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José González, Knight Campbell, & Kit DesLauriers on Their Trails To Success [Video]

By NOLS on Feb 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of José G. González

NOLS graduates are an inspiring bunch. Over the years, we’ve heard again and again that their NOLS courses impacted their trails to success.

Whether success means founding a nonprofit that empowers Latinx communities in the outdoors (José González), becoming the first person to ski the seven summits (Kit DesLauriers), or launching a company built around outdoor leadership training (Knight Campbell), NOLS courses can facilitate learning and growth along the way.

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Topics: Alumni, NOLS alumni, video, stories, #TrailsToSuccess

Billycan Romance: A Lifetime Adventure

By Rich Brame on Feb 4, 2020

Same mountains, different expeditions, Scott and Petria Fossel completed challenging courses in Wyoming's Wind Rivers. The rest is history: a true NOLS love story. Photo by Nathan Page.

In about 1983, two New York City bankers met at a party. There was the usual small talk, music by Culture Club, and some shop talk, too. Home loan rates were 13%; electronic games maker Coleco was a hot stock; hit movies were Flashdance and The Big Chill.

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Topics: Alumni, Wind River Wilderness, NOLS alumni, Wind River Range, stories

Jimmy Chin’s Journey from NOLS to the Oscars

By Brooke Ortel on Feb 3, 2020

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

It’s Oscar season once again—a great reason to celebrate Jimmy Chin, co-producer of the top documentary feature film of 2019. Not only is Jimmy a world-renowned skier, climber, and film-maker, he’s also a NOLS alum, former instructor, and current Board member. Years before he stepped into the international spotlight, Jimmy started his journey with NOLS.

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Topics: NOLS Grad, nols instructor, Live the Dream, rock climbing, NOLS Alum, parenting, Free Solo, leaders of color, stories

Wilderness and Identity: Q&A with NOLS LGBTQ+ Canyonlands Backpacking Grad

By NOLS on Jan 27, 2020

Exploring the out-of-this-world views of Utah on NOLS' first LGBTQ+ Backpacking Expedition. Photo by Emi Birch.
 
Mat is the Summer Program Manager at Summer Search—a nonprofit that empowers young people who face systemic oppression by providing a unique combination of social-emotional mentoring, post-secondary advising, and summer leadership experiences—such as a custom course hosted by NOLS. He has directed a summer camp that taught peace, social justice, and environmental stewardship. He has also engaged high school students in community service and led service trips to developing countries. 
 
Mat and his husband were part of a group of nine students that completed NOLS’ first LGBTQ+ expedition into the canyonlands of Utah. We caught up with Mat after his course to learn more about his experience.

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Topics: backpacking, hiking, adventure, canyoneering, LGBTQ, q&a, affinity, stories

Celebrating NOLS in the New Year

By NOLS on Jan 9, 2020
Paul Petzoldt instructing a group of NOLS students in the early years of the school. Photo from NOLS archives.

January 2020 is a month of great reflection and celebration at NOLS. It marks the:

  • Welcoming of our first female president,

  • Paul Petzoldt's 112th birthday,

  • our 55th year educating students in the outdoors, and

  • 50 years of NOLS in homes across America.

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Topics: NOLS, anniversary, history, paul petzoldt, documentary, stories, Terri Watson, 55th anniversary

Our Favorite Places to #OptOutside

By Brooke Ortel on Nov 14, 2019

Join the NOLS community in opting outside on Black Friday! We hope you’re able to get outdoors this Thanksgiving, whether that means hiking a favorite trail, walking in a local park, or exploring nearby public lands.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of our favorite places to #OptOutside!

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Topics: adventure, Thanksgiving, stories, #optoutside

Add Some Wild to Your Halloween with Our Pumpkin-Carving Stencils

By Jordan Cranch on Oct 21, 2019

Happy Spooktober from NOLS!

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Topics: halloween, stories

3 Mottos I Learned From My AMGA Ski Guide Training

By Jesse Quillian on Sep 18, 2019

Managing loose dry sluffs in "Mozambique." Photo by Mike Poborsky, Course Director.
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Topics: instructor, winter, backcountry skiing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), stories

Learning to Say “Thank You:” The path to building community while climbing

By Andy Notopoulos on Sep 3, 2019
Photo by Alex Thomas.
 

“Thank you!!!”

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Topics: self confidence, wilderness education, instructor, rock climbing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), thank you, gratitude, stories

Welcome to NOLS India: Expeditions in the Himalaya

By NOLS on Aug 12, 2019

Written by Annalise Grueter and Manohar D'silva. 


Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.


A line of solemn, snow-capped giants stretches across the three northernmost states in India.

These soaring peaks belong to the world’s highest mountain chain: the Himalaya.

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Topics: Himalayas, Himalaya, Educators Notebook, NOLS India, cultural expedition, stories

My Path to Outdoor Education from a Semester in Alaska

By Katiya Gombar on Jul 15, 2019

Editor's note: Katiya took a semester in Alaska in the summer of 2016 and became a NOLS instructor in May 2019.

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Topics: Semester, Live the Dream, outdoor education, Alaska, stories

Why We Leave Phones Behind on NOLS Courses (and why you should do it more often)

By Molly Herber on Jul 1, 2019

Photo by Molly Hagbrand.

Cell phones are becoming better adventure tools every day. You can find what feels like endless apps for navigation, trip guides, even stargazing.

So why, when you look through a NOLS equipment list, is a cell phone nowhere to be found?

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Topics: technology, Live the Dream, wilderness, stories

There and Back Again, a Patagonia Tale: The Patagonia Cultural Expedition

By Jen Antocci on May 29, 2019

Photo courtesy of Alex Chang - Cornell Leadership Expedition.
 

I was sitting in my doctor’s office, awkwardly fussing with my johnny gown and glancing down at the NOLS health form in my hands. My doctor comes in and after some formal chitchat I ask her to complete the health clearance for this month long hiking and cultural expedition in Patagonia.

“A month of hiking? Sleeping in tents? In South America? Are you being punished?” she half joked. “No, I’m paying to do this” I joked back. “Well good for you, I don’t even like going out in my backyard.” She signed the form and I left the office, mentally checking off the final item on my expedition to-do list.

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Topics: Patagonia, culture, Live the Dream, cultural expedition, stories

5 Things I Learned from Going on a Paddling Expedition with My Spouse

By Ashley Drake on May 13, 2019

Going on an expedition is one thing—going with your spouse can be something else entirely. NOLS Instructor & Custom Education Operations Supervisor Ashley Drake shares how, with intentional planning and plenty of good humor, adventuring with your spouse can be some of your best time spent outdoors.

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Topics: River, nols instructor, instructors, inspiring women, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions, stories

Finding What Makes Others Tick on a Baja Semester

By Alison Peterson on May 8, 2019
Photo by Alison Peterson.
 

Two months into our fall semester in Baja and dinner had just ended, wrapping up a weary day of classes and cleaning the kayaks. I strolled over to my coursemate, who was writing on the beach, asking if I could join in. In waves, a few more came to join us.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Baja, inspiring women, stories