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Backcountry Decision-making

By Tod Schimelpfenig on Mar 18, 2015
WMI students engage in patient care. Photo by Brad Christensen
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Topics: outdoor, wilderness medicine, backcountry

NOLS Recognized as a Top Nonprofit

By Rich Brame on Feb 9, 2011


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Topics: NOLS, Behind the Scenes, human resources, outdoor, award, nonprofit, opportunity knocks, hiring, education, wilderness

The Southwest Outdoor Educator Course Brings History to Life in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

By NOLS Southwest staff on Jan 26, 2011

On a bluebird mid-January day in western Arizona a group of NOLS students descended a rocky desert canyon to re-emerge from the wilds at a ghostly visage of America’s past. They were not the only ones to happen upon the Rob Roy mine in the remote Kofa Mountains. Meeting them there were a team of biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a carful of Southwest Branch staff. The goal of this Sonoran rendezvous was to aid in the restoration and preservation of a historic desert landmark.

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Topics: mine, educator, NOLS, Behind the Scenes, Southwest, outdoor, service project, fish, wildlife, kofa, construction

New Video: NOLS Leaders on NOLS Instructors

By William Roth on Jun 4, 2010

Leader, teacher, role-model, demigod - grads describe their NOLS instructors in this installment of the NOLS Leaders series.

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Topics: educator, Alumni, NOLS, leadership, role, teacher, national, model, outdoor, school, Educators Notebook, instructor, experiential, demigod, grad, leader, wilderness, backcountry

Instructor Q&A with Robin Larson

By William Roth on Mar 23, 2010
Where did you get your start in outdoor education?
I took a North Cascades Mountaineering Course in 2002 with NOLS. I had an amazing time, and decided I wanted to learn more about outdoor education. The following year I enrolled in the Outdoor Education program at the University of New Hampshire. I have been working in the field ever since.

Give me your best backcountry recipe.

I love making scones. Mix white and wheat flour, brown sugar, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Add water until you get a sticky batter. Spoon the batter into a greased fry bake. Flip after a few minutes to cook the other side. To avoid burning, depressurize your stove and elevate the fry bake with the windscreen.

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Topics: NOLS, leadership, Behind the Scenes, outdoor, school, answer, instructor, question, backcountry

Instructor Q&A with Andy Blair

By William Roth on Mar 5, 2010
Where did you get your start in outdoor education?
At a little summer camp on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. We did farm work for half the day and played around outside for the rest of the day. The camp also ran small, multi-day trips into Cape Breton Highlands National Park. I had no idea that I was getting educated but, looking back, that place shaped the direction of my life up to this point. What is your favorite class to teach?
Classes - smashes. Let's get out and immerse ourselves in the skill! While I really enjoy the sound of my own voice, I have discovered that not many people are listening. I really enjoy those times when I am mountaineering or skiing fresh powder or climbing big cliffs with my students. A lot of education is going on and no one has to listen to me.
Are you an analyst/architect, driver, relationship master, or spontaneous motivator?
Depending on my frame of mind, I seem to fall into one category or another. I like to think of myself as a driver but a lot of other people see me as a spontaneous motivator. It would be the exception that anyone would call me an analyst/architect. Sometimes you need to be a relationship master to help keep the peace.

What is your favorite course to teach?
I think you already asked this one.

(No I didn't Andy! I asked which class, now I'm asking which course!)

Give me your best backcountry recipe.
My backcountry recipes are all the same: hydrate it, fry it and put cheese in it. Only the ingredients change.

What is your favorite piece of outdoor gear?
Now, this is going to change depending on what I am doing. If I have to single out one piece of equipment, I have to defer to an item introduced to me by my friend, NOLS instructor, John Marshall. Rose colored sunglasses. Rose colored sunglasses make everything better. What music/food do you think about when in the backcountry?
Music: I end up singing to myself a fair bit while I am out in the backcountry. This usually takes a couple of days. Food: During summer courses I think about fresh vegetables and meat. During the winter, I am satisfied because I bring frozen vegetables and meat.

What is your single greatest accomplishment related to the outdoors?
Learning to be a good course leader. For me, this took at least my first 100 weeks in the field to accomplish. I think it took me that long to figure out what it takes to make a good NOLS course. Here are my three things you need to make a good NOLS course: 1) Risks managed appropriately, 2) Instructors are happy, 3) Students are happy.

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Topics: leadership, outdoor, answer, Educators Notebook, instructor, question, education, wilderness

NOLS Instructors Lighten Packs

By Ryan Hutchins-Cabibi on Feb 9, 2010

This last week NOLS Southwest was once again the proud host of the Lightweight Backpacking Seminar for NOLS Instructors. This annual training followed on the heals of two lightweight backpacking courses that successfully educated twenty new NOLS graduates.

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Topics: arizona, hike, NOLS, leadership, Tucson, Southwest, Training, National Outdoor Leadership School, outdoor, school, skills, shangri-la, backpack, AZ, caldera cone, GoLite, Backpacking, Mountain, Educators Notebook, instructors, trail, light, stove, Lightweight, education

Final Episode in Career in Outdoor Education Series

By William Roth on Feb 5, 2010

In this podcast we finish on the series How to Get a Career in Outdoor Education. You can watch below, or you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, and have it delivered right to your computer whenever we release a new episode.

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Topics: NOLS, work, outdoor, Live the Dream, job, career, education, desk

How to get a career in outdoor education - 3of4

By William Roth on Jan 27, 2010

We continue the NOLS podcast this week with part 3 (out of 4) of our series on getting a career in outdoor education. What does it take to work for WMI? What are the different kinds of outdoor jobs? What resources are out there if I am looking for a job in the outdoors? We try to answer these questions, and more. You can watch below, or you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, and have it delivered right to your computer whenever we release a new episode.

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Topics: NOLS, jobs, outdoor, wilderness medicine, podcast, resources, career, education

#40 On the Video Podcast Charts

By William Roth on Jan 13, 2010

Last night, our new venture reached #40 on the list of all video podcasts on iTunes (and #1 in the Outdoor category). We rolled the podcast out with our eNewsletter, and through our social network communities on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. We are also the 67th most watched non-profit video on YouTube right now. Thanks for watching y'all! What would you like to see covered on the next podcast?

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Topics: leadership, Behind the Scenes, outdoor, itunes, podcast, video, education, wilderness

Subscribe to The NOLS Podcast on iTunes

By William Roth on Jan 12, 2010

What do iTunes and NOLS have in common? Not much, right? Think again! Today we are launching the NOLS Podcast on iTunes.

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Topics: NOLS, leadership, outdoor, itunes, podcast, Educators Notebook, youtube, career, education, wilderness

What is risk management oversight?

By Brian Fabel on Nov 24, 2009

Following the Risk Management Training in Minneapolis, MN (a pre-conference workshop to the AORE conference), I had the chance to ask Risk Management Training instructor Missy White how she defined and explained the term risk management oversight. Here is what she said:

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Topics: NOLS, outdoor, risk, risk management training, risk management, Educators Notebook, program risk management, management