Nevada Outdoor School is pleased to announce that it is now a Leave No Trace Youth Accredited Program! Leave No Trace the Center for Outdoor Ethics is a National organization that protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. Last year, Nevada Outdoor School took the next step towards making our youth outdoor ethics programs even better, by participating in the Leave No Trace Youth Program Accreditation. The Youth Program Accreditation connects youth serving Organizations, like Nevada Outdoor School with essential standards and assessment resources, which will enhance the impacts of stewardship education for young people. There are 11 standards Set by Leave No Trace, which any accredited program must comply. During this process, Nevada Outdoor School has completed a variety of exercises and evaluations, including interviews with participants and staff, which have helped us to evaluate the effectiveness of our youth Leave No Trace education. Using the information gathered NOS has set goals and created action plans, which will guide us though the next year of creating even better programs. We are honored that Leave No Trace has approved Nevada Outdoor School as a fully Accredited Leave No Trace Youth Program. As a Fully accredited youth Program, Nevada Outdoor School demonstrates the highest commitment to providing youth in Nevada with relevant and accessible Leave No Trace education.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Thursday, February 7, 2019
My name is Peter and I am an AmeriCorps Alumnus.
I recently completed two back-to-back 10 week contracts with the Nevada Outdoor School AmeriCorps Program at the Host Site Friends of Nevada Wilderness. Ten weeks go by pretty fast, and so do two sets of ten, so when I look at back at all that we accomplished it’s a bit overwhelming. During my twenty weeks working with Friends of Nevada Wilderness I participated in 8 volunteer field projects – two of which were 4-day overnight hitches at 10,000’, 6 outreach events including the Federal Duck Stamp Competition Judging at Springs Preserve, 5 solo wilderness monitoring trips, worked with 4 Federal Land Management Agencies – BLM, NPS, FWS, and USFS – as well as state agencies and NGOs, completed 3 scouting trips to plan projects, lead 2 volunteer projects, and helped host 1 Wild and Scenic Film Festival with Zappos and Smokey the Bear. That’s not even taking into account miles hiked, flora and fauna sighted, trash picked up, graffiti removed, interests encouraged, volunteers inspired, or friends made. You can do and see a lot in 20 weeks.
AmeriCorps offers an opportunity to travel for many people. I was able to travel locally during my time serving. I chose to stay in Las Vegas, my home town, and to apply to a program at a site I am very familiar with. I’ve volunteered with Friends of Nevada Wilderness since 2015. FNW is a statewide non-profit that has contributed to the designation of every one of the over 70 Wilderness Areas in Nevada. We have 18 in Clark County alone, and during my 20 weeks I visited 13 of them. While all of these areas are relatively close to town, I had never seen many of them. It was like seeing a whole new side (a baker’s dozen new sides) of my hometown. This was an extremely valuable experience in and of itself. Seeing Las Vegas from a dozen new angles – often with new people who were also seeing these places for the first time, often with people intimately familiar with the landscape, sometimes alone – allowed me to look at a lot of things in a new light. I was very pleasantly surprised by the amazingly diverse cross-section of Las Vegans who come out to support our Public Lands and Wild Spaces. The Wilderness and the Spirit of Service really unite people, it’s a beautiful thing to see.
My time with AmeriCorps taught me that I can accomplish a lot more than I thought I could, physically and mentally. At times it was at times challenging, but always rewarding. I would do it again.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
As you know, the US government has been shut down for the last three weeks. During this time, many of our national parks have been forced to close access completely, while others leave their gates open, allowing access to some areas of the park. Unfortunately, as the shutdown continues, our parks remain understaffed, under supervised, and under maintained. Without park staff to enforce rules or boundaries, or inform visitors of changes to conditions effecting the safety of their route, People are finding themselves in dangerous situations. Limited park staff means limited rescue and recovery personnel as well. During the shutdown there have also been unfortunate reports of overflowing garbage receptacles, and restrooms. The excess of garbage left in the parks can have negative effects on our wildlife, and the overflowing restroom facilities are leading to an excess of people depositing human waste on the surface along roads and trails. Improper disposal of human waste is not only unsightly, but causes a heath concern.
Are you planning a trip to a national park in the future? Leave No Trace, The center for Outdoor Ethics recently published some guidelines on how to make sure that you are prepared:
1. Develop a plan B:
a. If you are able to substitute your National Parks Experience for a trip to a state park or one of the many other municipal land recreation opportunities, choose to do so.
2. Pack out ALL trash:
a. With garbage cans and dumpsters overflowing as it is, do your best not to contribute to the problem. Bring plenty of trash bags and plan to pack out any garbage that you produce, as well as trash left behind by other visitors.
3. It’s Time to try:
a. Since many restroom facilities are closed or un-usable, it is essential that you use biodegradable toilet-in-a-bag products, such as Restop or Clean Waste so that you can pack out your human waste.
4. Share Well With Others:
a. Share your Leave No trace knowledge with others! Rangers usually fill the role of Leave No Trace educators at our parks, and without them, many people will be exploring the parks with little to no background on Leave No trace.