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Social Distancing Responsibly in the Outdoors

By NOLS on Mar 19, 2020
Photo by Vivian Merill

For many of us, travel and the outdoors provide solace. During these uncertain and challenging times, the outdoors can still provide an escape and add some sense of normality to our lives. As the outdoor industry grapples with the effects of COVID-19, there are ways our community can follow recommended practices to support and keep each other healthy—and still enjoy the nature around us.

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Topics: Environment, Skills, Risk Management, Leave No Trace, Stewardship, Covid-19

Managing Risk Outdoors: Backcountry Wildfires

By Brooke Ortel on Oct 7, 2019
Photo by Matt Howard

It’s no secret that wildfires in the U.S. are getting bigger and more intense.

Even if you haven’t personally been affected by a fire, you’ve probably seen the haunting photos and devastating reports on the news. Demolished homes, displaced families, firefighters risking their lives to contain walls of flame. These stories are evidence of a deadly, and growing, threat.

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Topics: Environment, Risk Management, education, NOLS Risk Services, trip planning, Wilderness Safety Training

Wilderness Safety Training: Key for Any Risk Management Toolkit

By Elizabeth Bezark on Jul 29, 2019
Photo by Shelli Johnson

Going to the backcountry or rural communities fosters growth, transformation, and opportunities for learning. But, often these experiences have inherent risks, like being far from medical care or in places where communication is difficult.

That’s why anyone, from solo adventurers to expedition leaders in these settings, needs skills in risk management.

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Topics: Risk Management, NOLS Risk Services, trip planning, Wilderness Safety Training, Wilderness Safety

Consultation with NOLS Risk Services: A 5-Step Risk Management Review

By Kenzie Wilkinson on Mar 4, 2019
Photo by Tracy Baynes

NOLS Risk Services offers consulting to organizations seeking to proactively manage risk in their outdoor programs. Risk Services, like the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC), emerged in response to a growing need across the outdoor industry for collaborative risk management and from the philosophy that every organization in the industry shares both stake and responsibility in this effort.

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Topics: Risk Management, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference, NOLS Risk Services, consulting

New Perspectives on Risk Management: WRMC 2018

By Day Scott on Dec 12, 2018
Photo by Day Scott

As an outdoor educator and a student of wilderness medicine, I thought that I had a pretty good idea of what wilderness risk management was all about...preparedness! I thought, “I know how to do that”, and was looking forward to learning about how to do it better. Boy, was I wrong.

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Topics: Events, WRMC, risk management training, Risk Management, Educators Notebook, NOLS Events, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

NOLS and the Wilderness Risk Management Conference: 25 Years of Facing Challenges Together

By Molly Herber on Jul 25, 2018
Photo by Eric Page

While taking my instructor course to teach for NOLS, we spent a lot of time talking about decision making. For example, would we cross this river using the snow bridge or a wading technique—the bridge looking like the more comfortable option compared to the guarantee of wet boots, but which might collapse and dump us into the chilly water anyway.

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Topics: WRMC, risk management training, Risk Management, Wilderness Risk Management Conference, Wilderness Safety

Creating a Diverse Community of Risk Managers

By Lexi Golestani on Jan 1, 2018
Photo courtesy of Open Sky

The NOLS Risk Management Training (RMT) is designed to educate and empower administrators to develop or adapt their risk management practices to best suit their organization’s needs. View the upcoming schedule here.

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Topics: WRMC, risk management training, Risk Management, Educators Notebook, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference, Wilderness Safety

Leaving a Legacy: Learning and Leading Risk Management Collaboration and Dialogue in Seoul

By Lexi Golestani on Dec 14, 2017

Editor's Note: Tara Verenna, the Director of Teaching and Learning at the Korea International School (KIS), runs an Experiential Education program focused on outdoor learning for students grades 4-12. Tara sought out NOLS for a Risk Management Training course (RMT), which ran in mid-September 2017. We caught up with Tara afterward to learn about her experience, and how the concepts and guidance provided by the RMT are helping to shape KIS’ risk management policies and procedures.

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Topics: WRMC, risk management training, Risk Management, Educators Notebook, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

Enhancing Student Experience and Inclusion through Risk Management

By Lexi Golestani on Dec 1, 2017

It’s mid-November, and a crew of excited Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) undergraduates loads into a few vans bound for the Pacific Ocean, anxiously anticipating their first open water dive. There is an air of hearty excitement mixed with a small dose of nerves; this is the feel of an adventure beginning.

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Topics: WRMC, Risk Management, Educators Notebook, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

Embracing Acceptable Risk in the Non-Traditional Classroom: Marin Academy & the WRMC

By Lexi Golestani on Nov 21, 2017

NOLS Risk Services caught up with Julie Barnes to find out why she values risk taking, risk management, and wilderness-based experiential education. Julie is the Director of Outings at Marin Academy (MA), an independent high school in San Rafael, CA, with a big focus on immersive experiential education & engaged learning. Many of these experiences take place in wilderness areas, which invite challenge, exploration, and the opportunity, for students and faculty alike, to be fully present.

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Topics: WRMC, Risk Management, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference, NOLS Risk Services

Prepare for the Unexpected with a Solid Trip Plan

By Molly Herber on Jun 6, 2017

I’m all out of layers, I thought as I turned my pack inside out looking for something else we could use. Our patient had a broken femur and my team was scurrying to assemble materials for a splint. I only had what I normally brought on a day hike—a jacket, snacks, and a half-full water bottle—not even a first aid kit. My heart raced as I scrambled to think of what else we could do for this patient. I could hear the rising stress in my teammates’ voices.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, Expedition Prep, Risk Management, education, Wilderness Medicine, trip planning, Wilderness Safety

Growing Your Comfort Zone in the Wilderness

By Molly Herber on Sep 2, 2016

We read in plenty of places that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing—it seems these days that everyone wants us to step outside of it and push its boundaries.

You can imagine the comfort zone place as a big pile of cozy pillows, with the temperature set at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and with fuzzy socks on your feet. You’re safe. You know what to say and how to behave. You can complete tasks without even thinking. In all probability, you like your comfort zone.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, Risk Management, Educators Notebook, education

Bee Prepared: WFR Training Applied in Real Life

By Luiz Antônio Gambá on Aug 9, 2016

“Bee stings cause more anaphylaxis than do the stings of any other insect. Multiple stings … can be life-threatening.” -NOLS Wilderness Medicine

My friend Pedro de Toledo Piza and I were riding on a trail access to Medicine Hill in Paraibuna, Brazil when we decided to leave our ATVs to hike up to a lookout.

On the walk back from the lookout, we were attacked by a large swarm of Africanized bees.

The buzz of the colony was deafening as we began to suffer stings all over our bodies. Knowing that Pedro was allergic to bees, I put myself in front of him in order to divert attention from the swarm—despite my efforts, the bees still seemed to have focused more on Pedro than me.

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Topics: Alumni, Risk Management, education, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, scenario, Wilderness Medicine

When Urban Environments Go Wild: Wilderness Medicine in the Aftermath of Disaster

By Sarah Buer on Jul 5, 2016

“Wilderness has no handrails, no telephones, and no simple solutions for complex emergency situations. It does have dangers. Some are obvious: rock fall, moving water, stormy weather, avalanches, crevasses, and wild animals. Others are subtle: impure water, dehydration, cold and damp weather, altitude illness, and human judgment.” -Tod Schimelpfenig, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

The importance of wilderness medicine knowledge and protocols in disaster zones is tenfold. When resources are depleted, emergency access is delayed, and safely functioning environments become austere, an urban setting ultimately transforms into a modern-day wilderness.

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Topics: Alumni, Risk Management, education, wilderness, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Risk Management in the Outdoors: Beyond the NOLS Course

By Logan Claytor on Mar 16, 2016
 
Photo by Cass Colman. 

At NOLS, we believe in the value of spending time in wild places. We also know there is risk involved in what we do. We strive to practice and teach thoughtful risk management that emphasizes the health and well-being of our students and staff, and have for over 50 years.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, WRMC, Risk Management, Educators Notebook, Wilderness Risk Management Conference