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New Courses for Fall 2017

By Molly Herber on Apr 10, 2017

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 Rocky Mountain, NOLS Southwest, NOLS Northeast

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

By Jen Pontrelli on May 9, 2016

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

How You Can Be More Sustainable Every Day

By Sarah Zimmerman on Apr 22, 2016

Photo by Austin D.

At NOLS, we try hard to incorporate earth-friendly practices into our work every week, every day, around the world. We try new ideas, like planting native flower seeds, and stick with the old practices that we’ve been working on for years, like repairing gear to keep it in use.

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Topics: NOLS Yukon, NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, NOLS Australia, NOLS Alaska, NOLS New Zealand, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Environmental Stewardship, NOLS India, NOLS Scandinavia, NOLS Southwest, education, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Teton Valley, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, NOLS East Africa, NOLS Three Peaks Ranch

Daily Gratitude: NOLS in the Frontcountry

By Scott Stewart on Mar 18, 2016

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

Educator Expedition: Multi-pitch Climbing in Red Rocks

By NOLS Blog on Mar 18, 2016


Climbing the Birdland route. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Martin.
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Topics: climbing, Educators Notebook, instructors, NOLS Southwest, IDF, Instructor Development Fund

12 Photos to Get You Excited for Spring

By Molly Herber on Mar 16, 2016

Spring is coming—it's time to start frolicking through wildflowers and get antsy for summer expeditions.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, Live the Dream, NOLS India, NOLS Southwest

The NOLS Underground: Caving

By Sarah Zimmerman on Feb 25, 2016


Photo by Lindsay Nohl.
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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Semester, adventure, NOLS Southwest, education, caving

Educator Expedition: A Multimodal Loop in Texas Big Bend Country

By NOLS Blog on Feb 16, 2016


Two vehicles = amazing yardsale for switching gear. Photo by Lindsay Nohl.
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Topics: packraft, adventure, Educators Notebook, instructor, instructors, NOLS Southwest, backcountry

Public Lands We Love to Love

By NOLS Blog on Sep 25, 2015

National Public Lands Day takes place on the fourth Saturday in September each year. 

It's an opportunity to celebrate 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: Behind the Scenes, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Pacific Northwest, NOLS Southwest, NOLS Northeast, public lands

Six Reasons to Love the Southwest

By Molly Herber on Aug 28, 2015

1. Remoteness

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, climbing, Backpacking, NOLS Southwest, wilderness, caving

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

4 Gear Tips for Lightweight Backpacking

By Molly Herber on Jul 27, 2015
Travel far and fast while lightweight backpacking. Photo by Jared Steinman.
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Topics: NOLS Rocky Mountain, Expedition Prep, adventure, video, NOLS Southwest, backcountry, lightweight backpacking

Pathfinding on an Outdoor Semester

By Matt Kearns on Jun 30, 2015

Backpacking in Wyoming's Wind River Range. Photo by Jamie Taylor.

Matt Kearns spent the spring of 2015 on a NOLS Outdoor Educator Semester. From backcountry skiing to whitewater canoeing, he did it all. Read about his semester, funded in part with his veterans benefits, and how it helped give him the space and direction to consider a career in the natural sciences.

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Topics: Semester, NOLS Rocky Mountain, climbing, Backpacking, Live the Dream, video, NOLS Southwest, backcountry skiing, canyoneering, Wilderness Medicine

Educator Expedition: "Plan B" Rock Climbing in Red Rocks

By NOLS Blog on Jun 15, 2015


Making the approach. Photo by Jared Steinman.
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Topics: climbing, Educators Notebook, instructors, NOLS Southwest

Smart Water Practices in the Southwest

By Naresh Kumar on Apr 29, 2015

Located in the Sonoran Desert, NOLS Southwest receives an average rainfall of 3-16 inches per year. Rainwater harvesting made human settlement in southern Arizona possible as far back as 3,500 years ago. But to compensate for the arid environment today, the Central Arizona Project pumps Colorado River water over 300 miles to Tucson via a pipeline. This unsustainable source currently makes up more than a third of Tucson’s water supply.

At NOLS Southwest, and the city of Tucson in general, we're making strides implementing innovative smart water practices in order to take advantage of the rainfall we do get and secure a more sustainable water supply.

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Topics: Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Environmental Stewardship, NOLS Southwest, education, backcountry