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, June 22, 2022

Why National Service Matters

At Nevada Outdoor School (NOS), national service is at the heart of what we do! Since NOS was founded in 2002, AmeriCorps members have been serving with our organization. In 2007, NOS received our first AmeriCorps grant, providing opportunities for people to bring out the best of America, specifically in Nevada.  The national AmeriCorps program enrolls more than 250,000 individuals to serve, making a difference all across America.  

AmeriCorps is a federal agency that connects individuals to organizations.  AmeriCorps has a rich national history, starting in 1964 when the Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) program was instituted to help combat poverty.  In 1973 the Domestic Volunteer Service Act authorized the creation of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and in 1992 the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program was developed to assist communities in recovery after a natural disaster or to meet other critical needs.  In 1993, AmeriCorps was created as the government agency overseeing national and community service, incorporating the previously created programs.  In 1994, the first class of 20,000 AmeriCorps individuals took the pledge to, “Get things done for America”.  Since then, AmeriCorps members have been involved in efforts associated with 3rd grade literacy, assisting with 9/11 devastation and recovery, natural disaster recovery, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, combatting the opioid crisis, and most recently COVID support.

The AmeriCorps Program relationship at Nevada Outdoor School can be a bit confusing, because Nevada Outdoor School is the administrator of the Program, as well as a host site.  What does that mean?  Nevada Outdoor School is granted money through Nevada Volunteers each year to administer or place AmeriCorps Members at host sites throughout rural Nevada.  What is a host site?  A host site is a nonprofit organization that has formally requested an AmeriCorps member to come serve at their site to fill a need in the community.  Currently, Nevada Outdoor School AmeriCorps Director, Zulma Mayorga, oversees members at 6 host sites.  The host sites are, Friends of Black Rock High Rock, Pershing County Senior Center, Pleasant Senior Center, Frontier Community Action Agency, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and Nevada Outdoor School.  Members at these host sites assist their nonprofit organization with daily activities ranging from trail maintenance to teaching children to helping seniors fill out paperwork to manning food pantries.  In total, in 2021, twenty-four AmeriCorps members placed by Nevada Outdoor School provided 16,824 hours of service in the state of Nevada, helping 483 people, and improving 445 acres of land.

Peter, an AmeriCorps Member serving at Friends of Nevada Wilderness through the NOS AmeriCorps Program


While AmeriCorps members do get paid for their efforts, it is not a lot.  Monthly stipends are low, but the real benefit comes in the Segal Education Award that changes lives.  Depending on the number of hours served, members can earn up to over $6,000/year that can be used to pay of existing student loans, pay for tuition at most universities, colleges, or trade schools, or other education opportunities.

The AmeriCorps Members placed at Nevada Outdoor School serve as Outdoor Educators and are our teachers and summer camp counselors.  We could not do what we do in our communities without the AmeriCorps program!  What to learn more?  Visit or


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Summer Camp Matters

 Kids (and adults!) who grow up attending summer camp usually have great stories to tell about adventures and learning.  Whether it is church, band, Scouting, or an athletic camp, parents who make the financial and time sacrifice to get their kids to camp reap the benefits for a lifetime.  Of course, as a kid, it will simply be viewed as an escape from the normal routine, but upon reflection they will giggle at all the things learned, intended and un-intended. 

There is so much research on the value of summer camp for kids of all ages.  The intended learning of camp specific content, like musical scales or athletic techniques, are the obvious gains for kids.  But, perhaps the more memorable and life-shaping learnings are those that fall in the un-intended category.  The exposure to a diverse range of fellow campers opens up an individual’s world and helps one to begin to appreciate that everyone is not like me.  For example, from something as simple as morning and nightly routines, we learn a lot from observing, adapting and adjusting to what others need and do.  Then there are the shenanigans that kids do, just because they are kids.  From pulling off the greatest heist in history, stealing the boys’ pillows to the heartbreak of saying goodbye to your new best-est friend, we learn a lot from camp. 

Nevada Outdoor School is proud to offer summer camp opportunities for kids 4 - 17 years old.  Nature is our backdrop and outside is our favorite location.  The focus of our camps is to challenge kids to analyze their actions, evaluate their impacts, and choose wisely.  From outdoor recreation such as hiking and ATV riding, to dealing with peers, parents, and teachers, understanding the link between action, impact, and choice empowers children to be responsible stewards of the environment and themselves.  We want all kids to grow up to be healthy, happy, and engaged community members who are connected to their natural world and choose to behave responsibly.  


Kids at 2021 Nevada Outdoor School summer camp revealing their Leave No Trace poster.

Nature at Nine programs introduce 4 - 7 year olds to the natural world, and will be offered in eight locations (Elko, Spring Creek, Carlin, Wells, Winnemucca, Imlay, Battle Mountain, and Paradise Valley).  Our Adventure Camps for 8 - 10 year olds begin to expand knowledge and skills, and for many is a first camp-out experience.  Pathfinder Camps for 11 - 13 year olds builds on the knowledge and skills to stretch kids to expand their nature- and self-knowledge.  For the 11 - 13 year olds we also expand their horizons with our expeditions to the Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Great Basin National Park.  Finally, Backroad Explorers and Backpacking Adventures for 14 - 17 year olds tests physical skills and prepares campers to be leaders in outdoor recreation.  New this year is an adult (18+) backpacking opportunity in the Ruby Mountains, come be a kid again!

Our highly-capable and trained staff and team of AmeriCorps members is prepared to deliver the most amazing summer camp opportunities for kids of rural Nevada.  The Nevada Outdoor School team is excited to welcome your children (or you!) to one of our 2022 Summer Camps!  Visit to register today.    

Friday, May 27, 2022

Thank YOU, Community!

 The 2nd Annual Nevada Outdoor School Fire and Ice Golf Scramble Fundraiser was a great success due to the support of our communities and our sponsors!  We offer a big thank you to Stuart Title for sponsoring the sweet Titleist Pro V1X golf balls given out to all the players and MedX Aire One for jumping on board to be our main event sponsor.   We are thankful to Karl Young and Elko Realty for covering some of the green fees for players.  We also extend huge gratitude to Elko Broadcasting, Everything Elko and the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority whose generosity saved us on advertising expenses for our event. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022 was a beautiful and prosperous day at the Spring Creek Golf Course to benefit Nevada Outdoor School, raising over $18,000 in sponsorships, raffle ticket sales, silent auction items and golf tournament fees and advantages.  We have so many winners to announce!!

Classic Aviation, representing our corporate sponsor Med X, Michael Kay, Patrick Edinborough, Clint Jensen and Ryan Owen had the winning score for the day of 56 at the Nevada Outdoor 2nd Annual Fire and Ice Golf Tournament at Spring Creek Golf Course.  Pictured with Melanie Erquiaga, Executive Director at Nevada Outdoor School.

Classic Aviation players Michael Kay, Patrick Edinborough, Clint Jensen and Ryan Owen had the winning score for the day of 56.  They were awarded $75 each in gift cards to The Star, half of those were donated by Scott Ygoa.  The 2nd place score of 58 was a tie, but the team of Echo and Marc White and Bill and Kim Kurz was very gracious and accepted the 3rd place winnings of $30 each in Spring Creek Golf Course gift cards, giving Ruben Garcia, Dan Stewart, Boden Goicoechea and Jim Bailey the 2nd place winnings of $50 each in Spring Creek Golf Course gift cards. 

Dana Morfin returned to play again in the Nevada Outdoor School annual Fire and Ice Golf Tournament, with her son Dereck.

Ladies’ Closest to the Pin winner was Kim Kurz at 7 feet, 6 inches and she was awarded a hotel stay donated by Wendover Fun and a round of golf for 2 donated by Toana Vista Golf Course in Wendover. Mens’ Closest to the Pin Winner was Michael Kay at 7 feet, 2 inches and he was awarded a hotel stay donated by Cactus Pete’s in Jackpot and a round of golf for 2 donated by Jackpot Golf Club.  Echo White was awarded a $75 gift card to spend at Big 5 Sporting Goods for the Straightest Drive.

Jessica Untiet was generous and cleaned up on the silent auction items!  Up for grabs was a handmade quilt donated by NOS staffer - Jacklyn Orr, a painting donated by Erin Brumage, a framed print donated by Chrissy Ingle and two Caribbean Resort stays donated by Elite Island Resorts. 

Finally, our firearm and ice cooler winners went home with big smiles thanks to the firearm sponsors of Elevation Transport, High Mountain Metal, RamCon Construction, Next Home Realty – Kristina Garcia-Drake and Carter Engineering.  RTIC Cooler sponsors were Shaboyna Dutton – State Farm Insurance, Canyon Construction, Savage Services and Ignite Life Chiropractic.  Firearms were purchased from Gun World and Archery in Elko and Arms R Us in Spring Creek and included a Savage Stephens 20 Gauge Shotgun, a Mossberg 12 Gauge Shotgun, a Tikka 300 Win Mag and a colorful Savage 17HMR Accutrigger with a twisted barrel.  Our firearm winners were Ryan Owen, returning player Ruben Garcia, young Boden Goicoechea and last minute ticket buyer Dusten Lish.  The RTIC cooler winners were Dan Stewart, Russ Osborne, Macy Rohr and the lucky Boden Goicoechea. 

Put May 20, 2023 on your calendar now for the 3rd Annual Fire and Ice Golf Tournament Fundraiser and you too can join in the fun and winnings and increase your time spend outdoors! 


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

May NOS Programming Highlight: Elko Lunar Eclipse Viewing Party!

The month of May held an exciting lunar event! On the evening of Sunday, May 15th and early into Monday morning many sky watchers got to experience the first lunar eclipse of 2022. The full moon, nicknamed the May Flower moon, also happened to be a super moon! The event became called The Super Flower Blood Moon. If that doesn’t sound exciting enough, there was more! 

Nevada Outdoor School,The California Trail Interpretive Center and Friends of the Rubies all partnered together to throw a Lunar Eclipse Viewing Party! The event was held out at the California Trail Center and was open to the public of all ages. The party started at 7:30pm which allowed time for participants to arrive, sign in and join in on a quick Nature Hike around the trail center. 


At the end of the short hike, participants were greeted by the sight of the blood red moon rising up above the Rubies! Despite the cloudy weather, the moon could still be viewed and it was quite spectacular! The inside of the Trail Center was also open with a live feed of the moon seen across the world. 



While the eclipse was in progress hot chocolate and s’mores were being served and a campfire kept everyone warm and enjoying a sweet treat. Two telescopes were also set up to view the moon and the eclipse. The event lasted until about 9:30 pm and while driving home the moon could still be seen up in the night sky. 



If you didn’t have a chance to make it to this event, don’t worry! There will be plenty of night sky events in the future for those of you who enjoy looking up into the vast sky full of stars and mystery. We hope to see you soon! 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Par-Tee With Nevada Outdoor School at the 2nd Annual Fire and Ice Charity Golf Scramble!

Come have a ball with NOS on Saturday, May 21st at our 2nd Annual Fire and Ice Charity Golf Scramble! This un-fore-gettable experience will start at 8am at the Spring Creek Golf Course. Don’t miss this tee-rific opportunity to support outdoor education in Elko County and across rural northern Nevada!

Nevada Outdoor School (NOS) inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community. NOS is all about getting people outside, deepening their connection to, understanding of and respect for the natural world. Through a variety of youth, training and healthy community focused programs, NOS provides opportunities for people of all ages to increase their “Time Spent Outdoors”. You might see NOS leading outdoor learning experiences for students, facilitating exploration-based summer camps, hosting community hikes and nature programs, or teaching outdoor skill workshops (just to name a few)! NOS officially opened their Elko office in 2016 but has been working in and serving the Elko community for over 10 years! Although mostly grant funded, as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, NOS works hard to raise the funds needed to support all their great programs through a variety of sources. Annual fundraisers like the upcoming Fire and Ice Charity Golf Scramble provide opportunities for the public to show their support for NOS and help raise needed funds. Are you interested in supporting outdoor experiences in northern Nevada and programs that help keep our recreation areas clean and safe for everyone to enjoy? There are several ways you can help!

To tee or not to tee?  Whether you are a golf pro, total novice, or somewhere in the middle, participating in the Charity Golf Scramble is sure to be a fun time, no ifs, ands or putts about it! Teams of four can register to play for $340 ($24 discount per player for SCGC members). Lunch will be provided for all participants. Games for advantages will be available on the course, so make sure to bring cash! There will also be prizes awarded for closest to the hole, straightest drive and a putting contest.

Is golf not your cup of tee? As part of this “Fire and Ice” fundraiser, NOS will be selling $20 firearm (fire) and cooler (ice) raffle tickets. At the event, four winners will be picked for each category. You do not need to be present to win but those present will have the first choice of selection. For “fire” there is a Mossberg 12ga Shotgun, a Tikka .300 Win Mag, a Savage 20ga Shotgun and a Savage 17HMR up for grabs and for “ice” there are 2 RTIC 65 Qt. and 2 RTIC 45 Qt. coolers. Raffle tickets can be purchased online or in person before or at the event. To register to play and/or buy raffle tickets, text NOSgolfs to 41444 or visit and click the picture at the top of the page.

This event is sponsored by Medx.  Stewart title is sponsoring golf balls and Gun World and Arms-R-Us sponsored the firearm raffle prizes. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Melanie Erquiaga at 775-623-5656 (