Closing in on final framing at WWMC
Sustained dry weather has helped keep the Wyss Campus construction on track. The main educational facility has been framed and the student residences are right behind:
In the photo above, the concrete pads are being poured for steel structure that carries the weight of the covered dining area. A pump truck speeds the delivery of the mud to the 32 well spaced holes. The white material in the right foreground is nailbase, a rigid recycled foam afixed to OSB sheathing. (OSB- oriented strand board, an engineered product that recycles small wood scraps.) The nailbase is installed all over the exterior of the structural insulated panels to increase R-values and decrease the energy required to heat or cool the interior.
Student cabins are starting to pop up:
The pieces are few but somewhat unwieldly- pre-assembly of the roof on the ground ensures tight construction, then the crane picks them and flys them over to the waiting walls. While the crane is an extra expense, it helps to minimize the disturbance around each building, increases speed of assembly, and promotes excellent geometry and soundness of the structure.
Stay tuned for finishes, already underway!
Wilderness First Responder Recertification featured in the Denver Post
Early this month, a news piece hit the Denver Post, documenting a small but poignant portion of a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Recertification course. Joshua Berman, OutWest Columnist and NOLS Wilderness Medicine graduate, wrote a piece that opens with the scene of an accident. After walking readers through the initial steps of assessing the scene, Berman reveals the victim is an actor and the accident a scenario.
“I take this three-day recertification every couple of years and have used the skills while working as an Outward Bound instructor, wildland firefighter and international trip leader. My WFR training also comes in handy in the front-country — on the playground at the school where I teach and at home with my daughters,” he writes.
He adds that the medical skills are not the only lessons Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) students walk away with. Knowing when not to call 911 (and, in this instance, walk a patient to the trailhead) is an invaluable skill set. Having the competence and confidence to know when to call for help and when not to is one aspect of wilderness medicine training Berman considers worth noting. It is, of course, a skill we at NOLS stress as well: judgment.
You can read more about Berman’s practice of these skills here.
Australia Semester Students head out kayaking!
Yesterday we saw off SAS 6/8/12 to begin the first field section of their semester, sea kayaking. This group of 12 students started their semester on June 8th. We met them here in Broome, way up in the NW corner of the state of Western Australia.
The first challenge for them, was of course just managing to get here at all! It is no small feat to undertake the travel distances, times & logistics, not to mention that we are around 12hrs off most of the US, so jet lag is at an extreme.
Never-the-less, they all made it, & we dove straight in to bagging rations, & sorting gear for their 68 day expedition.
The following day, they began their first section, a 3 day Wilderness First Aid training by Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS. Students participated in theory classes & were challenged by practical scenarios (with fake blood & screaming patients!), to prepare them for every eventuality of their remote expedition.
For the next 3.5 weeks they will explore this amazing marine environment, a collection of islands with one of the highest concentrations of petroglyphic rock art in the world!
During this time we will have limited, to no contact, with them. How-ever, they will receive food & water resupplies about every week from our support team in Dampier.
Here's an outline of their schedule, for those who'd like to know when you might hear from your loved ones!
Wilderness First Aid - WMI course
8 - 11 June
Sea kayaking section - Dampier Archipelago
12 June - 5 July
Students will be travelling & switching between sections on the 5 & 6 July. It is possible they may have access to a phone during this time!
Hiking section - King Leopold Ranges, Kimberley
7 July - 6 August
Students will likely be in Broome for the night of the August 6th, & have phone access.
7 - 13 August
Students will be in Broome, for the final night of the semester on August 13. The following day we will graduate, celebrate, & then drop them to their accommodation that afternoon.
For those wishing to send mail, students will be able to receive on the following dates -
July 6, August 6 & August 13.
Keep in mind, we are a long way off the beaten path here, so if you want something to arrive on time, be sure to check your outgoing delivery estimates!
Also, remember to check this Blog site for updates & photos around those contact dates, & pass the link around to your friends!
Cheers! - The NOLS Australia team.
NOLS ladies at Little Red
Nearly a dozen NOLS women participated in a very important bike ride last weekend. We were proud to be represented at the annual Little Red Riding Hood, a non-competitive cycling event that raises funds for cancer research at Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah.
Leslie van Barselaar, WMI marketing coordinator, sold her road bike when her cancer recurred in 2010 thinking she’d never ride again. When she crossed the finish line last weekend, having completed 36 miles, Leslie was struck with joy and relief.
“I hadn’t realized how much that moment transcended the long four years of cancer treatment and assaults to my body with replacing that trauma with regained trust and faith in what my body could do,” she reflected.
Leslie rode with her friend and colleague, Debra East, WMI admissions supervisor. Debra rode last year, providing inspiration for Leslie, who supported her 2011 ride, to join this year. The two were joined by a number of coworkers.
“It was great to share the road with so many NOLS colleagues, including women I work with daily in the Wilderness Medicine Institute office,” Debra noted. She said she could feel the shared energy of the women riding in support of the Huntsman Institute’s research and staff.
“It is an empowering ride that can span the ages of girls to older women, all riding together, raising funds for [ovarian] and breast cancer research University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute,” Debra wrote.
The all-female environment was new and delightful for Kate Herden, one of our marketing representatives.
“The beauty of all of the riders is what really struck me. It seemed like everyone from 9 to 90, tall/short, thick/thin, was riding with such a sense of pride,” she wrote.
Among those women was Linda Lindsey, NOLS’ human resources and inclusion manager. She said she particularly enjoyed the non-competitive environment as she took on her first 50-mile solo ride (she’s put in many on a tandem bike). She didn’t have any trouble finding local women who were also training for the event in Cache Valley in Utah.
WMI Registrar Jenna Helgeson signed up for the full 100 miles and trained a bit with Kate, photographer Lindsay D’Addato, and designer Sam Baker. On the day of the ride, they came upon Leslie and Debra about 57 miles in and all rolled into town together.
“We took the last leg as a group relying on our never ceasing laughter, singing and daydreams of ice cream to drive us home!” reported Kate.
We at NOLS are very proud of these women for taking on the challenge of “Little Red,” working toward a difficult goal, sometimes on their own and always in support of one another. And all for a good cause. Well done, and thank you to all of you.
Debra East, WMI admissions supervisor
Leslie Van Barselaar, WMI marketing coordinator
Lindsay D’Addato, photographer
Kate Herden, marketing representative
Jenna Helgeson, WMI registrar
Sam Baker, designer
Jennifer Connell, research and campaign cordinator
Shana Tarter, WMI assistant director
Pip Coe, alumni and development director
Linda Lindsey, human resources and inclusion manager
Judy Crawford, WMI instructor
Recent work at the Wyss Campus
Update on Funding the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus Construction
The Wilderness Medicine recently celebrated a milestone in internal fundraising when 75% of their staff graciously gave a gift toward the construction of the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus. Tod Schimelpfenig, WMI Curriculum Director and NOLS senior staff, stepped up to lead a staff-initiated campaign that also put his skin in the game. Schimelpfenig gallantly offered to display himself wearing a WMI Buff® as a tube-top if 85% of the WMI staff donated to the cause.
"Though we did not hit our 85% goal,” states Schimelpfenig, “We are very pleased so many of you chose to participate. One hundred and eighty-six WMI in-town and instructional staff donated to the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus campaign. This is a stunning achievement. Your generosity and commitment to WMI is beautiful and we deeply appreciate it. Next, the NOLS fundraising folks will leverage your dedication to raise the remainder of the money we need to build our campus, and our future. Again, thank you from the whole of our hearts."
This staff campaign supports the challenge goal set by biomedical entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mr. Hansjorg Wyss. In short, if NOLS supporters raise $1.5M toward the completion of the campus, Mr. Wyss will generously match our dollars.
Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus fundraising facts to date:
1) Total currently raised towards the $1.5 million goal is: $1,067,612.30
2) Total number of donors: 354
3) Total left to raise: $432,387.70
For more information about the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus please see our blog at:
To donate to our cause please go to:
Geothermal wells and Classroom Walls
May has looked and felt more like June this year- not a bad thing for moving work along. Structural panels continue to be assembled on our 11,000 square foot main facility while in areas already completed, other work is already progressing. Graywater drainlines, storm drains, venting and water supply lines are coming together in the basement while the radiant tubing for in-floor heat is being placed and cast in concrete on the main level. The radiant tubes will exchange heat by indirect contact with an antifreeze loop that is pumped into a series of wells, each of which is around 250' deep.
A geothermal well take about a day to drill and our system requires eight of them. We place long loops of polyethelyne pipe in the holes, then pack a special grout into the well to seal the pipe in place. Those loops come above ground now but they will eventually be attached to a header below ground that brings the antifreeze from the wells to the mechanical spaces in the basement. Befor the header gets placed, the area needs to dry out. Drilling requires water, as does the activation of the grout, and in our location, we also hit some minor aquifers that added to the imrpovised mud season.
The water well is slated to get started before the end of this month with a derrick twice the size of the geothermal rig. We'll also be trenching for water and electrical supply, bolting the student housing girders together, and sheetrocking the caretaker home.
Wyss progress - Mid-April Photos
NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute Announces New WEMT Programming in Northern California
NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) is pleased to announce its California Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) program has a new home near Mt. Shasta at the College of the Siskiyous.
The College of the Siskiyous is home to established programs for Paramedics, EMTs, and Wildland Fire Fighters. “We feel it is a very good match”, says WMI Special Programs Manager Gates Richards. "The College of the Siskiyous and WMI share similar desired outcomes for emergency and wilderness medicine education, and they are excited to have us bring our WEMT program on campus. We will have the ability to easily transition from accessible urban EMT resources and an excellent indoor classroom right into local wilderness resources."
"A multi-year agreement was signed with the College of Siskiyous to host our WEMT courses. We look forward to developing our partnership with the College," adds Richards.
WMI’s WEMT courses are full immersion intensive training. WMI instructors have broad experience in both urban and wilderness medicine and are able to integrate both curricula for a wide range of students. WMI courses are demanding but rewarding; students leave prepared to deal with emergencies no matter where they happen.
The first WEMT courses in Mt. Shasta will be held this summer.
Steady Progress at the Main Building