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

Backpacker Magazine Turns to NOLS for Leadership Advice

Posted by Brooke Ortel on August 16, 2019 10:40:05 AM MDT

Backpacking in Wyoming's Wind River Range. Photo by Daniel Lay.

For hikers who are wondering “why no one wants to follow me anymore,” NOLS Field Instructor and Research Manager Shannon Rochelle recently shared some leadership advice with Backpacker. Pitfalls range from failing to get the group’s buy-in to being a cheerleader rather than a hike leader—but luckily, adjusting your leadership approach can make a big difference.

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Casper Star Tribune Features Run the Red, a Race Celebrating Public Lands

Posted by Brooke Ortel on August 6, 2019 9:03:12 AM MDT

The Casper Star Tribune reports that this year's Run the Red race, sponsored by NOLS, Patagonia, and others, will be held on September 28, Wyoming’s first Public Lands Day. Runners can choose between a half marathon, 45 km, or 120 km course in the Red Desert, starting and finishing in South Pass City.

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Senior NOLS Instructor Advises Field & Stream on Picking Campsites

Posted by Brooke Ortel on August 1, 2019 8:28:54 AM MDT

Photo by Molly Hagbrand.

Field & Stream recently sought Senior NOLS Instructor Marco Johnson’s advice on choosing a campsite. Whether you’re car camping or backpacking, Johnson recommends taking possible weather events into account, resisting the urge to violate Leave No Trace practices, and knowing how to set up your shelter before heading out.

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NOLS Wilderness Medicine Featured on University of Kentucky Radio Station

Posted by Brooke Ortel on July 31, 2019 2:22:49 PM MDT

Photo by Matt Hage.

Dr. Greg Davis, on behalf of the University of Kentucky’s radio station, WUKY, recently interviewed NOLS Wilderness Medicine Instructor Greg Gaskin to learn more about a Wilderness First Responder course held on campus.

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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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