Since 2004, NOLS and Girls, Inc. have worked together to offer Santa Fe teens an opportunity to participate in outdoor leadership programs. So far, 22 girls have received scholarships to fund NOLS courses of their choice, ranging from backpacking in the Adirondacks to sea kayaking in Alaska.
Andy Elsberg, NOLS grad and former instructor, originally came to Alaska to climb Denali, but taking wilderness medicine courses inspired him to ultimately pursue a medical degree. Today, he works in the emergency department at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, working to combat gun violence, a drug epidemic, and a struggling mental health care system.
When he’s not teaching Chinese and web design, NOLS grad and high school teacher Randy Baum is busy getting students outside. In 2013, he and a colleague founded the Edison Outdoor Club to expose Minneapolis high school students to outdoor adventures ranging from backpacking trips to mountain biking.
Lucas St. Clair, NOLS semester grad and son of the Burt’s Bees founder, is a staunch advocate for public land, playing a key role in preserving Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument status. Currently the Democratic candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, he’s rallying fellow Mainers around the idea that outdoor recreation is an economic driver.
David Zuckerman, Vermont’s lieutenant governor, took a NOLS sea kayaking course in Alaska before starting college, shortly after the Exxon Valdez ran aground. Observing the ecological consequences of the spill firsthand helped solidify his ongoing commitment to tackling environmental issues.
A part of Colorado’s growing refugee population, Muna Oweidat went backpacking for the first time on a NOLS expedition for MBA students. She says that nature is the “place I go to reenergize and connect with life, just like when I was a kid but with more freedom and attention.”
Jorge Moreno, NOLS instructor and volunteer for the nonprofit Latino Outdoors, brings irresistible enthusiasm and positivity to the field. Recognized for his efforts to make the outdoors a more inclusive place, Jorge is passionate about mentoring young people, especially those who face barriers to access.
Idaho Rescue Training recently hosted a two-day NOLS Wilderness First Aid course for Magic Valley residents. It’s a good way to prepare for outdoor recreation this summer, says senior instructor Paul Holle: “knowing what to do in an emergency, especially when you don’t have access to calling 911…is really important.”
In a recent article for The Casper Star Tribune, senior NOLS instructor Marco Johnson explains the top four methods for water purification in the backcountry and when to use them. Depending on your budget and the type of trip you’re taking, Marco recommends different strategies ranging from simply boiling the water to using chemical or UV treatment.
In a recent Washington Post article, senior NOLS instructor Marco Johnson shares his thoughts on the value of something simple: sleeping in a tent. It’s an experience that sparks appreciation for a simpler way of living, as well as a stronger connection to nature and other people.