Brooke Ortel

Brooke is a runner and writer who enjoys finding adventure in the everyday. True to her island roots, she loves sunshine, that salty ocean smell, and the sound of waves against the shore.

Recent Posts

NOLS Wilderness Medicine: A Genius Way to Use Your PTO

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 12, 2019 1:12:46 PM MST

Photo by Jared Steinman.

Outdoorsy, a company that coordinates RV rentals, recommends NOLS Wilderness Medicine training as one of their top five picks for using paid time off. If you camp and recreate in remote areas, completing a wilderness medicine course is a great way to spend your PTO. 

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What It Means to Leave No Trace

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 11, 2019 8:35:23 AM MST

Photo by Annalise Grueter.

Journalist Shikha Tripathi grew up in the striking landscape of the Kumaon Himalaya and she later earned an advanced degree in mountaineering. But it wasn’t until she took a NOLS Trip Leader course that she learned the principles of Leave No Trace, an experience that shifted her perspective on human presence in the outdoors.

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What You Learn from Living Outdoors for Three Months

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 8, 2019 7:31:13 AM MST

Photo by Samuel Kirsh.

Environmental journalist Sara Sneath reflects on the life-changing three months she spent in the Rockies on a NOLS outdoor educator semester this fall. As she backpacked, climbed, and skied across the western U.S., she faced her fears and rediscovered a “sense of play.”

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Outside Magazine Recognizes NOLS Instructor Liza Howard for Ultrarunning Wins

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 6, 2019 11:54:22 AM MST

As a professional ultrarunner, NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructor, and mother of two, Liza Howard is pretty busy—to say the least. But juggling work, family life, and training hasn’t stopped her from winning big races like the Leadville 100 and competing in the 100K World Championships. In fact, she says, her busy schedule is key to her success.

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UC Santa Cruz Students Recognized for Completing WFR Training

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 5, 2019 4:46:06 PM MST

Photo by Kyle Wilson.

The Mercury News recognized 30 students at the University of California Santa Cruz who completed a NOLS Wilderness First Responder (WFR) recertification course this winter. Founded in 1965 by Paul Petzoldt of the 10th Mountain Division, NOLS has expanded to include the world’s leading wilderness medicine program.

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Learning Leadership above the Arctic Circle

Posted by Brooke Ortel on January 16, 2019 11:46:18 AM MST
Photo by Julie Fernie.

This summer, Evan Marie Allison, associate director of the University of Michigan’s Sanger Leadership Center, completed a two-week NOLS backpacking expedition in Alaska. The overarching lessons she took away from the course ranged from “you’re capable of more than you think” to “don’t count your blessings: recognize your privilege.”

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Instructor Marco Johnson Gives Gear Patrol Tips on Building Snow Shelters

Posted by Brooke Ortel on December 18, 2018 5:12:32 PM MST

Getting ready for the winter season, Gear Patrol consulted NOLS instructor Marco Johnson on how to build snow shelters. A senior instructor, Marco has plenty of experience teaching students how to construct snow caves and quinzee huts on NOLS winter courses.

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Georgetown MBA Students Reflect on Rocky Mountain Leadership Trek

Posted by Brooke Ortel on December 17, 2018 9:36:45 AM MST

Photo by Eric Page.

In August 2018, nine students from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business backpacked through Wyoming’s Wind River Range on an eight-day NOLS Custom Education expedition. Students reported that participating in a guided leadership progression in the outdoors was a valuable complement to learning in a traditional classroom setting.

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Naval Academy Midshipman and NOLS Grad Receives Marshall Scholarship

Posted by Brooke Ortel on December 14, 2018 10:39:46 AM MST

Photo by Ari Bruns.

U.S. Naval Academy senior and NOLS Yukon grad Anne Richter was recently awarded the prestigious Marshall Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement. An engineering major, Richter will pursue a master’s degree in additive manufacturing and advanced manufacturing at the University of Sheffield, U.K. before entering nuclear power school to train as a naval submariner.

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Joe Austin Receives AEE Servant Leader Award

Posted by Brooke Ortel on December 12, 2018 9:32:37 AM MST

Photo courtesy of the Association of Experiential Education.

On Thursday, November 8, NOLS Health Review Manager Joe Austin received the 2018 Servant Leader Award from the Association of Experiential Education (AEE). Presented at the annual AEE conference, this award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellent active leadership in the field of experiential education. Criteria for nomination include commitment to the highest level of ethical practices, dedication to furthering experiential education, and embodiment of the principle that “how and why” is just as important as “what will be done.”

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