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5 Things You Learn from Climbing (That Also Matter in Real Life)

By Molly Herber on 8/19/16 8:47 AM

Like with most sports, it's not just about getting to the top. Read on to see some of the best lessons you learn from rock climbing.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, climbing, adventure, education, leadership

3 Months in the Rockies to 30 Countries in a Year: How a NOLS Alum Went Worldwide

By Erica Levine Weber on 8/18/16 9:46 AM

My choice of going on a NOLS Semester in the Rockies was as absurd as traveling to 30 countries with a baby before their first birthday. Apparently, I have a flare for the ridiculous!

I had never been canyoneering, kayaking, rock climbing, ridden a horse, or even camped before. Now, add to that dumbfounded look you're starting to picture, a 17 year old girl who was still mastering a command of her limbs (think a few clicks past klutzy), and not exactly an Olympic athlete. I'm pretty sure my parents cried when they dropped me off at the airport, not because they'd miss me, but because they weren't totally confident I'd survive.

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Topics: Alumni, travel, Family, adventure, Live the Dream, education, leadership

6 Reasons Wilderness First Aid Is for Everyone

By Sarah Buer on 7/29/16 1:35 PM

I refused to wear anything other than dresses until I was 7 …and even then it was only because my family moved to a small country town in northeast Wyoming and I wanted to fit in.

I’ve been a “girly girl” my entire life, and I had no interest in playing in the backcountry until about three years ago when I transferred to a university in the Black Hills of South Dakota and was lured out by their beauty and the exercise (plus, I got invited to go hiking with an attractive guy who has now been my partner in all adventures and in life for the past three years).

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Topics: Alumni, wilderness medicine, education, backcountry, leadership, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, snowboarding, Wilderness Medicine

Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph on Leadership and How to Learn It

By Marc Randolph on 7/28/16 8:06 AM

We caught up with Netflix co-founder, executive mentor, and Chair of the NOLS Board of Trustees Marc Randolph to hear his thoughts on how learning resilience in the wilderness helped him build the grit to be a business leader.

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Topics: Alumni, NOLS, Behind the Scenes, education, leadership

Test Your Medical Skills: Scenario Near Yellowstone Park

By Sarah Buer on 7/26/16 9:03 AM

What would you do in this situation? Test your medical knowledge and decision-making skills with this scenario from Tod Schimelpfenig!

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Topics: wilderness medicine, case study, education, backcountry, leadership, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

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

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

Putting Leadership into Practice: AmeriCorps and NOLS

By Travis Davis on 6/22/16 11:46 AM

Travis reflects on his experiences serving with AmeriCorps and his NOLS courses, thinking about how their intersection has helped him grow and develop as a leader.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, whitewater, AmeriCorps, education, leadership

Confessions from the Wilderness [Interview]

By Kim Freitas on 6/3/16 8:43 AM

Eli Marienthal’s final big-screen film role was in 2004’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Since then, Marienthal has left acting behind and gone on to discover a love of the wilderness as an outdoor educator. He founded W.I.L.D., which stands for Wilderness Immersion and Leadership Development, and Back to Earth, where his longtime friend Jesse Sachs is his business partner, collaborator and co-trip leader.

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Topics: adventure, Live the Dream, education, backcountry, leadership

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

NOLS Courses Are So Much Pun!

By Sarah Buer on 5/20/16 8:51 AM

We believe in the value of education—and in having fun.

Get your daily dose of humor with some of our favorite NOLS-related puns:

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, adventure, education, backcountry, leadership

Quantifying the Unquantifiable: What I Learned after a Week in the Wilderness with the Archer School for Girls

By Jen Pontrelli on 5/9/16 8:10 AM

There I was in the middle of the Galiuro Wilderness in southern Arizona. Traversing a mountain trail at top speed for the terrain, sweating profusely in the desert sun, and humming Fergie’s 2007 hit “Glamorous.”

As a diehard Metallica fan, I didn’t expect this particular tune to be rattling around in my brain, but my fellow expedition members, 12 high school freshman girls, would not have it any other way.

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Topics: Backpacking, adventure, Live the Dream, NOLS Southwest, NOLS Professional Training, leadership, NOLS Custom Education

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

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