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, March 15, 2023

AmeriCorps Spotlight - Brittany Abel (Elder Program Assistant at Pleasant Senior Center)

Hello, I am Brittany Abel, the current AmeriCorps Elder Program Assistant at Pleasant Senior Center as of Oct 17, 2022. I was looking for a part time position and found this one on indeed! 

Although I thought it was a long shot, I applied and was surprised and excited to be called for an interview. My experience caring for my sick and disabled mother and late Grandfather with patience and love helped prepare me for this position. I can now give that same care to the aging and enjoy this work because they are the reason most of us as a younger generation made it this far and how we learned to live life and survive. Although I started my service a little late, I love this job! I feel very content and enjoy meeting people that come in for my help. Knowing that I can put a smile on their faces and release the stress for them makes me happy. I try my hardest to make sure nobody leaves my office without an answer or if I can’t make that happen at that moment, I do my homework, go fishing and find the solution. I am a person who has to finish what I started and I will make it happen no matter how long it takes me. I have been the person on the other side asking for help and sent away without answers so I know how frustrating that can be. I believe that there is always a way to help and I make sure for others that I find a way to ensure that I do for others what I would want for me.
I’m especially happy with the learning experiences I’ve gained, how well the center is organized and how friendly folks are as well. The ladies who come from Elko are always willing to give me advise when I need it. I have succeeded in making the aging community smile and keeping them happy with all my assistance that I offer them. They bring me joy as well as smiles and I always have a great day after leaving the Center. It makes me feel confident in knowing that I have helped them with what I can and relieved some of their worries. I have always enjoyed being around older people even as a kid. They have more knowledge and I could learn from them by just watching or listening to their stories. I am a strong believer that Elders are the teachers to our parents while they are growing and parenting. I know that I don’t know it all, but I know in my heart, just by watching and listening to words spoke to me by the older generation.

I am gaining a lot of knowledge here in this position as I speak and work with each client. This knowledge will be useful in the future as I pursue a career as a Social Worker or Nurse. I like that I am becoming more responsible and more organized. I find it very important to be able to offer help to my community and myself as well. It’s important to have knowledge as well as a heart to give kind support and help as needed. I am super excited to see what the rest of my service has in store, how much more I will gain, and how many more people I will make happier. I am blessed to have this opportunity and I appreciate it daily.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

February Programs at NOS!

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.

Here are some highlights from February 2023!

AmeriCorps member, Johnny Cooper, showing participants how to use a compass.

On February 3rd 2023, NOS was able to facilitate two fun workshops on Maps and Compasses in Elko and Winnemucca where participants learned about compasses and how to use them in an exciting way! These Workshops facilitated by NOS staff and AmeriCorps Outdoor Educators reached 10 participants.Each of the participants were able to learn something new about compasses and how to use them in a fun and exciting way! The event was pirate themed and the participants all got to use the compasses with a guide to get to each destination. At each destination they found pieces of a map that had degrees written on them as well as clues as to where the next piece was. Once the participants made it to the end they each got a NOS water bottle with fun goodies! 



NOS Education Team learning all about Tread Lightly!

On February 8th, the NOS Education team came together to participate in an 8 hour long Tread Trainer Course! By taking the opportunity to receive this training, our team can go out to lessons or roadshow events and speak on the 5 Tread Lightly! Principles. In total, we had 6 staff and AmeriCorps members complete the training, which was hosted by Master Tread Trainer and Programs Coordinator, Allana. 

Elko Romantic Night Hike attendees enjoying a warm fire! 

With the weekend before Valentine's day NOS hosted a romantic night hike for the communities of Winnemucca and Elko of which 24 members came to enjoy the campfire, hot coca, and smores under the stars. This was facilitated by NOS and run by AmeriCorps members. This romantic night allowed people to come and spend some time under the stars around a warm campfire with a cup of hot cocoa and end their self-guided hike with a fresh smore. NOS puts on these community hikes for the public to enjoy the outdoors in their area while also being a conduit for meeting like minded people who enjoy outdoors activities. This fits NOS’s goal of getting people from the community outside throughout the year and throughout the day and night.


BLM and Forest Service Rangers playing Trash Timeline, a game that shows how long items can take to decompose. 


This Valentine’s Day, Nevada Outdoor School celebrated by teaching a Tread Lightly! Awareness Workshop in Elko.The workshop was hosted by Elko Program Coordinator and Tread Trainer, Meghan Rich. Attendees of this workshop included 6 members of BLM from the California Trail Center and 5 Snow Rangers from the Forest Service. This 4 hour awareness workshop covered the 5 Tread Lightly! Principles and how they can be applied while recreating outdoors. Participants left with new found knowledge and the ability to help spread awareness for keeping our access to motorized trails open. This was accomplished with discussions and hands-on games and activities, a NOS specialty! 


AmeriCorps members presenting the RS2 Tread Master Skit to elementary students in Round Mountain. 

Four of Nevada Outdoor School’s staff and AmeriCorps members traveled to Round Mountain to teach students from kindergarten all the way to high school about Ride Safe, Ride Smart. This was achieved by a fun skit that introduced the 5 Tread Lightly! principles. After the skit the students had time to further explore the 5 Tread Lightly! principles through interactive stations. One of the stations was on traveling responsibly where students got to learn about how being prepared and having enough fuel before riding is important by carrying 2 full gas cans 40 feet. During the event the students explored their actions and impacts and how to choose to make a small impact when riding ATV’s. 



Instructor Allana has a victory selfie as the participants finish the course.


When riding an ATV one needs to be observant and safe that’s why NOS held an ASI training course for the public at the Elko county reserved range. In this ASI training taught by ASI certified trainer Allana Havernick three members of the public attended to sharpen their skills on an ATV. The participants learned skill sets such as braking within the correct timing and where to look when applying their machine’s braking system, how to properly check and turn on the machine, and how to safely and successfully drive over or around obstacles on the trail. NOS offers these classes to the public in an interest to foster knowledge and develop skills in the public for ATVS. Having these skills and knowledge lets the public ride safely and keep on the designated trails.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Destination Recreation - Fly Ranch

In the middle of nowhere Nevada, lies a unique feature that has been shared countless times on social media, in magazines, and has received travelers from all over the world to enjoy its beauty- Fly Ranch and Fly Geyser. 


Fly Geyser is on 3,800 acres of land located some miles north of Gerlach, NV. It is on private property managed by the Burning Man Project and Nature Walks are offered in partnership with the Friends of Black Rock High Rock. In order to view this masterpiece you will need to reserve a space during one of Friends of Black Rock High Rock Nature Walks, with their season beginning on April 1st! 

Fly Ranch is a Leave No Trace fan just like Nevada Outdoor School! There is no garbage service at Fly Ranch so everything you pack in with you (water bottles, sunscreen, clothing) you need to pack back out with you when you leave. Additionally, leaving behind any plants, rocks, bones, or artifacts that you may find on your walk needs to be left on the property so others can enjoy it in the future as well!

A big aspect of the Nature Walk is traversing through two sections of the 3,800 acre Fly Ranch, around 2 miles in total. On your guided walk, you will learn of local flora, fauna, and natural resources as well as be able to view some of the past historical Burning Man Projects from past events that are now housed on the property. What kind of wildlife might you see when you go out to the ranch? When I went I was able to see a group of wild horses, lizards, scorpions, coyotes, rabbits, several species of birds, and even antelope! You may also see rattlesnakes, deer, badgers, and more! Remember when you encounter any wildlife to respect them by using Leave No Trace’s the rule of thumb.


Another thing to note, which is quite amazing in the whole experience, is that they request you keep your cameras, phones, recorders, etc tucked away during the walk until you reach the Geyser and can take photos. This is because everyone is increasing their time in front of screens and we want to spend the time increasing our time spent outdoors and connecting with nature and all it has to offer. 

After your walk you will most likely be looking for somewhere to eat. In Gerlach, there are some great local businesses ready for your support! At NOS, we typically eat (and stay) at Bruno’s Country Club and Motel. They are fast, friendly, and have an amazing story with pictures all around the restaurant to explore. 

To learn more and to reserve your spot for the 2023 season, head over to


photo credit: Allana Havernick

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Time in Nature

 Living in rural Nevada affords us wide-open spaces, big vistas, and a relatively small population for all this space.  Having access to nature, in our yards, parks, and public lands in which we can get outside and spend quality time in nature is something we should not take for granted.  

Research shows the negative effects when humans, of all ages, do not get enough time outside.  If you or your kiddos are suffering from moodiness, crankiness, short tempers, and anxiety it may be time to plan some time outside and let nature do it’s healing work.  Outside time does not have to be an intense hike up a mountain or an exhaustive gear-laden camping trip.  Healing outside time can also be very simple.

Here is a list of ideas from Richard Louv, Co-founder of the Children & Nature Network and author of several books on the Nature-Deficit Disorder.

1.    Create a “sit spot”.  Build a fort, den or tree house that provides a safe space outdoors.  Getting outside reduces our sense of isolation.  Creating these things helps children learn planning, problem-solving, and creativity.  Your sit spot does not need to be fancy, just safe.

2.    Deck camp.  There is nothing wrong with simply camping in your backyard!  Let kids create their own tepee from blankets, play flashlight tag, have a shadow puppet show on the wall. 

3.    Read or paint outdoors.  Take that favorite book or canvas outdoors!

If you cannot get outside, for whatever reason, you can still experience the benefits of nature by:

4.    Watching from a window with awe.  Look at the clouds if you can, watch for birds flitting by, be intentional about opening curtains and blinds and looking outside.

5.    Read an outdoor adventure book.  Inspirational titles include Island of the Blue Dolphins, Julie of the Wolves, Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, and The Curious Garden.  For older kids, The Thunder Tree, What the Robin Knows, Desert Solitaire, and The Sense of Wonder.

6.    Electronically watch.  Utilize the web to watch live nature cams.  It’s not exactly the same as being outdoors, but it does switch our focus from inside to outside and may start conversations that lifts spirits.

Getting outside shifts our focus from an internal-focus to an external-focus and that is what our minds, hearts, and souls need for health.  When we stay in our own heads for too long, things get dark, stale, and gloomy.  Short stints outside can be beneficial; as little as a 5-minute walk can change a mood.  In rural Nevada we have no excuse not to get outside daily. 

If you are looking for support to help you get some more outside time, join us at Nevada Outdoor School!  We offer programs each month and you can find the latest events on our website:  This month, in October, you can find us enjoying the outdoors while making paracord bracelets and walking local trails in and out of costume!  We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events.  Get outside, it is good for humans everywhere!