NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What's Happening in Elko

It has been one crazy summer so far!  For the past couple of months we’ve been teaching our 1 hour early childhood program Nature at Noon three times per week, teaching the three hour Park and Recreation program Elko Explorers once per week, running three multi-day camps, and a variety of other activities.  It has been one fun and exhausting summer.  It has been filled with laughter and sweat, sunburns and dirt encrusted skin.  It has been fantastic so far and there is much still to come.  

Last week we had a little help with the funding for all of these activities in the Elko and Spring Creek communities.  Barrick asked Nevada Outdoor School to be one of the charity organizations for their 2018 Bob Smith Memorial Golf Tournament.   And as you could have guessed, we said yes.  For almost ten hours last Friday we sat on the tee box of hole #6 (a 535 yard par 5) greeting the Barrick employees and inviting them to play our game.  For a mere $10, teams got the opportunity to spin our “Wheel of Ethics” and answer the corresponding situation-based question about Leave no Trace or Tread Lightly! to gain a 100, 200, or 250 yard advantage.  

For those of you who are unaware, Leave no Trace and Tread Lightly! are education programs that teach people how to take care of the places they love.  Some of the golfers were hesitant when they realized that their yardage advantage hinged on a pop quiz, but when assured that the quiz was more about education and less about tricking them to get the wrong answer, all teams joined in on the fun.    
Golfers learned how deep to bury their poop if they had to dig a cathole (6-8 inches), what durable surfaces would be good for setting up a tent or bad for driving a golf cart (wet and sensitive areas), how they should leave gates (as they were), who should yield to horses (everyone), and important items to bring on a hike to avoid getting lost (a map, compass, GPS, and a clear head).  Overall, it was one excellent day of education and fundraising.  Thank you Barrick!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Reflections on AmeriCorps Service - Friends of Black Rock High Rock

Hi, I'm Sarah, and I'm the 1700 AmeriCorps Service-member working with Friends of Black Rock-High Rock, 2017-2018, and I'm here to talk about the great things I've been able to be involved in because of my service. I actually did a three-month service with FBHRH May-July of 2017, and I loved working with it so much that, when I heard they were looking for a year-long volunteer, I jumped at the chance!

Things are gearing up for the summer season in the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which means that its getting busy around Friends of Black Rock-High Rock's Visitor Center in Gerlach, NV, a town with a population of less than 200. I've been able to help keep the visitor center open through the winter, help address their inventory tracking problems, learn about WordPress, and expand my knowledge of social media outreach during the first half of my service term.

Most of the AmeriCorps volunteers with FBRHR over the last few years have only been involved in summer programs, so it was really great for me to be able to come on through the winter. This helped FBRHR keep the Visitor Center open a lot more than it has been in previous years, with only a single staff member available to manage it. It was great to get to know people who come through. People are of all ages and walks of life who come through here, and many of them have similar questions, and its fun to see what things these people have in common. Often a love of the outdoors, an interest in hot springs, and a curiosity of Burning Man's effect of the town of Gerlach are common factors! But we also have people who are descendants of those who took the immigrant trails into California or Oregon. 

It also gave me time to help with FBRHR's inventory issues, moving them to new software that would track their inventory for them, and creating a sign-up sheet function with one of the Board Members on their WordPress Website, so that they could be more effective in reaching out to volunteers in the future. This was a lot of fun for me, and I was happy to learn more about WordPress. I've also been really happy to share my experiences with social media platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) and Square, while learning a lot about other sites and programs, like WordPress, Instagram, and Flickr. I've also started learning how to use Slack as a messaging platform, which is pretty helpful. Good communication is super helpful!

Overall, volunteering with AmeriCorps and Friends of Black Rock-High Rock has been a great opportunity for me!

Sarah Lyon

Monday, July 16, 2018

Getting Kids Outside During the Summer

Beginning in June, Nevada Outdoor School began our summer season by kicking off with Girl’s Camp. This camp was held at Lake Tahoe and included activities such as hiking, swimming, and team building games. One of the main highlights of camp was a trip to Treetop Adventures, where campers participated in high ropes courses and zip lines. 

Our next camp, Adventure Camp I, took place at the end of June. This is one of our most popular camps, which consists of nearly 25 elementary-age students participating in a variety of games, activities, and hikes. 

Over the next few weeks of summer, youth are given the opportunities to participate in a variety of different themed camps. One of our new camps we are offering this summer is a five day trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Kids will be participating in a wide variety of activities that are led by park rangers and include topics that range from astronomy to orienteering. 
We are also offering a Boy’s Camp this summer that will be taking place in the Pine Forest Range near Denio, NV. At this camp, boys will have the opportunity to learn about survival skills, archery, and fishing.

One of the advantages that we have is the fact that we are close to areas that offer great learning and camping opportunities such as Lake Tahoe, the Ruby Mountains, or even Water Canyon. We are excited to provide youth with opportunities to get outside during the summer and learn about responsible outdoor recreation and stewardship. This includes fun games and activities such as swimming, hiking, and teaching youth responsible outdoor stewardship through the Leave no Trace principles. 

While it’s easy for youth to spend most of their summer indoors, we want to provide them with the chance to get out and explore the world around them, while having fun and making new friends. It’s not only fun for campers, but for adults as well.

We hope to see you this summer!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Recreating Nice With Others

Hotdogs, fireworks, and camping; spending time outdoors seems to be a quintessential part of celebrating the Fourth of July. From 5thwheels and glampers to ultra-light packers, outdoor enthusiasts flood popular camping areas on Independence Day. High volumes of people in our recreation areas can often lead to conflict, but don’t fret; by following a few simple tips, you can do your part to prevent tension between you and your fellow outdoor enthusiasts. 

The First issue I usually hear people complaining about During a busy weekend is space. Many of us enjoy camping because it provides us this the feeling of, “Getting away from it all” however, it is important to maintain realistic expectations in order to set yourself up for success. If you are not going to be able to enjoy a camping experience where there are a lot of other people and noise around, maybe camping at Lake Tahoe on the Fourth of July is not for you. Plan a different weekend to visit, or consider a back-country experience if you want a more exclusive experience.

If you’ve decided that you can tolerate camping within a close proximity of other campers, it is important that you still take your camp neighbors into consideration. If there is a “quite time” at you camp ground, try and refrain from loud music or being excessively disruptive after the designated quite hour. Another way to prevent possible tensions between you and your camp neighbors is to make sure to tidy up camp before leaving. If you leave food and garbage out at your campsite, you not only run the risk of attracting wildlife to your site, but heavy winds can also carry those things into your neighbor’s site.

If you decide to go for a hike or ride on a busy day like the fourth, it’s important to remember to be courteous to other users that you will encounter on the trail. Greet people with a friendly hello, and know who to yield to.

I get it; it can be difficult to share your favorite spot or trail, especially when it starts to get overly crowded. However, remind yourself of all the reasons why that area is your favorite. It is likely that the same reasons you fell in love with that place, are the same reasons that drew other users to it. For the most part, we all like do get outside for the same reasons, Lean on that common ground when you experience frustrations with other users and try to be understanding.  

Happy trails!