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!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Super Bowl of Food

Alright football fans and food enthusiasts, get excited!!
It’s finally that magical time of year again, when we come together to yell at TV screens, laugh at crazy commericals, and feast!
That’s right, this Sunday is the Super Bowl!
All of us here at NOS would like to share with you some of our favorite recipes to chow down on this weekend. 
So grab a pen and paper, sit yourself down, and get ready to be inspired:

Ranch Pretzels (from Steve)

1 pound bag of pretzel twists or sticks
1 pouch of ranch seasoning
6 to 8 ounces of Orville Redenbackers butter flavored popcorn oil (1 bottle will make two batches)
Combine seasoning pouch and 6-8 ounces of oil in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag or a large bowl and mix well. Then, add a bag of pretzels to the Ziploc bag or bowl and mix well so the mix covers the pretzels. Keep open for some time and mix every so often to allow them to dry.

Pulled Pork Sliders (from Mel)

1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 red onion, sliced
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon 
8 small rolls, split 8 leaves green-leaf lettuce
In a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker, whisk together the apricot preserves and vinegar; stir in the onion. Season the pork with the cumin and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Nestle the pork among the onions. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours, covered, until pork is tender and easily pulls apart. Using 2 forks, shred the pork and stir it into the cooking liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker. Form sliders with the rolls, lettuce, and pork. Serve with potato chips, if desired.

Fried Pork Potato Skins (from Steve)

How to Make Classic Potato Skins:
Pierce 4 large russet potatoes with a fork. Bake directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees until tender, for about 1 hour. Let cool, then quarter lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Brush both sides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake, skin-side up, at 450 degrees until crisp, about 15 minutes. Add your favorite team toppings. (For cheesy skins, flip the baked shells over before topping, sprinkle with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and bake an extra 5 minutes.)

Toppings: Mayonnaise mixed with mustard and hot sauce, sliced fried pork cutlets, chopped tomato and diced red onion

Chicken Chili (from Julie)

Prep Time:         Cook Time:          Level: Easy         Serves: 6 Servings
15 min.               1 hr 45 min

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream

Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add basil to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin, and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Whether your team wins or loses this Sunday, your belly will be happy no matter what.
From everyone at NOS, Happy Super Bowl and Happy Eating!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reflection on MLK Day Service

On Saturday, January 19th, Nevada Outdoor School AmeriCorps members planned and implemented a 5K Run/Walk in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  In 1994, the Federal Government designated Martin Luther King Jr. day as a national day of service with a theme of “a day on, not a day off”.  In keeping with that theme, NOS AmeriCorps members coordinated with Winnemucca agencies, asking them to participate in a registration process during the morning before the scheduled noon 5K.  During the registration process, 5K participants were to choose a volunteer opportunity, committing to a minimum of 2 hours of service in lieu of a fee to run or walk.  With a high of about 18 degrees on that day, we were lucky to have 20 participants in the 5K and in addition we had about 7 more people who signed up to volunteer, but didn’t want to run or walk in such frigid and icy conditions.  AmeriCorps member Brenna Archibald reflects on MLK day below:
        In preparing for our Martin Luther King Jr. Day event I was often reminded of what service is, and all Dr. King stood for.  We were able to prepare posters with inspirational quotes by Dr. King as well as write press releases highlighting the importance of MLK Day.  Through our preparation we were provided multiple opportunities to work with local community members, business owners, and city officials.  It’s easy in planning or participating in an event like this, to get caught up in everything that needs to be done.  By striving to make sure of the event’s success, it was easy (at times) to lose sight of what we were really hoping to do for our community as the northern Nevada AmeriCorps team.  Acknowledging this idea personally reminded me of our objective for the event: to bring the community together and contribute to local agency’s abilities to recruit local volunteers.  

        The turnout for the event felt successful in meeting our ultimate goal and for me, it was incredible to touch base with community members who were excited about volunteering their time for a local agency.  Service is “the act of helping or doing work for someone”, and during our MLK Day event we had various local community members commit to doing a “service” and volunteering their time.  Their selflessness and support of the event in general, made the preparation and hard work well worth it.  These are the people in our community that best reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his ability to serve, inspire, positively impact, and lead.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Winnemucca’s Wildlife - Winter Weather Woes

You don’t have to look at the thermometer to know its COLD outside.  Winter is supposed to be cold… but this cold? For this long? 
Last Thursday, the heat at my house stopped working.  With temperatures for the coming nights forecasted below zero, it was a pretty big problem.  Luckily, thanks to the generosity of my co-workers (letting me borrow space heaters) and the wonderful timely response of the repair man, we were only in the cold for two nights and able to have some source of heat during that time.  However, it was still CRAZY COLD and made me realize how ill-adapted humans are to dealing with such harsh winter conditions.  It also made me think about the wildlife constantly exposed to these outdoor conditions and if they are well adapted enough to handle these temperatures. 
So I did some research…

I wanted to know if the winter conditions we have been experiencing this season are affecting animals in our area differently than typical winter conditions (duration of snow cover, ground frost, etc.).  Also, I was curious if this harsh winter will have a big impact on the typical amount of winter kill (animals deceased due to winter conditions) that occurs and how this will impact our desert ecosystem. 

I talked with a Biology professor at Great Basin Community College and a Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) employee.  What I learned was that all types of extreme weather conditions (heat and cold) put stress on wildlife.  The biggest issue with cold temperatures is an animal’s nutrition.  The low amount of rainfall we received this past year created poor foraging conditions for wildlife to prepare for winter.  There is no doubt that this prolonged cold is a stressor to animals.  However, there probably isn’t any increased stress on the subnivean (under the snow) environment.  For animals living above the snow, outside conditions dictate the rate at which they lose precious fat reserves.  Animals are using most of their energy to stay warm, making it hard to forage.  NDOW has also observed animals moving upslope because of the current temperature inversion, where higher elevations are warmer.  Basically, the amount of winter kill will likely be much more than usual and those animals that do make it through this winter are likely to come out of it in pretty poor conditions.  How this will affect our desert ecosystem is yet to be seen. 
Just things to think about….
Stay warm,


We've Moved

A quick note here to anyone who was following us on outdoorethicsnos.blogspot... we've moved the blog.  Please continue to follow us at

We have expanded the content range to include all manner of NOSism, a surprise every week.  So, tell your friends too, it's bound to be a good time.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How Natural are Idioms?

I hope that everyone had a wonderful and fun Holiday Season and a fantastic New Year. 

If your Holidays were anything like mine, then I’m sure you have many stories and fun experiences to share with your friends and co-workers.  One experience that stands out from my break involves the use of an idiom and how sometimes those fun figurative phrases don’t translate well and make you seem pretty crazy.  For me, it involved a cut on my hand and upon being asked what happened replying very casually, “Oh, I ate it.”  The look of horror and then confusion prompted me to explain further that “I fell while I was running.”  It was funny and we both had a good laugh.  It also prompted me to think about idioms we commonly hear or use, especially those relating to nature.  Sometimes idioms are easy to understand but others are clear as mud.  If you’re pretty down to earth and able to go with the flow then figuring out what someone means when they use an idiom is probably a piece of cake.  However, if understanding idioms isn’t second nature to you, you might find yourself barking up the wrong tree and being told to get out of town. 

I hope this blog doesn’t find you under the weather.  From everyone at NOS we wish you all the best and encourage you to take a hike (literally, not like the idiom… See, it’s tricky!)

HAPPY 2013,