tent sighed and let Fremont under his fly,
He could do little but at least he could keep Fremont dry.
So after three long weeks Fremont returned to the base
Bashed, bruised, and torn all over the place.

Kevin gave him one long look and shook his head
“Not back to the gear room, but the back pile instead!”
So that’s where Fremont is and that’s where he’ll stay
Until the base has a cold, slow, quiet day.

 

The staff at NOLS works hard to keep their gear in working order. Students are sent into the field with good quality stuff. Due to the nature of NOLS courses, gear never stays pristine, but NOLS instructors use these opportunities to teach students how to repair their own things. According to Kevin McGowan, who runs the gear room, whatever can be repaired in town can also be repaired in the field. Students are equipped with stove and tent repair kits as well as patch kits and a speedy stitcher for all sorts of gear. They learn repair techniques and important lessons about taking good care of their belongings. Students are often issued used gear with character and history. Puffy coats may be marked with small patches, but they are just as warm as any other jacket.

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Amit puts a patch on a puffy coat that just came off of a course.

Continue reading "Fremont the Backpack"

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Jul 31, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Rocky Mountain

Thanks for the Experience

Dear NOLS,

Thank you.

Thank you for creating an atmosphere where we would find ourselves creating an annual tradition of sending staff to compete in such an exciting, intimidating, and demanding event as the Cowboy Tough Adventure Race.

Thank you for encouraging us to pursue our curiosity and interest in adventure racing, particularly when it passes right through our back yard: the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming.

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Casey Adams and Marina Fleming, part of a four-person team, prepare to start in South Pass City on July 17. Jeanne O'Brien photo

Thank you for educating us in leadership, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, navigation, nutrition, and pack packing, all of which made our experience last week that much more “comfortable.”

Thank you for connecting us with preferred retailers like Deuter and Brooks so that our backs, feet, legs, and faces would be well-cared for out there—in addition to supplying us with assorted mandatory gear and epic piles of food. We carried countless bars and trail snacks 400 miles across Wyoming in our Deuter Trans Alpine backpacks, which proved surprisingly comfortable on a bike. We nursed our tired legs with Brooks compression socks as we slept each short night. We kept the sun off our faces and the burs out of our socks with the Brooks hats and Cascadia trail shoes and schlepped our way from South Pass City to Casper in an awe-inspiring, if indirect, route. 

Thank you for being the kind of organization where it is perfectly reasonable for managers and interns alike to drive an hour to the starting line to cheer (which is pretty cool for the competitors and the fans alike). Thank you for setting up another cheering squad on Main Street on Day 2 of the race, just a block from where we could have been working instead of pedaling by and giving high fives en route to throwing tomahawks.

Finally thanks for supporting the race and our fellow racers by sending the highly educated and skilled medical team from the Wilderness Medicine Institute to follow all our 40 teams for four days, repair blisters on surely nasty feet, clean road rash, and more.

Obviously, thanks for taking, and subsequently sharing, this photo:

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Brad Christensen photo

It’s an honor and a pleasure to work for NOLS. Thanks for the adventures, the community, and the support.

 

Sincerely,

PR Specialist and Writer Casey Adams and Marketing Representative Marina Fleming, of the Wind River Country Team

Permalink | Posted by Casey Adams on Jul 30, 2014 in the following categories: Alumni, In The News

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