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Managing Risk Outdoors: Backcountry Wildfires

By Brooke Ortel on Oct 7, 2019

Photo by Matt Howard.

It’s no secret that wildfires in the U.S. are getting bigger and more intense.

Even if you haven’t personally been affected by a fire, you’ve probably seen the haunting photos and devastating reports on the news. Demolished homes, displaced families, firefighters risking their lives to contain walls of flame. These stories are evidence of a deadly, and growing, threat.

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

Spring Break 2020: Get Ready for Adventure

By NOLS on Oct 1, 2019

Photo by Molly Hagbrand.

Make your spring break an adventure. Forget the crowded ski resorts or touristy beach vacation—it’s time to do something different.

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Topics: Baja Sea Kayaking, rock climbing, education, backcountry skiing, NOLS Expeditions, spring break

Continuing Your Wilderness Medicine Education at the WRMC

By Colleen Kelley on Sep 26, 2019

Practicing skills during a medical scenario. Photo by Tod Schimelpfenig.
 

Wilderness medicine courses do an excellent job of preparing outdoor leaders to respond to the unexpected but there are some important limitations. Remember all of those scenarios? They tested your assessment skills and helped you hone your treatments while letting you practice evacuation decision-making in a low stakes environment.

But what happens next? Your WFR course left off at the decision to evacuate—and that’s where the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) picks up the story.

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Topics: WRMC, education, Wilderness Medicine

Start Dreaming: Summer 2020 Expeditions Now Online

By NOLS on Jul 31, 2019

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 Jul 29, 2019

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, education, NOLS Risk Services, trip planning, Wilderness Safety Training

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

By Emily Folk on Jun 24, 2019

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

Winter & Spring 2020 Expeditions Now Online

By NOLS on Jun 11, 2019

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 Jun 5, 2019
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, education, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions

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

By Shannon Rochelle on May 23, 2019

 

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

Inside Whitewater Expeditions in the Rockies

By Kate Dernocoeur on Apr 30, 2019

Photo by David Morgan.
 

On June 8, 1869, John Wesley Powell and his expedition floated down the Green River through the Gates of Lodore—a narrow, towering cleft worn in the deep red rock of what is now western Colorado.

They were not the first to enter the canyon—Native Americans had lived in the area for thousands of years, and the early 1800s saw numerous explorations by trappers. But for Powell, it felt completely unknown.

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Topics: whitewater, education, whitewater rafting, Salmon River, whitewater canoeing, NOLS River Base, Vernal

Instructor Expeditions of 2018

By NOLS on Mar 25, 2019

How do you become a better educator? There’s no one best answer, but continuing to be a learner yourself is certainly up there.

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Topics: whitewater, Training, kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, rock climbing, education, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition

Consultation with NOLS Risk Services: A 5-Step Risk Management Review

By Kenzie Wilkinson on Mar 4, 2019

Photo by Tracy Baynes
 

NOLS Risk Services offers consulting to organizations seeking to proactively manage risk in their outdoor programs. Risk Services, like the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC), emerged in response to a growing need across the outdoor industry for collaborative risk management and from the philosophy that every organization in the industry shares both stake and responsibility in this effort.

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Topics: risk management, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference, NOLS Risk Services, consulting

New Perspectives on Risk Management: WRMC 2018

By Day Scott on Dec 12, 2018

Photo by Day Scott
 

As an outdoor educator and a student of wilderness medicine, I thought that I had a pretty good idea of what wilderness risk management was all about…preparedness! I thought, “I know how to do that”, and was looking forward to learning about how to do it better. Boy, was I wrong.

Going to the Wilderness Risk Management Conference really helped me gain a different perspective of risk management and provided me with an impactful educational experience.

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Topics: WRMC, risk management training, risk management, Educators Notebook, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

New Courses for Winter & Spring 2019

By NOLS on Nov 5, 2018


Photo by Nikole Wohlmacher.

For winter and spring 2019, we’re excited to offer two new women-only courses, backpacking in the Southwest and backcountry skiing and snowboard touring in the Tetons, and a new service expedition.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, expedition, education, all-women, new courses

What You Learn on a NOLS Semester

By Brooke Ortel on Aug 30, 2018


Photo by Jordan Cranch.

On her Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator semester, Erin Phillips skied backcountry mountains, canoed whitewater rapids, and hiked more than 100 miles across the Utah desert. Each new landscape brought fresh experiences, including the day she and her coursemates hiked for hours to reach a water source in the desert’s slot canyons and danced in celebration.

The desert awakened another kind of thirst as well, a burning curiosity about the beautiful and harsh environment that surrounded her: “Escalante taught me a very special lesson: to stop. To stop doing and start listening.” 

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Topics: Semester abroad, Behind the Scenes, Semester, culture, education, outdoor semester