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How Climate Change Might Impact Your Next Backpacking Trip

By Brooke Ortel on 8/13/18 8:50 AM


Backpacking in New York. Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.

It’s a familiar scene: piles of food and gear, a trusted backpack unzipped, ready to be (carefully) stuffed full. You’re getting ready for your next backpacking adventure in the mountains.

As you run through your mental checklist, your friend casually asks, “So, you’re going to see those glaciers while they’re still there?” You pause, thinking for a moment. They’re only half kidding.

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Topics: Wyoming, Backpacking, Environmental Stewardship, Alaska, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, climate change

Carbon Reporting at an Outdoor Nonprofit

By Kara Colovich on 1/12/18 8:56 AM

Climate change mitigation, the efforts toward reducing impacts of climate change, is a hot topic for organizations and governments around the world. The work that goes into these efforts requires the commitment of the entire organization and every sector of the economy, even the outdoor recreation economy, has work to do reducing climate change impacts.

The field of greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting continues to develop to support organizations’ climate change mitigation measures. This accounting legitimizes claims of GHG reductions and pushes organizations to report on relevant aspects of their operations, not only the highlights.

To put this all into perspective, we tell our own story here at NOLS and draw from the recent release of the NOLS FY16 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Footprint Report to explain the nuances of GHG reporting.

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Topics: nols sustainability report, Environmental Stewardship, sustainability, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Make Your Camping Gear Last Longer

By Aaron Strubhar on 7/6/17 10:49 AM

It’s the tenth day of your backpacking trip, and you start to notice that some of your gear is holding up better than others. The cheap new rain pants you bought already have a gash in the thin nylon from venturing off-trail through thick patches of thorny blackberry bushes; yet the old, patched family tent you’ve been using for years is as sturdy and functional as ever. What’s going on here?

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Topics: gear, Environmental Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Intro to Federal Public Lands in the U.S.

By Katherine Boehrer on 8/30/16 10:32 AM

America’s federal public lands are an amazing resource for all kinds of recreation—but how much do you know about the different kinds of public land?

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Topics: adventure, Environmental Stewardship, stewardship, education, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, leadership

Backcountry Chilling Over Oil Drilling [Book Review]

By Sam Cook on 6/16/16 4:52 PM

There’s been a debate about it since 1980.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been threatened for years because of the oil within its borders. Due to political pressure, a 1.5 million-acre section of coastal plain was left unprotected. In 1980, Congress renamed the region, calling it the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

Now, the ANILCA prohibits oil and gas development on that coastal plain, but allows for Congress to permit it in the future.

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Topics: Alumni, review, adventure, Environmental Stewardship, wilderness, backcountry, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

DIY Composting

By Cat Cook on 6/1/16 9:53 AM

Learning to minimize your impact on the environment is a fundamental part of the NOLS curriculum. One pillar of the Leave No Trace principles we teach is to “Dispose of Waste Properly.” In the wilderness, this often means carrying out the garbage created as we travel. NOLS alumni are familiar with the process of packing out food scraps and other trash, literally carrying their own waste.

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Topics: Environmental Stewardship, education, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Ugly Boxes Doing Beautiful Things: How You Can Do Sustainability

By Cat Cook on 5/10/16 7:51 AM

Introducing: The NOLS Ugly Box

Order something from the NOLS online store and you may be surprised by what shows up on your doorstep: a not-so-pretty cardboard box, slightly worn and clearly used, possibly wearing a label from another company. While many online retailers take great care in packaging their products in a brand-centric, aesthetically-pleasing container, NOLS is thinking in a different way: why use a new box when you can reuse an old one?

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Topics: Alumni, Environmental Stewardship, education, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

How You Can Be More Sustainable Every Day

By Sarah Zimmerman on 4/22/16 8:34 AM

At NOLS, we try hard to incorporate earth-friendly practices into our work every week, every day, around the world. We try new ideas, like planting native flower seeds, and stick with the old practices that we’ve been working on for years, like repairing gear to keep it in use.

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Topics: NOLS Yukon, NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, NOLS Australia, NOLS Alaska, NOLS New Zealand, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Environmental Stewardship, NOLS India, NOLS Scandinavia, NOLS Southwest, education, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Teton Valley, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, NOLS East Africa, NOLS Three Peaks Ranch

Celebrating Earth Week at NOLS

By Sarah Zimmerman on 4/18/16 1:37 PM

At NOLS, we value the environment and are excited to celebrate it during Earth Week! A healthy environment sustains our livelihood on many different levels because we love to work, play, and learn outside.

Take a look at what we’re doing to celebrate Earth Week at Headquarters in Lander, Wyoming—maybe you can bring some of these ideas to your workplace!

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Topics: Lander, Environmental Stewardship, stewardship, sustainability

The Wilderness Act: "Leaving a Glimpse of the World as It Was"

By Anne McGowan on 11/4/15 1:53 PM

As NOLS continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary across the globe, the Wilderness Act celebrates its 51st. It’s not a coincidence: NOLS founder Paul Petzoldt testified before Congress in favor of the Wilderness Act more than five decades ago. And almost six months to the day after the act’s passage, Petzoldt founded NOLS.

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Topics: National Outdoor Leadership School, Environmental Stewardship, wilderness

The Story of Gear: Reuse as an Ethic and Necessity at NOLS

By Kara Colovich on 9/7/15 8:15 AM

In the mountain town of Coyhaique, Chile, Phil Henderson, the NOLS Patagonia Equipment Manager, strips the last rings off of a tent that has just returned from a 30 day mountaineering course in the Andes.

This tent has seen the last of its exploration days—worsening tears spread through its seams, causing water to leak onto unwary sleepers—but this is not the end of its journey.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, Environmental Stewardship, education, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, leadership

Wilderness: What National Parks Are For

By Molly Herber on 8/25/15 8:00 AM

When most folks visit national parks, it’s a fairly tame experience. They drive to an iconic site, pop out of the car for a few minutes or maybe even an hour, and then go on their way. The wildest moment might be a tussle with another visitor over the best vantage point for photographing Yosemite Falls.

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Topics: Environmental Stewardship, wilderness, backcountry, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, leadership

Working to Keep Wyoming Streams Held to Higher Standards

By Evan Reimondo on 8/18/15 9:09 AM

NOLS is contesting a recent rule implemented by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that resulted in the downgrading of water quality standards for approximately 76 percent of streams in Wyoming. Many of these streams meander the lands used by NOLS courses throughout the Wind River Mountains, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming Range, and the Red Desert.

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Topics: NOLS Rocky Mountain, Environmental Stewardship, education, backcountry, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

How to Give Effective Feedback to Land Managers

By Dave Schimelpfenig on 6/17/15 8:00 AM

There are many uses of public land, and they don’t always align. For example, it would be challenging for NOLS to teach wilderness skills surrounded by oil and gas development. How do managers decide what should be done with a tract of public land? Ideally, they hear from the people who use the land.

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Topics: NOLS Rocky Mountain, Wyoming, Environmental Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

From A Gap Year to Yahoo! Sustainability

By Karly Copeland on 5/27/15 2:00 AM

Chris Page is passionate about a lot of things, but when we started talking about her time as a student at NOLS Mexico, the delight in her voice was apparent.

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Topics: Alumni, leadership, NOLS Mexico, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Baja, Environmental Stewardship, instructor