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Welcome to NOLS India: Expeditions in the Himalaya

By NOLS on 8/12/19 8:18 AM

Written by Annalise Grueter and Manohar D'silva. 


Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.


A line of solemn, snow-capped giants stretches across the three northernmost states in India.

These soaring peaks belong to the world’s highest mountain chain: the Himalaya.

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Topics: Himalayas, Himalaya, Educators Notebook, NOLS India, education, cultural expedition

Start Dreaming: Summer 2020 Expeditions Now Online

By NOLS on 7/31/19 9:16 AM

Camping on a summer day in the Yukon. Photo by Ari Bruns. 

Dreading the end of summer? We are too, just a little.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Adventure Courses, NOLS semester, education, announcement, classic courses

Wilderness Safety Training: Key for Any Risk Management Toolkit

By Elizabeth Bezark on 7/29/19 8:08 AM

Photo by Shelli Johnson
 

Going to the backcountry or rural communities fosters growth, transformation, and opportunities for learning. But, often these experiences have inherent risks, like being far from medical care or in places where communication is difficult.

That’s why anyone, from solo adventurers to expedition leaders in these settings, needs skills in risk management. Strong risk management makes it more likely you will achieve individual and group goals for learning and recreating.

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Topics: risk management, Trip Leader, NOLS Risk Services, trip planning, Wilderness Safety Training

SOAR Act Introduction to the House of Representatives

By Aaron Bannon on 7/26/19 8:49 AM

Photo by Trip Davis.
 

For newly-minted outdoor programs, and for well-established ones like NOLS, the business of permitting and access on U.S. public lands is becoming increasingly challenging. Agencies responsible for permitting are under-resourced, mired in administrative processes, and compelled to prioritize other resource needs first.

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Topics: Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, leadership

Case Study: When Heat Stress Hits an Entire Group

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 7/23/19 8:17 AM

Photo by Pascale Gulick
 

The Setting

You’re the supervisor for several crews doing volunteer trail maintenance in a local national forest.

Since your crew leaders are new, you decide to head out to their work sites to check on their work. (Plus, it’s a good reason to get out of the office, away from email, and enjoy a hike in the hills.)

The weather has been unusually hot and humid, with daytime temperatures in the 90s °F (30s °C).

You find one of your crews around lunchtime resting under a few trees. They look lethargic and tired.

One crew member is lying on his back with his feet elevated and a wet bandanna on his forehead. Your crew leader gives you a SOAP report on the patient.

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Topics: first aid, summer, wilderness medicine, case study, heat illness

My Path to Outdoor Education from a Semester in Alaska

By Katiya Gombar on 7/15/19 7:41 AM

Editor's note: Katiya took a semester in Alaska in the summer of 2016 and became a NOLS instructor in May 2019.

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Topics: study abroad, Semester, Live the Dream, Alaska, leadership, story

Why We Leave Phones Behind on NOLS Courses (and why you should do it more often)

By Molly Herber on 7/1/19 8:45 AM

Photo by Molly Hagbrand.

Cell phones are becoming better adventure tools every day. You can find what feels like endless apps for navigation, trip guides, even stargazing.

So why, when you look through a NOLS equipment list, is a cell phone nowhere to be found?

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Topics: technology, Live the Dream, wilderness, story

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Next Hike is LNT-Approved

By Emily Folk on 6/24/19 3:40 PM

Photo by Trip Davis

As an experienced outdoorsperson, you're aware of the rules. After you've enjoyed a hike, camping trip or some other excursion, you need to make sure you've left an area the same way you'd like to find it.

That respect is at the core of the Leave No Trace principles that protect the natural beauty of wild spaces.

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Topics: LNT, Environmental Stewardship, leave no trace, education

I Don't Need to Be an Extrovert to Lead: Reflections on Backpacking in Alaska

By Natasha Gold on 6/18/19 8:38 AM
Photo by Natasha Gold
 

In January 2018, I was perusing the internet for outdoor schools on a whim that perhaps I would apply to a program. I stumbled onto the NOLS website; instantly, I wanted to go.

I found an 8-day women-only backpacking expedition in Alaska. I liked the idea of a women’s only trip and I have wanted to camp in Alaska since I was little.

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Topics: Live the Dream, Alaska, all-women, leadership, story, women in leadership

Case Study: Treating a Feverish Patient

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 6/13/19 3:57 PM
Photo by Nicholette Hilbrich.

The Setting

You’re a biologist working out of a remote ranch on the sagebrush plains of southern Idaho. It’s early May. You ride and walk daily to survey herds of pronghorn as part of a research program. One of your classmates goes to bed feeling lousy—achy, nauseous—and wakes up feeling worse.

Knowing you have training as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), your colleagues ask you to take a look at this poor fellow.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, case study, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, flu-like illness

Winter & Spring 2020 Expeditions Now Online

By NOLS on 6/11/19 3:02 PM

Kayaking in New Zealand. Photo by Lisa Moen.
 

Summer's here, and we want you to savor every single late-evening walk and early morning paddle.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, education, backcountry skiing, Prime, splitboarding, announcement, spring break, affinity

Taking a NOLS River Expedition

By Rob Motley on 6/5/19 8:48 AM
Photo by Austin Danicic
 

“It’s impossible to be bored running a rapid,” according to Fabio Oliveira.

He would know. Despite spending 289 weeks in the field as NOLS instructor, he’s never gotten tired of leading river expeditions. A long-time instructor from Brazil, Fabio has spent the last five years primarily teaching whitewater courses that are full of rapids, cheering, and giggling.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, canoeing, kayaking, River, leadership, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions

Wilderness First Responders: #lowkeysuperheroes

By Eric Johnson on 6/3/19 8:02 AM

Practicing splinting a broken bone. Photo by Taylor Bach.
 

At age 41 I have repented of some of the bad behavior of my youth. No longer will I leave fish around the tents of my friends when we camp in bear country. Nor will I begin my pre-trip safety talks with the phrase, “What could possibly go wrong?” And, if possible, I will read the rapids and then run them instead of running them and reading about them later in camp when I finally find the guidebook. 

To this end, or rather, new beginning, I enrolled in a Wilderness First Responder course with NOLS this spring.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

There and Back Again, a Patagonia Tale: The Patagonia Cultural Expedition

By Jen Antocci on 5/29/19 9:42 AM

Photo courtesy of Alex Chang - Cornell Leadership Expedition.
 

I was sitting in my doctor’s office, awkwardly fussing with my johnny gown and glancing down at the NOLS health form in my hands. My doctor comes in and after some formal chitchat I ask her to complete the health clearance for this month long hiking and cultural expedition in Patagonia.

“A month of hiking? Sleeping in tents? In South America? Are you being punished?” she half joked. “No, I’m paying to do this” I joked back. “Well good for you, I don’t even like going out in my backyard.” She signed the form and I left the office, mentally checking off the final item on my expedition to-do list.

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Topics: Patagonia, culture, Live the Dream, story, cultural expedition

Research at NOLS: How NOLS Courses Help Prepare for Extended Expeditions in Space

By Shannon Rochelle on 5/23/19 8:46 AM

 

How can NOLS courses help us plan for long duration space flight? You may know that NOLS works with astronauts and other NASA staff, taking them into the backcountry for experiential lessons in expedition behavior, teamwork, and leadership.

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Topics: leadership education, NOLS Leader, NASA, Research, education, science