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

New York Times Features New NOLS LGBTQ+ Backpacking Course

Posted by Brooke Ortel on June 4, 2019 5:06:52 PM MDT

In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month this June, The New York Times recognized NOLS and other organizations offering outdoor expeditions for the LGBTQ community. In November 2019, NOLS will offer its first LGBTQ+ affinity expedition: a nine-day backpacking course in Utah’s Canyonlands.

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Outdoor Professionals to Convene in Albuquerque for 26th Wilderness Risk Management Conference

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 30, 2019 9:18:40 AM MDT

Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.

Leading Outdoor Education Nonprofits Host Conference in the Land of Enchantment This Fall

Albuquerque, New Mexico—May 30, 2019—NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), in partnership with Outward Bound and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), will facilitate the 26th annual Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) this fall in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Forbes Recognizes Italian Cycling Company Founded by NOLS Grad

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 23, 2019 1:19:35 PM MDT

Photo from Ciclismo Classico.

In 1989, NOLS semester grad Lauren Hefferon singlehandedly founded a bike touring company to lead trips across Italy. Today, Forbes reports, Ciclismo Classico is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has expanded to offer a wide variety of trips across Europe. Lauren says it was her NOLS course that inspired her to pursue a life of learning, exploring, and teaching outdoors.

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NOLS Cookery Wins 2018 National Outdoor Book Award

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 23, 2019 8:51:03 AM MDT


Lander, Wyo.—May 24, 2019—The seventh edition of the iconic NOLS Cookery is the 2018 winner of the “Classic” category of the National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA). Deemed “the classic guide to backcountry cooking” by the 2018 NOBA panel, NOLS Cookery includes a wide variety of time-tested recipes submitted by NOLS instructors and staff.

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NOLS Celebrates Fifth Year of Innovative Partnership with C5 Youth Association to Serve High-Potential Under-Resourced Youth across the Country

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 22, 2019 10:16:50 AM MDT

C5 students from New England enjoy the scenery of the Wind River Range of Wyoming on their NOLS expedition in 2018. Photo by Kermelle Billy.

Lander, Wyo.—May 22, 2019—This summer, NOLS and the C5 Youth Association will celebrate the fifth year of their partnership to provide customized outdoor expeditions to hundreds of young leaders. With the mission to “inspire high-potential youth from risk-filled environments to pursue personal success,” C5 incorporates NOLS outdoor leadership courses as the third-year component of a five-year intensive program that includes year-round leadership mentoring, summer activities, community service, and overnight wilderness treks.

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UW Nursing Students Further Their Education with NOLS Wilderness Medicine Training

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 9, 2019 12:47:22 PM MDT

Photo by Shana Tarter.

This spring, students and instructors from the University of Wyoming nursing program took a two-day NOLS Wilderness Medicine for the Professional Practitioner course. Participants agreed that the course offered valuable leadership training as well as preparation for providing patient care in resource-limited environments.

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NOLS Instructor & Longtime Trekking Guide Founds Outdoor Education Project in Nepal

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 8, 2019 2:41:24 PM MDT

Photo from the Freedom Social Foundation.

After taking a NOLS instructor course in 2016, longtime porter and trekking guide Jagan Timilsina founded the Outdoor Education Project to provide youth in rural Nepal with a pathway toward working in the outdoor industry. Since August 2017, more than 500 local teens have participated in his 10-day basic course—and many of them are now working as professional guides.

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Gear Patrol: Backpacking 101 with Senior Instructor Marco Johnson

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 7, 2019 1:31:04 PM MDT

Photo by Nadine Lehner.

Gear Patrol recently consulted Senior NOLS Instructor Marco Johnson for advice on how to pack well for a backpacking trip. His recommendations, based on more than 30 years of experience in the field, include “don’t overpack” and “eat everything you bring.”

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Facebook’s Former Chief Product Officer Shares Lessons Learned at NOLS

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 6, 2019 6:12:50 PM MDT

Photo by Hailey Arnold.

In addition to serving as Facebook’s Chief Product Officer for the past 13 years, Chris Cox is also a NOLS semester graduate. He says the lessons he learned about resiliency in Patagonia’s mountains have served him well at Facebook and beyond.

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Southwest Leaders of Color Expedition: Working to Decolonize Outdoor Spaces

Posted by Brooke Ortel on May 3, 2019 10:50:16 AM MDT

Photo by Mara Gans. 

The West Michigan Environmental Action Council recognized environmental justice advocate and sustainable business manager Alice Jasper for participating in a 10-day NOLS backpacking expedition designed for leaders of color in the outdoors. She’s attending this course, focused on decolonizing outdoor spaces, as part of her work with the WGVU Shaping Narratives program.

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