Outdoor Educator Students and BLM Team Up for Monitoring Project

Posted by: NOLS Scandinavia on May 7, 2010

On April 29, the NOLS Rocky Mountain (RM) Outdoor Educator Semester
(OES) took a break from their climbing camp to spend the day with the Bureau of
Land Management’s (BLM) Lander Field Office
. A windy day provided a great opportunity for OES students
and instructors to stay on the ground and help the BLM monitor Wilderness Study
Areas (WSAs) in the Granite Mountains, east of Jeffrey City, Wyoming.


Photo: NOLS Field Instructor Christian Gauderer assists students Varley Hopkinson, Maegan Fitzgerald and Zach Parelman as they monitor wilderness characteristics in the Split Rock Wilderness Study Area.

The morning began with a safety and orientation talk, after which
BLM Recreation Technician and NOLS instructor, Brandon Thielke discussed
various wilderness characteristics and values the group would be documenting,
including evidence of development, naturalness, viewsheds, and opportunities
for solitude. Armed with worksheets, maps and GPS units, the students
and instructors hiked into the Split Rock and Miller Springs WSAs. By
day's end, the group had monitored approximately 15 miles within and near
the boundaries of the WSAs and logged a combined total of 84 hours of

Monitoring like this helps us ensure that WSAs are not being
degraded, and that they continue to offer people opportunities to have wilderness experiences," said Brandon Thielke. "The NOLS course was a
huge asset to the ongoing monitoring effort." In preparation for the project, Thielke
visited the students in a classroom setting in mid-April and spoke with them
about multiple use land management, wilderness and WSAs.

OES students enjoyed the learning experience. One student, Megan Fitzgerald of Texas,
commented that the day gave her "a real perspective of the full range of what's going on on our public lands—from the ground up."

Another great day of experiential education at its best! Thanks to
the OES and the BLM for their coordinated efforts.

To learn more about WSAs click here.


Photo: Students from the NOLS Outdoor Educator Semester hike in
the Split Rock Wilderness Study Area.

Thank you to Sarah Beckwith of the BLM for the photos.

Read the BLM Press Release: BLM and NOLS Team-up for Monitoring Project