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Applying Wilderness Medicine Skills During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By NOLS on Apr 3, 2020
Photo by Colleen Kelley

Emergency rooms are often burdened by people who are not ill or injured enough to truly need an ER, which is especially true today with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a NOLS Wilderness Medicine graduate, you can use your training to alleviate strain on healthcare services.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine, flu-like illness, Illness and Injuries, Leadership, Covid-19

Backcountry Lessons for Today’s World: Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty

By Sophie Komornicki on Mar 26, 2020
Photo by Oscar Manguy

The term “uncertainty” has become a buzzword as we navigate a new normal—practicing social distancing, adjusting to working remotely, supporting our kids as they begin online classes, and searching stores for toilet paper or disinfecting wipes. However, enduring unexpected challenges is not a new concept, especially for those of us who regularly adventure outdoors. Almost every trip into the backcountry has some kind of uncertainty and adversity, and the skills you learned there can apply to today’s frontcounty.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, Tolerance for Adversity, backcountry, Leadership, Covid-19

Creating Space: Why All-Women's Expeditions Matter

By Brooke Ortel on Mar 5, 2020
Photo by Nadine Lehner

“In a lot of ways, it’s just a normal NOLS course. But there’s also an aspect of recognition that the outdoor world is still predominantly male, and it’s cool and empowering to be out here with a bunch of women who historically haven’t always been accepted in this realm of work and play.” —Katie Oram, NOLS Instructor

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Topics: Leadership Skills, Research, all-women, female leaders, inspiring women, NOLS Expeditions, affinity, Leadership

How Outdoor Adventures Set Teens up for Life Success

By Brooke Ortel on Mar 2, 2020
Photo by Kirk Rasmussen

In today’s world, students find the idea of failure appalling, intolerable. It’s like standing on the edge of a looming precipice or swift-flowing river with no guarantee of a safe crossing. But in reality, the prospect of failure isn’t (usually) a looming gorge—it’s a botched exam, lower-than-desired SAT score, getting cut from the team, losing the race for class president.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, teens, Adventure Courses, Research, education, NOLS Teton Valley, NOLS Expeditions, Leadership

New Year, New Outdoor You

By NOLS on Jan 6, 2020
Photo by Rich Brame

It's a new year and 12 months stand before you with unlimited possibilities for adventure and learning. Alaskan summers have endless days to enjoy, the northern Rocky Mountains are yours to climb, and the refreshing ocean waters of Baja await your sea kayak. And have you been considering earning your Wilderness EMT? This can be the year to make it all happen.

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Topics: goal, Skills, education, trip planning, #optoutside, Leadership

A Rural Surprise: Utah Officials Support National Parks

By Rich Brame on Sep 25, 2019
Utah wildflowers

Southern Utah is a land of contrasts. High peaks border deep canyons. Wide slickrock plateaus divide narrow, winding washes. Sought-after resources like coal, uranium, and natural gas lie beneath open space, wildlife habitat, and crystal skies. National parks, with their focus on visitors, are rimmed by rural communities with agricultural roots.

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Topics: Environment, Stewardship, wilderness, activism, Leadership

Business Undergrads Look to Wilderness Expeditions for Leadership Training

By Stephanie Cantu on Aug 26, 2019

Dozens of candidates from undergraduate business and MBA programs across the U.S. go on wilderness expeditions with NOLS each year. Stephanie Cantu, Senior Student Program Coordinator and academic advisor for the Canfield Business Honors Program at The University of Texas, shares what she sees her students gain from these expeditions, and how they’re set up for success in the ever-changing business world.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, wilderness education, Business School, students, MBAs, wilderness, NOLS Custom Education, NOLS Expeditions, Leadership

SOAR Act Introduction to the House of Representatives

By Aaron Bannon on Jul 26, 2019
Photo by Trip Davis

For newly-minted outdoor programs, and for well-established ones like NOLS, the business of permitting and access on U.S. public lands is becoming increasingly challenging. Agencies responsible for permitting are under-resourced, mired in administrative processes, and compelled to prioritize other resource needs first.

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Topics: Environment, Events, Stewardship, Leadership

I Don't Need to Be an Extrovert to Lead: Reflections on Backpacking in Alaska

By Natasha Gold on Jun 18, 2019
Photo by Natasha Gold

In January 2018, I was perusing the internet for outdoor schools on a whim that perhaps I would apply to a program. I stumbled onto the NOLS website; instantly, I wanted to go.

I found an 8-day women-only backpacking expedition in Alaska. I liked the idea of a women’s only trip and I have wanted to camp in Alaska since I was little.

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Topics: Alaska, all-women, women in leadership, Stories, Leadership

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 astronautsand other NASA staff, taking them into the backcountry for experiential lessons in expedition behavior, teamwork, and leadership.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, leadership education, NOLS Leader, NASA, Research, science, Leadership

USNA Midshipman Turned NOLS Instructor

By Mike Titzer on May 16, 2019
Photo by Nick Valentine

It was the second week of our course, and our hiking group of US Naval Academy Midshipmen sat on the side of an Alaskan mountain overlooking a giant herd of caribou.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, nols instructor, Alaska, military, service academy, US Naval Academy, Stories, Instructor Stories, Leadership

"There Is No Limit:" A Kenyan Mountain Guide Advances Her Wilderness Training

By Carol Wanjiru (Mimie) on Mar 13, 2019
On the right is Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain, which we would attempt summit later that night. On the left is Lake Natron (on the Tanzania side of the border) and Shompole Mountain Conservancy (on the Kenya side). Photo by Carol Wanjiru.

Editor's note: NOLS began operating in East Africa in 1974, opening our first location in Narumoru, Kenya (1974-2003), which closed and later reopened as NOLS East Africa in Arusha, Tanzania in 2011.

In 1987, legendary instructor James Kagambi (KG), a native Kenyan, joined NOLS and launched NOEP, the NOLS Outdoor Educator Program. These courses are designed solely for East Africans and provide training in backcountry travel, leadership, and risk management.

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Topics: Skills, Backpacking, Mountaineering, inspiring women, NOLS East Africa, women in leadership, Stories, Student Stories, Leadership

Leading in the Avalanche Safety and Education Industry

By Kim Freitas on Dec 19, 2018
Photo by Paul Rachele

Editor's note: Adapted from the Fall 2016 issue of The Leader.

When Jaime Musnicki was first introduced to skiing at age two, it led to a lifelong love of winter sports and an unexpected career path.

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Topics: Alumni, Avalanche, winter, inspiring women, women in leadership, Stories, Alumni Accomplishments, Leadership

Meeting the Experts: NOLS Winter Instructor Kate Koons

By Caleb Walker on Dec 18, 2018
Photo by Kate Koons

Kate Koons has a love affair with winter sports.

It began when she learned to ski as part of an after-school program in northern New Jersey.

"There was one lift and one Poma and many of my first memories revolved around trying to push my sister off the Poma lift, or not fall down while skiing the icy moguls to the bottom."

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Topics: winter camping, winter, NOLS Teton Valley, backcountry skiing, inspiring women, snowboarding, splitboarding, women in leadership, Stories, Instructor Stories, Leadership

How Valuing Different Leadership Roles Makes Better Teams

By Molly Herber on Oct 23, 2018
Photo by Brad Christensen

Picture a leader in your mind.

Maybe you're imagining a lone individual singlehandedly making decisions and wielding authority.

Or, maybe you're thinking of someone completely different—like your friend who avoids the spotlight, but always has their eyes open for places to help.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, teamwork, Leadership