NOLS Blog

Browse by Category

Brent Wallen

Recent Posts

Robby Rechord: An Inspiration and a Role Model

By Brent Wallen on Apr 30, 2013

With
Expedition Denali right around the corner, the suspense and anticipation is building
every day. There’s no doubt the nine climbers who make up the team are focused
and are preparing themselves mentally and physically. Although these spirited
and courageous individuals are the nucleus for the entire expedition, have you
stopped and asked yourself who makes up the instructor team? One man comes to mind right away. He is a senior
NOLS instructor. He is an avid backcountry skier. His extensive winter camping
experience has led him to teach the NOLS professional level one avalanche
course and Winter Instructor Seminar. He is the NOLS Teton Valley program supervisor.
This spring he will be the first African American to lead a NOLS instructor
course. His name? Drumroll… Robby Rechord!

Read More

Topics: NOLS, nature, Expedition Denali, Educators Notebook, Robby Rechord, wilderness

PR & Marketing Intern Gets a Breath of Fresh Air

By Brent Wallen on Mar 27, 2013

Hey I got
an idea! I know it’s the middle of winter, but let’s go live outside for two
weeks straight and freeze our butts off! We can bring a bunch of dehydrated
food that all looks the same and throw it in a pot of water over a miniature
stove that is sometimes really hard to get to work! Toilet paper? Don’t be
silly. We will use jagged chunks of snow! We can also make the
biggest pile of snow ever and dig it out and live in it! How neat does that
sound? You know what else we can do? We can climb mountains every day until our
calves burn so much we toss around the thought of amputation. Boy, I am getting more excited by the minute!
So, what do you say? You in?

Read More

Topics: NOLS, Behind the Scenes, driggs, idaho. backcountry skiing

Chapul Bars: Feed the Revolution

By Brent Wallen on Feb 12, 2013

Has anyone ever
double-dog-dared you to eat a slimy, creepy crawly, six-legged creature as they
dangled it in front of your face? Did you swallow hard, tug on your shirt
collar a bit, and start to perspire slightly? Did you accept the challenge, or
turn in the other direction and bolt for the hills? Though consuming insects
may seem repulsive to some, let it be known the multiple advantages might soon
persuade the remaining 20 percent of the world population who don’t currently
ingest them as part of their diet, to convert.

There are 6
million species of insects in the world and a thousand of them are currently
part of a regular diet somewhere. There are only a few hundred species of
mammals. Ten pounds of feed will produce one pound of cattle, but it can
produce eight pounds of crickets. Insects also emit far fewer greenhouse gases
and are more nutritional. Based on these facts, Pat Crowley (NOLS instructor
and founder of Chapul energy bars) believes the United States’ psychology of
eating insects can be changed.

For a number of
years water has been Crowley’s passion. After getting a chance to see water
supply problems up close in person on a post-college trip to South America, he
returned to the U.S to complete a graduate degree in hydrology. As he learned
more and more about the unsustainability of water consumption in the United
States, the quicker the picture came into focus. In the Southwest, 30 million
people from San Diego to Phoenix rely on the Colorado River as their water
source. The river, which once flowed all the way to the sea, no longer does.
With 92 percent of the world’s fresh water supply used in the agriculture
sector, Crowley started exploring the use of insect protein as a way to cut
back. The first insect Crowley ever ate came on a NOLS raft/kayak course he was
instructing on the Green River. A student had caught a cricket and dared anyone
in the group to eat it. Crowley seized the opportunity and the cricket
simultaneously and munched and chomped it into tiny pieces and swallowed. He
then explained why he had done so. By the end of the course, half of the
students had tried crickets.

Chapul got
underway in the summer of 2011 after Crowley watched Marcel Dicke’s TED Talk on
the benefits of an insect diet. Chapul Bars are delicious; an all- natural
energy bar with protein from Chapul’s innovative cricket flour produced using
techniques inspired by the Aztecs. The crickets are raised in a commercial farm
and are fed vegetable by-product received from local grocery stores and farms.
Crickets, and many other insects can be raised vertically, which require far
fewer land resources, and can be raised in an urban setting, thus reducing the
carbon footprint of food transportation. The crickets are dried out and then
milled down to flour. The procedure is based off of Aztec and ancient Puebloan
techniques that used cricket and grasshopper flour to make protein-dense breads.
The name "Chapul" is a Nahuatl (Aztec) word for cricket/grasshopper.

The future of our world lies heavily on resource management. There inevitably
will come a day where alternative sources will need to be addressed and
implemented. We may soon be ordering a cockroach and locust pizza (perhaps with
lots of extra cheese at first), termite stew, or a beetle burger with a side of
worms. With the multiple benefits and advantages, the real question is “Why not
eat insects?”

Read More

Topics: Pat Crowley, NOLS, Insect protein, Live the Dream, Aztecs, Water Supply, Crickets Ted Talk

Vivacious Young Woman to Conquer Denali

By Brent Wallen on Jan 31, 2013

“Once we
think it gets real, it gets realer”. “Check yourself before you wreck
yourself”. These quotes come from a valiant young lady blessed with an
opportunity most of us dream of. With Expedition Denali tiptoeing closer and
closer, a reality check summons Rosemary Saal to fully realize what lies ahead
of her this June. Measured from base to peak, Mt. McKinley soars 20,320 feet
into the frigid Alaskan air, and bows down to nobody.

Read More

Topics: NOLS, Waddington Range, Expedition Denali, African American, Mt McKinley, Youth in the outdoors, youth of color, Live the Dream, Diversity

5th Edition of Wilderness Medicine to Hit Shelves

By Brent Wallen on Jan 23, 2013

Lander, Wyo.—The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will debut the fifth edition of NOLS Wilderness Medicine, a comprehensive first-aid book, at the Winter Outdoor Retailer (OR) Market Jan. 24 and 25 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, WMI, Educators Notebook

Grace Anderson: Diversity and Inclusion Fellow

By Brent Wallen on Jan 21, 2013

Variety is the spice of life. It is predicted that by the year 2042 the
Caucasian population will be the minority in the United States. Whether or not that sounds accurate to you is
beside the point. What we should
understand is the U.S. is a melting pot for all types of ethnicities, and it’s
important that we have an understanding of where we all come from
(geographically and culturally), and where we are headed. That being said, as
far as the outdoor world is concerned, it is historically accurate that Caucasians
(ever hear of Paul Bunyan, Jedidiah Smith, or John Colter?) have been in the
limelight. In NOLS’ case, it is a
primary goal to promote diversity and inclusion as much as possible within the
organization and the outdoors in general.

Read More

Topics: NOLS, Behind the Scenes, outdoor recreation, Expedition Denali, Inclusion, youth of color, Diversity