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New Courses for Fall 2017

By Molly Herber on 4/10/17 8:49 AM

Editor’s Note: We’re introducing six new courses to our fall lineup that are all 10 days or shorter. Enjoy!

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, NOLS Southwest, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Rocky Mountain

New Courses for Summer 2017

By Molly Herber on 2/21/17 9:50 AM

When we decide to create a new course, it comes from a combination of our faculty’s passion for the area and constant desire for growth, and from what students say they want to see more of.

So, here’s a peek at the new courses you can take starting the summer of 2017. You can focus on service learning, explore the far north of Norway, or walk through the heart of Alaska’s Talkeetna Range.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, NOLS Alaska, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Scandinavia, Backpacking, Sea Kayaking, service

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: adventure, canoe, education, Educators Notebook, IDF, instructor, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), instructors, leadership, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Teton Valley

Why I Moved 1,600 Miles to Intern at NOLS

By Sarah Zimmerman on 4/6/16 8:00 AM

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

Daily Gratitude: NOLS in the Frontcountry

By Scott Stewart on 3/18/16 2:55 PM

 NOLS taught me two of life’s most valuable lessons: humility and gratitude.

On my course, I couldn’t climb the 5.10 crack in Joshua Tree National Park, although my knuckles were bloodied and my fingertips were raw from the attempt. I couldn’t carry my equal share of weight after throwing out my back in the Wind River Range, burdening my teammates by adding more mass to their already 70-pound packs.

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Topics: Backpacking, climbing, leadership, Live the Dream, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Southwest

How NOLS Ruined the Old Me

By Erin Sullivan on 3/1/16 8:53 AM

The summer I was 19, I went on a thirty day Wind River Wilderness course.

It wasn't like I was outdoorsy. I never went to summer camp as a kid. I was in Girl Scouts, but I only lasted until we had to sleep in tents. Then I was out. I was not the kid playing in the dirt.

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Topics: Alumni, Backpacking, education, Lander, leadership, Live the Dream, NOLS Rocky Mountain

Why My Semester Group Thrived

By NOLS Blog on 1/14/16 7:44 AM

By Shannon Reiser, Outdoor Educator Semester '15

Dean squishes water out of his boots while Lucila looks on all smiles. Photo by Luke Fortezzo.


As I reintegrate into normal life after my NOLS Outdoor Educator Semester in the Rockies, I am frequently asked about the group of people I spent three months with. My group, cohort, squad, crew ... whatever you want to call it remained intact for the whole 90 days: no evacuations, few breaks from each other, and many tears shed when we said goodbye.

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Topics: adventure, Alumni, backcountry, leadership, Live the Dream, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Semester

Our Favorite Winter Photos

By Molly Herber on 12/21/15 2:18 PM

We know you might be busy working or studying right now, so here are some amazing photos to feed your soul until the next time you can play outside.

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Topics: backcountry skiing, Live the Dream, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Teton Valley, splitboarding, winter

Educator Expedition: Horsepacking through the Gros Ventre and Wind River Mountains of Wyoming

By NOLS Blog on 12/14/15 8:38 AM

By Kelsey Wicks, NOLS backpacking and horsepacking instructor

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Topics: backcountry, Educators Notebook, horsepacking, instructor, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Three Peaks Ranch

Why I Used the GI Bill for NOLS

By Kevin Wilson on 11/11/15 7:05 AM

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, backcountry, Backpacking, climbing, Lander, Live the Dream, National Outdoor Leadership School, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute, wilderness medicine, WMI, NOLS financial aid, Wilderness EMT

How an Outdoor Enthusiast Managed Two Decades in the City [Interview with Curtis Bartosik, Part 1]

By Alex Phillips on 11/9/15 7:10 AM

One of the most powerful statements on my NOLS course came from Morgan Hite’s essay “Briefing for Entry into a More Harsh Environment.” The last sentence reads: “You don’t need the mountains to do that.” Hite wrote the beloved piece in 1989, just weeks before Curtis Bartosik began his fall semester in the Rockies. In the years since, Bartosik, an American, has gone on to live in Japan, Hong Kong and now France, where he is an established entrepreneur, member of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in France, general secretary of the American Legion in Paris and President of the Cornell Club of France. Bartosik’s life choices demonstrate that yes, it is possible to live in some of the most populated regions of the globe, and still connect with the natural world and maintain the values a NOLS course cultivates.

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Topics: Alumni, backcountry, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Gap Year, Live the Dream, NOLS Rocky Mountain

What's in the Wilderness?

By NOLS Blog on 10/21/15 8:00 AM
Scouting a rapid. Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.
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Topics: Alumni, backcountry, Live the Dream, NOLS Rocky Mountain, whitewater rafting, wilderness

Fellowships at NOLS Create Pathways to Outdoor Careers

By NOLS Blog on 9/28/15 1:06 PM

By Molly Hunt, Alumni Relations Intern Summer 2015

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, education, leadership, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Teton Valley

Public Lands We Love to Love

By NOLS Blog on 9/25/15 10:53 AM

September 26 is National Public Lands Day. That means we get to appreciate the wonderful public lands where we play, explore, connect with nature, and reconnect with ourselves. Plenty of people use Public Lands Day to rebuild trails at a local park, clean up trash, or do other awesome service projects.

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Topics: backcountry, Behind the Scenes, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Pacific Northwest, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Southwest

Remote and Unyielding

By Cole Medders on 9/16/15 8:58 AM
Standing at the top of Goose Neck Glacier. Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.
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Topics: adventure, climbing, Live the Dream, mountaineering, NOLS Rocky Mountain