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Instructor Q&A with Amy Rathke

By NOLS on Oct 22, 2010

Where did you get your start in outdoor education?
Family hikes and trips around the Pacific Northwest while I was growing up gave me a solid start.

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Topics: NOLS, amy rathke, answer, girl scout, Educators Notebook, instructor, question, Pacific Northwest

Instructor Q&A with Evan Horn

By William Roth on May 10, 2010
Where did you get your start in outdoor education?
I started by going on weekend outdoor trips with my middle school. By the time I was in high school, I was a trip leader for weekend backpacking trips for middle schoolers. It was a great opportunity to learn to lead when I was young! Then I led trips for the outing club at my college, and finally worked a little bit of wilderness therapy.
 
What is your favorite class to teach?
I love teaching any class that I can make into an activity! I like to teach by doing, and I am most engaged when I can find ways to involve my students in the class.
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Topics: NOLS, packraft, leadership, fresh fruit, course, veggies, answer, evan horn, outing club, wilderness therapy, Educators Notebook, instructor, question, education, Denali

Instructor Q&A with Robin Larson

By William Roth on Mar 23, 2010
Where did you get your start in outdoor education?
I took a North Cascades Mountaineering Course in 2002 with NOLS. I had an amazing time, and decided I wanted to learn more about outdoor education. The following year I enrolled in the Outdoor Education program at the University of New Hampshire. I have been working in the field ever since.


Give me your best backcountry recipe.

I love making scones. Mix white and wheat flour, brown sugar, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Add water until you get a sticky batter. Spoon the batter into a greased fry bake. Flip after a few minutes to cook the other side. To avoid burning, depressurize your stove and elevate the fry bake with the windscreen.

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Topics: NOLS, leadership, Behind the Scenes, outdoor, school, answer, instructor, question, backcountry

Instructor Q&A with Andy Blair

By William Roth on Mar 5, 2010
Where did you get your start in outdoor education?
At a little summer camp on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. We did farm work for half the day and played around outside for the rest of the day. The camp also ran small, multi-day trips into Cape Breton Highlands National Park. I had no idea that I was getting educated but, looking back, that place shaped the direction of my life up to this point. What is your favorite class to teach?
Classes - smashes. Let's get out and immerse ourselves in the skill! While I really enjoy the sound of my own voice, I have discovered that not many people are listening. I really enjoy those times when I am mountaineering or skiing fresh powder or climbing big cliffs with my students. A lot of education is going on and no one has to listen to me.
Are you an analyst/architect, driver, relationship master, or spontaneous motivator?
Depending on my frame of mind, I seem to fall into one category or another. I like to think of myself as a driver but a lot of other people see me as a spontaneous motivator. It would be the exception that anyone would call me an analyst/architect. Sometimes you need to be a relationship master to help keep the peace.

What is your favorite course to teach?
I think you already asked this one.

(No I didn't Andy! I asked which class, now I'm asking which course!)

Give me your best backcountry recipe.
My backcountry recipes are all the same: hydrate it, fry it and put cheese in it. Only the ingredients change.

What is your favorite piece of outdoor gear?
Now, this is going to change depending on what I am doing. If I have to single out one piece of equipment, I have to defer to an item introduced to me by my friend, NOLS instructor, John Marshall. Rose colored sunglasses. Rose colored sunglasses make everything better. What music/food do you think about when in the backcountry?
Music: I end up singing to myself a fair bit while I am out in the backcountry. This usually takes a couple of days. Food: During summer courses I think about fresh vegetables and meat. During the winter, I am satisfied because I bring frozen vegetables and meat.

What is your single greatest accomplishment related to the outdoors?
Learning to be a good course leader. For me, this took at least my first 100 weeks in the field to accomplish. I think it took me that long to figure out what it takes to make a good NOLS course. Here are my three things you need to make a good NOLS course: 1) Risks managed appropriately, 2) Instructors are happy, 3) Students are happy.

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Topics: leadership, outdoor, answer, Educators Notebook, instructor, question, education, wilderness

Instructor Q&A with Marco Johnson

By William Roth on Feb 26, 2010
Where did you get your start in outdoor education?
I began working outdoor education in the Adirondack Mtns. of New York where I grew up. I worked for two different programs that took teens into the mountains and on canoe trips for two week trips.What is your favorite class to teach?
How to poop in the backcountry;-) As folks can be quite nervous about this activity. Also, we can have such a impact on the environment if we don't deal with our waste well.

Are you an analyst/architect, driver, relationship master, or spontaneous motivator?
I'm a spontaneous motivator, but will move about depending on the course type and student group.

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Topics: NOLS, leadership, answer, Educators Notebook, instructor, outdoor education, question