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Which NOLS Course Are You? [Quiz]

By NOLS Blog on Jun 25, 2015

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

The Mountain that Was Almost a Cloud

By Molly Herber on Jun 24, 2015

By: Miranda Perrone, NOLS Instructor

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Topics: National Outdoor Leadership School, NOLS Alaska, Live the Dream, backcountry

Joint Perspective: International Educator and NOLS Parent on 21st Century Education

By Alex Phillips on May 23, 2015

We recently sat down with Dr. Beth Pfannl, Head of School at the American Overseas School of Rome, to discuss the role of NOLS in her own children’s lives. As an educator and administrator, Dr. Pfannl has extensive experience evaluating and managing best practice for student growth and development. In addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees of the European Council for International Schools (ECIS) and the American University of Rome, Dr. Pfannl was given the National Distinguished Principal Award from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and inducted into the Association for the Advancement of International Education Hall of Fame. Two of Dr. Pfannl’s children enrolled in NOLS courses during their summer breaks while in college. In this interview, she describes her family’s experience with NOLS and why she recommends it to international families around the world.

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Topics: National Outdoor Leadership School, NOLS Alaska, Educators Notebook, outdoor education, education

Wyoming Legislators Congratulate NOLS

By Casey Adams on May 16, 2015

U.S. Senator John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, both of Wyoming, spoke on the Senate and House floors celebrating the National Outdoor Leadership School’s (NOLS) 50th anniversary this month.

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

Take a Ride! It's Bike to Work Week

By Molly Herber on May 13, 2015

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike."—JFK

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Lander, National Outdoor Leadership School, adventure, Outdoors

Valor Award Winner Adam Baxter: WMI Instructor, NPS Climbing Ranger, and WEMT

By Katherine Boehrer on May 13, 2015

Adam Baxter balances his seasonal life with summers as a ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park and fall through spring teaching for the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI). This May in Washington, D.C., he is receiving the "Valor Award" for his part in a rescue operation that took place in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) during the summer of 2013. According to the Department of the Interior website, the Valor Award is "presented to Department of the Interior employees who have demonstrated unusual courage involving a high degree of personal risk in the face of danger.” The story is told in section 3 of this profile.

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Topics: National Outdoor Leadership School, wilderness medicine, WMI, instructor, outdoor education, backcountry

Springtime Excitement in the West Wing

By Becca Sage on Apr 23, 2015

Part of the west wing at NOLS headquarters is home to the Operations Department. For those of you who have had the pleasure of visiting this area, you will agree that it is a serene part of the building. Although typically mellow, twice a year our quiet little plant-filled sanctuary fills with the sweet sounds of Spanish and the aroma of coffee and delicious food. The school directors must be in town!

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

NOLS Icon: Andy Carson on Instructing in the Early Days

By Mike Betz on Apr 16, 2015

NOLS is turning 50 this year, and with that big birthday on our horizon, we’re taking a look back and celebrating some of the incredible individuals that made NOLS the organization it is today.

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Topics: Alumni, Lander, NOLS Rocky Mountain, National Outdoor Leadership School, instructor, Live the Dream, mountaineering, backcountry

Educator Expedition: Rock Skills, Rappelling, and Revelry in Joshua Tree

By Molly Herber on Mar 31, 2015

By Anne Peick, NOLS Instructor

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Topics: National Outdoor Leadership School, climbing, adventure, Educators Notebook, instructors

The Original NOLS Instructor: Tap Tapley

By on Mar 3, 2015

With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to Tap (Ernest) Tapley, one of the first NOLS instructors and certainly one of the most legendary. Tap passed away Monday, March 2 in New Mexico. He was 91 years old.

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Topics: National Outdoor Leadership School, Live the Dream

In Their Words: NOLS New Zealand

By Casey Adams on May 13, 2014

Students who turn to NOLS for their semester abroad treasure the experience. Wendy Cirko and Cory McDonald both took NOLS semesters as their semesters abroad last year. Both Spring Semester in New Zealand graduates, shared their reflections on the experience and the education with us recently, and we had to share. Learn more about upcoming semesters in New Zealand here.

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Topics: Semester abroad, listen, NOLS, leadership, academic credit, self confidence, Behind the Scenes, Semester, outdoor recreation, graduates, active learner, navigation, sailing, future, college, first aid, National Outdoor Leadership School, feedback, communication, Semester of campus, natural resource recreation management, New Zealand, university credit, risk management, Backpacking, environmental studies, kayaking, life-changing, self-awareness, perseverance, degree, outdoor education, wildlife, leave no trace, philosophy, route planning, team member, college credit, education, Salisbury University, wilderness, backcountry

NOLS Rocky Mountain makes ‘back to school’ more fun

By Casey Adams on Aug 15, 2013

NOLS Rocky Mountain brought extra adventure to Lander Valley High School freshman
orientation in this week.

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Topics: Sinks Canyon, Behind the Scenes, Lander Valley High School, National Outdoor Leadership School, climbing, belaying, high school, County 10, freshman orientation, rock climbing

Best Place to Work ... Still

By Casey Adams on Aug 12, 2013

For the sixth year in a row, NOLS has been named one of Outside Magazine's "Best Places to Work." NOLS is one of only five nonprofit organizations selected and, along with Natural Habitat Adventures, Patagonia, Smith Optics, and Smartwool, earns the distinction of being included all six years Outside has published this list. A review of NOLS and other top-performing companies is available at

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Topics: hike, NOLS, post-work, Behind the Scenes, classrooms, employers, National Outdoor Leadership School, adventure, leading, top employers, Top Job, Outside Magazine, climb, Best Places to Work, Best Jobs, chacos

NOLS to Play Major Roles at Cowboy Tough Adventure Race

By Mike Casella on Jul 17, 2013

Starting Thursday morning in southeastern Wyoming is the
Cameco and City of Casper Cowboy Tough Expedition Race. As part of the Rev3
Adventure Race Series, this point-to-point race, starting in Cheyenne and
ending in Casper is also a national qualifying race for the North American
Adventure Racing Series (NAARS). Teams of two or four people will race through
a series of outdoor disciplines including trekking, biking, river travel,
rappelling as well as other challenging activities.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, North American Adventure Racing Series, natural world, Cheyenne, National Outdoor Leadership School, wilderness medicine, Wyoming, adventure race, Cowboy Tough Expedition Race, Rev3, Casper, wilderness

NOLS at the International Climbers' Festival

By Mike Casella on Jul 17, 2013

Lander, Wyo. — This past weekend
the International Climbers’ Festival took place in beautiful City Park in
Lander Wyo. In its 20th year, the festival is the longest-running
climbing festival in the world.

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Topics: bouldering, NOLS, Sinks Canyon, Behind the Scenes, outdoor industry, Lander, Expedition Denali, National Outdoor Leadership School, International Climbers' Festival, Rocky Mountain