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Instructor Expedition: A Grand Canyon Trip with Friends

By NOLS Blog on 1/16/17 12:49 PM

NOLS instructors write about paddling the Grand Canyon with family and friends.

Ribeye steaks on day eleven? This was not a NOLS course. This was a descent of the Grand Canyon, made possible by the NOLS instructor development fund—the classic journey, with all the iced sodas you can drink and rapids that might keep an oarswoman awake at night.

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Topics: Educators Notebook

Reflecting on the 2016 Wilderness Risk Management Conference

By Sarah Buer on 10/19/16 1:21 PM

Working at NOLS, and in the wilderness medicine department for that matter, my colleagues and I are not unfamiliar with what can go wrong in the backcountry—that is what we teach our students to respond to, after all. Walking through the Exhibitor Reception the first evening of the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) in Salt Lake City, I met and mingled with a lot of folks who were dedicated to that same goal of being a leader in crisis situations, in one way or another.

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Topics: WRMC, Educators Notebook

Growing Your Comfort Zone in the Wilderness

By Molly Herber on 9/2/16 9:47 AM

We read in plenty of places that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing—it seems these days that everyone wants us to step outside of it and push its boundaries.

You can imagine the comfort zone place as a big pile of cozy pillows, with the temperature set at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and with fuzzy socks on your feet. You’re safe. You know what to say and how to behave. You can complete tasks without even thinking. In all probability, you like your comfort zone.

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Topics: risk management, Educators Notebook, education, leadership

Why Wildlands Studies Attends the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC)

By Cassi Smith on 8/18/16 9:44 AM

For over 36 years, Wildlands Studies has provided environmental field courses to undergraduates in the U.S. and around the world. Leslie Arutunian, director at Wildlands Studies, reflects on the organization and her involvement with the Wilderness Risk Management Conference since 2008.

Learn how risk management relates to student groups at Wildlands Studies and why Arutunian returns to the WRMC year after year.

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Topics: WRMC, Educators Notebook

Why Inclusive Conservation Crews Attend the WRMC

By Cassi Smith on 8/3/16 8:22 AM

We recently caught up with Jay Satz, Senior Director of Partnerships and Innovation at Northwest Youth Corps (NYC). The NYC is a job training, educational, and conservation experience for youth and young adults, operating since 1984. They run conservation service programs in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and northern California. Perhaps you will see similarities to your own program and discover how the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) can help you.

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Topics: WRMC, Educators Notebook

The Woods Project and the WRMC

By Cassi Smith on 7/26/16 9:02 AM

Steve Rosencranz, founder of The Woods Project, recently spoke with us about his organization, risk management, and the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC.) The Woods Project was founded in 2001 and provides opportunities for low-income youth to experience the outdoors.

Read on to discover how the WRMC has benefited The Woods Project and how it can benefit you.

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Topics: WRMC, Educators Notebook

Educator Expedition: Assistant Overnight Guide Course - Learning the Ways of the Ocean

By Genevieve Bartlam on 7/22/16 9:55 AM

Where did you go for your trip and how long was it?

For this 9 day course we explored two different areas around Vancouver Island off of the west coast of British Columbia. We spent the first 3 days working on skills base camped on the south part of Gabriola Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands then drove across Vancouver Island to the west coast and spent the next 5 days in Clayquot Sound just north of Tofino.

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Topics: Sea Kayaking, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Educators Notebook, education, leadership

Why Yellowstone and Other Parks Come to the WRMC

By Cassi Smith on 7/21/16 10:47 AM

We recently caught up with the operations manager for Yellowstone Association Institute, John Harmer. Yellowstone Association explains, “Since 1976, its programs have introduced thousands of students to the park’s natural wonders. Programs range from one day to three weeks in length.”

Perhaps you will see similarities to your own program and discover how the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) can help you.

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Topics: WRMC, Educators Notebook

Educator Expedition: Paddling at the South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium

By Jonny Hepburn on 7/21/16 10:46 AM

Southern Chile offers world class sea kayaking. In northern Patagonia, where NOLS is based, the Pacific Coast of South America fragments into a network of islands and fjords that offer some of the most remote, challenging, and beautiful paddling in the world. I had the chance to spend almost five months travelling and working for NOLS in Chile this past winter, and was grateful to receive an IDF grant to attend the South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium in December.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, Sea Kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructors, education, IDF, Instructor Development Fund, leadership

Educator Expedition: A Day in the Waddington Range

By Katie Oram on 7/18/16 10:29 AM

We arrived in Bluff Lake, British Columbia at 1:30AM from various places: Roger and I driving 30 hours from Wyoming, Jeremy flying in from California and Dane just finishing up class in Vancouver. We had been talking about it for a while now, applied for the funding from the Instructor Development Fund, but still it had just been this idea: a ski expedition to the Waddington Range in British Columbia, home to some very remote, high peaks and endless miles of glaciers with real hazards.

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Topics: NOLS Yukon, climbing, adventure, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, backcountry, IDF, Instructor Development Fund, leadership

Why Conservation Crews Benefit from the WRMC

By Cassi Smith on 7/18/16 10:27 AM

We recently caught up with Sean Damitz, Department Director of the Utah Conservation Corps. The UCC is nationally recognized for creating sustainable communities and conserving the natural heritage of the Intermountain West. Perhaps you will see similarities to your own program and discover how the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) can help you.

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Topics: WRMC, Educators Notebook

Thriving as Women Boaters on the Main Salmon River

By Liz Hardwick on 5/24/16 9:53 AM

NOLS instructor Liz Hardwick writes about learning new tricks on a familiar river.

Jen pokes me awake as I am drifting off, trying to sleep before the moon gets up above the canyon walls. “Do you think I can run Vinegar in a solo boat?” she asks.

We’re camped on the Main Salmon River, all white sandy beaches, steep dry mountains and fun, fun rapids. This is the night before we get off the river and Vinegar is downstream of us, the last big rapid and one of the most challenging ones on the river.

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Topics: NOLS Rocky Mountain, canoe, adventure, Educators Notebook, instructor, instructors, education, NOLS Teton Valley, IDF, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), leadership

Educator Expedition: La Patagonia Desconocida - The Unknown Patagonia

By Marissa Bieger on 4/25/16 7:33 AM

… Perhaps when I say the word Patagonia, most of you will think of legendary places like el Chaltén or Torres del Paine, but here is the difference, my Patagonia is a land unknown to many and familiar to few. Yes, that is what I speak of, of that land that still has magical air to explore, that which hides in maps without information, mountains without name and routes that definitely do not exist.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, climbing, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, education, leadership

Educator Expedition: Winter Exploring

By Ethan Wolston on 4/22/16 2:23 PM

Three winters ago I cut my old Never Summer snowboard in half and made a splitboard from the pieces. It was a fun project and the beginning of a new adventure exploring the winter backcountry around my home.

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Topics: adventure, Educators Notebook, instructors, education, backcountry, NOLS Teton Valley, backcountry skiing, splitboarding

Keep Calm and Medic On: How a WEMT Course Can Transform Your Backcountry Experience

By Hadley Warner on 4/19/16 8:05 AM

I had been considering taking a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) course for almost three years, but something always came up to prevent it. In October of last year the idea finally became a reality and I found myself driving up a winding dirt road to the picturesque Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus on a sunny fall afternoon. The course offered by WMI combines urban and wilderness medicine while preparing participants to sit for the National Registry exam. I was not sure what the next 25 days had in store for me, but I knew the course would serve me well in the future.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, WMI, Educators Notebook, instructor, education, WEMT, leadership, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute