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Leadership Reads for Housebound Adventurers

By Kim Freitas on Apr 12, 2016

It’s not always possible to take off on an adventure. Sometimes, life gets in the way. Picking up a book is a great way to escape your day-to-day routine, wind down, and relax.

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Topics: leadership, Behind the Scenes, National Outdoor Leadership School

Why I Moved 1,600 Miles to Intern at NOLS

By Sarah Zimmerman on Apr 6, 2016

When I decided to travel about 1,600 miles from home to the middle of Wyoming for an internship in public relations and marketing, my friends and family wondered why I couldn't do the same type of thing a little closer. Coming from a full-time position at a full-service PR and marketing agency in Tennessee, people also couldn’t see why I would choose an internship for my next career move. But what they didn’t understand was that I wanted to deepen my knowledge of PR and marketing within the frame of the outdoor industry, from the leaders in wilderness education.

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Topics: NOLS, leadership, Behind the Scenes, Lander, NOLS Rocky Mountain, National Outdoor Leadership School, education

Come Meet Our 108-Year-Old Founder

By Sarah Zimmerman on Feb 23, 2016

At NOLS, we have a tradition of celebrating our history. To honor and commemorate the leadership of our founder, Paul Petzoldt, colleagues, longtime friends, and NOLS faculty and staff gathered to dedicate a “bronze Paul” at our headquarters in Lander, Wyoming.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, Lander, National Outdoor Leadership School

30 Days to Survival: The Documentary That Put NOLS in the Spotlight

By Anne McGowan on Jan 20, 2016

Photo from the 30 Days to Survival documentary.

Forty-six years ago this month …

The year was 1969. NOLS was five years old—a small school in a small town in a sparsely populated western state. In the first half-decade, only a little over 1,000 students had graduated from NOLS.

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Topics: Alumni, leadership, Behind the Scenes, National Outdoor Leadership School, video, backcountry

Educating the Educators: Instructor Development with the American Canoe Association

By Justin Kleberg on Nov 23, 2015

Instructor development workshops are a cornerstone of the American Canoe Association. Each fall, Mike Mather of Mather Rescue hosts an annual swiftwater instructor workshop in collaboration with ZOAR Outdoors and the ACA on the Deerfield River in Charlemont, Massachusetts. Having obtained training from several individuals who dramatically impact the swiftwater rescue world, I was eager to study under Mike's tutelage.

Dropping into Tunnel, Gore Canyon on the Colorado River. Photo by Adam Mayo.
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Topics: leadership, canoeing, National Outdoor Leadership School, Educators Notebook, instructor, education, Instructor Development Fund (IDF)

Why I Used the GI Bill for NOLS

By Kevin Wilson on Nov 11, 2015

The Outdoor Educator group in the Wind River Range. Photo by Cooper Davis.

NOLSies pay for their courses in all sorts of ways, from savings to scholarships to working a summer job through high school to take the trip of a lifetime when they graduate. Some students even use their veterans benefits to fund their course.

We spoke with Navy veteran and graduate from a Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator course and a Wilderness EMT course, Kevin Wilson, to learn about how and why he used his veterans benefits for NOLS and what he learned from his NOLS experiences.

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Topics: Alumni, Wilderness EMT, Lander, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS financial aid, National Outdoor Leadership School, climbing, wilderness-medicine, WMI, backpacking, Live the Dream, backcountry, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute

The Best Times to Eat When You're Camping

By Molly Herber on Nov 5, 2015

Food has always been an important part of learning to live outside comfortably (no one should have to live without cinnamon rolls!), and we’ve spent a lot of time studying the best ways to keep folks healthy when the only food they have is what they’re carrying in a boat or backpack.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, National Outdoor Leadership School, cooking, wilderness

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

By Anne McGowan on Nov 4, 2015

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

5 Things You Already Do That Make You a Female Outdoor Leader

By Annalise Grueter on Oct 19, 2015


The author looking out at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado from Mount Adams at 13,931 feet. Photo by Ryan Richardson.

Backpacker magazine recently posted this piece online touching on the fact that, regardless of outdoor experience, their female readership were less likely to view themselves as leaders than their male readership, and that needs to change. We agree.

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Topics: Alumni, NOLS, leadership, National Outdoor Leadership School, climbing, cooking, communication, backpacking, adventure, kayaking, Outdoors, Live the Dream, mountaineering, all-women, wilderness, backcountry

Anniversary Amble Athletes Abound

By Casey Adams on Oct 14, 2015


Friends finish strong! Photo by Matt Herr.
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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, Lander, National Outdoor Leadership School

Look Good, Feel Good: How Gear Has Evolved over the Past 50 Years [Infographic]

By Molly Hunt on Oct 10, 2015

Words by Molly Hunt, illustrations by Eryn Pierce, Senior Graphic Designer 

While the gear may have changed over the course of 50 years, leadership, risk management, and competence have consistently remained the heart of every NOLS experience. Here's a look at what students wore and used then, and what they're using now.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, National Outdoor Leadership School

5 Things Not to Miss at NOLS’ 50th Anniversary Party

By NOLS Blog on Oct 7, 2015

The NOLS 50th anniversary party is finally here, and we want to make sure you hit all of the important events! Check out our highlights below.

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Topics: Alumni, leadership, Behind the Scenes, Lander, National Outdoor Leadership School

NOLS’ Pip Coe Named a Wyoming Woman of Influence

By Casey Adams on Aug 20, 2015


Congratulations, Pip! Photo by Lindsay D'Addato.
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Topics: Alumni, leadership, Behind the Scenes, National Outdoor Leadership School

6 Tips for Planning a U.S. National Park Road Trip

By Alex Phillips on Jul 30, 2015

A few weeks ago, I visited Utah’s Zion National Park with some friends. When we arrived, we saw countless international groups that had ventured across the globe to explore the famed Utah landscape. While excited for their adventure, I noticed a few insecure faces, and parties that looked ill-prepared to get the most out of their visit, perhaps realizing that the territory was vastly different from what they were used to exploring at home.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, National Outdoor Leadership School, backpacking, NOLS Southwest, education, wilderness, backcountry, Wilderness Medicine

Happy Fourth of July!

By Molly Herber on Jul 2, 2015

Whether you're on a beach, in the mountains, or in a city, we hope you enjoy celebrating the United States' birthday this weekend! If you don't have plans yet, take a look below to get some inspiration from the way these NOLS alumni celebrated the Fourth of July in the backcountry.

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Topics: Alumni, NOLS, Behind the Scenes, National Outdoor Leadership School, backcountry